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Tuesday night, I interviewed Dan Severson about his candidacy for the US Senate. Here’s what I learned from the interview.
Dan, People know that you’re a Navy pilot. How will that experience help you be the leader that Sen. Klobuchar isn’t?

A: It took me around the world. It helped me see people thirsting for America’s freedoms. Alot of people that I met while I was the GOP outreach coordinator attended tonight’s Grand Opening. We didn’t just ask for their vote. We made a connection with them. That’s why they attended tonight’s Grand Opening.

What will you do to capitalize on America’s abundant natural resources?

A: It’s clear that Rep. Severson is committed to opening up America’s abundant natural resources for exploration and production. Rep. Severson said that the EPA and the Interior Department have put too much of our energy supplies offlimits.

On an issue closer to home, Severson said that he’d join Rep. Chip Cravaack in making PolyMet a reality. While it isn’t an energy source, it is a source of high-paying jobs.

Rep. Severson said that Klobuchar’s failure to lead in making PolyMet a reality is something that the state simply can’t afford anymore, suggesting that Minnesota needs a leader, not a talker, as their senator.

I agree with Rep. Severson on this. I wrote here about Sen. Klobuchar’s proclivity to photo ops without offering actual solutions:

Minneapolis, MN – At a busy gas station, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced that she is asking the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission to respond to high gas prices by acting immediately to limit excessive price speculation in the oil markets.

Klobuchar serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, which oversees the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

In a letter sent today, Klobuchar urged Commission Chairman Gary Gensler to move forward with rules to restrict the size of speculative investments in oil and other commodities.

She noted that, in response to record high gas prices in 2008, Congress included provisions in the Wall Street reform legislation authorizing the Commission to rein in excessive speculation by hedge funds, investment banks and other financial entities.

However, the Commission has not yet adopted rules, called “position limits,” to restrict purely speculative contracts in oil futures. These rules would reduce price volatility by helping to ensure that supply-and-demand market factors, rather than financial manipulation by non-oil traders, determine gas prices for consumers.

“When we saw oil prices rise to record levels in 2008, I said we needed a cop on the beat to protect American families and businesses from artificially high gas prices created by excessive speculation,” said Klobuchar. “Now is the time to make sure the cop is on the job, vigilant and armed with the authority to enforce fair rules in the marketplace.”

Sen. Klobuchar is a pro’s pro at attending photo ops. She’s a total failure at figuring out solutions to Minnesota’s biggest crises.

If Minnesota decides that it’s more important to have a smiling lady with a far left voting record and a history of attending photo ops represent them, then Amy’s their clear choice.

However, if Minnesota decides that it’s more important to have a senator that listens to the people and is committed to creating real jobs in the private sector, then Dan Severson would be a great choice.

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This morning, Jeff Rosenberg’s post gave me a hearty laugh. First, it appears to be written in reaction to this post. Jeff and I reference the same report:

A widespread voter fraud investigation has led to charges against 11 people in Washington County with prosecutors saying more charges were forthcoming.

All of the people charged are convicted felons who had not been cleared to vote, with most infractions occurring during the 2010 election….

“I didn’t know I couldn’t” said Asst. Washington Co. Attorney Rick Hodsdon, describing what was commonly heard when the suspects were confronted.

Here’s Jeff’s conclusion:

That doesn’t mean it’s not still a problem. It is, and it’s one we should fix. But it’s not one that could be fixed by instituting photo ID. These people weren’t trying to misrepresent who they were in any way. In a system with photo ID, they would have been properly identified and still allowed to vote.

If Jeff meant that these felons told the election officials their real names, then I’ll agree with him that they “weren’t trying to misrepresent who they were.” If he means that these felons didn’t hide the fact that they were felons, I won’t agree with that. We don’t know that they weren’t hiding this information despite their claim that they “didn’t know” they couldn’t vote.

I’m not willing to take the word of a convicted felon without first digging into things deeper. The reality is that these statements might be pure spin. Convicted felons shouldn’t be given automatic credibility.

The problem, instead, is that a handful of felons on probation aren’t being correctly marked on the voter rolls as being ineligible to vote. Without that indication, you could could check their IDs or even scan their retinas and it wouldn’t matter in the slightest.

I agree with Jeff on this statement, though I’m sure he won’t agree with me that Mark Ritchie has blown it the last 2 election cycles. HAVA gave each state’s top election official the affirmative responsibility to frequently update the voter registration lists:

Section 303(a) of HAVA also requires State election officials to ensure that the computerized list is accurate and current by: (i) ensuring that all registered voters are included in the list; (ii) removing only the names of voters who are not registered to vote or who are otherwise ineligible to vote; (iii) removing duplicate names from the computerized list; and (iv) implementing safeguards to ensure that eligible voters are not removed from the list in error. 42 U.S.C. $5 15483(a)(2), 15483(a)(4).

HAVA REQUIRES state election officials to ensure the list’s accuracy. It doesn’t suggest it. It REQUIRES it. That means that Mark Ritchie didn’t do his job of putting this updating procedure in place, then monitoring the process to guarantee the list’s accuracy. In fact, he went further than that in this video:

About 5 minutes into the 14+ minute video, SecState Ritchie asked Rep. Severson “Why did you vote against the legislation giving our office the authorization to use the corrections data?” Rep. Severson responded saying that “that legislation didn’t address this problem.”

For years, literally, the DFL and their apologists have said, including in this video, that Photo ID “was a solution in search of a problem”, at times suggesting, other times saying, that voter fraud didn’t exist in Minnesota.

There’s been proof of attempted voter fraud in Minnesota since 2004:

Among the well-funded and supposedly independent groups supporting John Kerry in the campaign is Americans Coming Together (ACT). ACT has taken notice of Minnesota’s special vulnerabilty to vote fraud and organized a sophisticated effort to exploit it in a manner that violates Minnesota law. In Minnesota the Bush campaign has come into the possession of the following email from ACT to its Minnesota volunteers:

Election Day is upon us. You are confirmed to volunteer with ACT (America Coming Together – http://www.actforvictory.org/) on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov 2.

We will be creating name badges that include your Ward and Precinct information for each of the thousands of volunteers that day to make it easier to find a volunteer to vouch for a voter at the polls.

I am emailing you to request your street address, city and zipcode. We’ve already got your other contact information, but your record in our database does not include this information.

You can save us time on election day by replying today to this email with this information, or give us a call at [phone number with St. Paul area code].

In order to get your badge correct, please reply by Thursday.

Thank you for your help and cooperation. See you on Election Day!
This email is a smoking gun of massive premeditated vote fraud. The ACT effort contemplates the prepositioning of registered voters as volunteers at their precincts of residence to provide the “vouching” necessary to get individuals registered to vote on election day in the precinct whether or not the volunteer “personally knows” the residence of the unregistered voter. It is a recipe for illegal voting in every precinct of the state.

While it’s true that Photo ID might not have prevented these felons from voting, this email shows that a progressive organization had put a plan in place to get DFL activists to vouch for “volunteers” whose contact information was being requested so ACT could “make it easier to find a volunteer to vouch for a voter at the polls.” That’s more than a little strange. In fact, it seems particularly criminal.

Photo ID ends vouching, a system that’s particularly open to voter fraud. ACT was a well-funded organization. They had staff and leadership that put a plan together that would’ve assisted ACT to commit voter fraud on a pretty massive scale.

Photo ID makes sense if for no other reason than eliminating vouching voter fraud schemes. If Jeff won’t listen to any other argument, that’s the argument I’ll rest my case on.

While we’re at it, let’s destroy another DFL myth:

Photo ID would take away some Minnesotans’ right to vote while failing to stop illegal voting. It would be a travesty if we were to disenfranchise some Minnesotans but allow the real problem to continue.

In the above video, SecState Ritchie claims that 100,000 Minnesotans might not be able to vote if Photo ID is enacted. In Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, a Democratic special interest group argued that “up to 989,000 registered voters in Indiana did not possess either a driver’s license or other acceptable photo identification.” Judge Barker “estimated that as of 2005, when the statute was enacted, around 43,000 Indiana residents lacked a state-issued driver’s license or identification card.”

Further complicating this argument is Judge Barker finding “that petitioners had “not introduced evidence of a single, individual Indiana resident who will be unable to vote as a result of SEA 483 or who will have his or her right to vote unduly burdened by its requirements.”

The notion that large numbers of people won’t be able to vote if Photo ID simply isn’t supported by legal findings of facts. Here’s what Justice Stevens wrote in his majority opinion:

There is not a single plaintiff who intends not to vote because of the new law, that is, who would vote were it not for the law. There are plaintiffs who have photo IDs and so are not affected by the law at all and plaintiffs who have no photo IDs but have not said they would vote if they did and so who also are, as far as we can tell, unaffected by the law. There thus are no plaintiffs whom the law will deter from voting.

No doubt there are at least a few such people in Indiana, but the inability of the sponsors of this litigation to find any such person to join as a plaintiff suggests that the motivation for the suit is simply that the law may require the Democratic Party and the other organizational plaintiffs to work harder to get every last one of their supporters to the polls.

Simply put, there just isn’t proof that Photo ID prevents people from voting. There are tons of DFL allegations of that but allegations and suppositions don’t equal proof.

Finally, let’s recognize this important point made in the SCOTUS ruling on this lawsuit:

The State has identified several state interests that arguably justify the burdens that SEA 483 imposes on voters and potential voters. While petitioners argue that the statute was actually motivated by partisan concerns and dispute both the significance of the State’s interests and the magnitude of any real threat to those interests, they do not question the legitimacy of the interests the State has identified. Each is unquestionably relevant to the State’s interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process.

That’s a stunning statement:

“They don’t question the legitimacy of the interests the state has identified. Each is unquestionably relevant to the state’s interst in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process.”

States have an affirmative responsibility to make sure that people aren’t disenfranchised, either by voter fraud or by putting unreasonable burdens on people. The Supreme Court ruled that Photo ID doesn’t put unreasonable burdens on people.

It’s time the DFL and their media enablers put aside their myths and projections and dealt with verifiable facts. If the DFL isn’t willing to put aside their myths, then this issue will have to be settled by the voters in November, 2012.

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After considering the polling data, the stories from the campaign trail and some supposition in terms of high GOP/independent turnout, it’s prediction time.

Let’s start close to home.

In SD-14, I’m predicting a clean sweep, with Sen. Michelle Fischbach winning handily, with Tom Ellenbecker defeating Rep. Larry Hosch and Tim O’Driscoll trouncing Rob Jacobs. (Hopefully, that defeat puts us out of our misery with Mr. Jacobs, quite possibly the worst local candidate in Central Minnesota since I became eligible to vote.)

In SD-15, John Pederson will defeat Bruce Hentges, partially because he’s a serious businessman with the requisite skills to get Minnesota’s economy going. Likewise, King Banaian will defeat Carol Lewis, another EdMinn drone who otherwise would be relied upon to rubberstamp Tom Dooher’s agenda. Steve Gottwalt is running a great campaign and should easily win re-election.

A little further away from St. Cloud, I fully expect Mary Franson to win the seat vacated by Mary Ellen Ottremba’s retirement. I fully expect Mike LeMeuir to defeat Al Doty, too. If I’m right about these picks, that’s a net gain of 4 House seats and 1 Senate seat.

After talking with numerous House and Senate candidates, I predict that Republicans will retake the House of Representatives, making Kurt Zellers the Speaker-Elect. I can’t predict whether Republicans will retake the Senate but I’m certainly not ruling that out. If I had to predict, I’d guess Republicans retaking the Senate by a 35-32 margin.

I’m predicting Pat Anderson defeating Rebecca Otto by 5 points, Dan Severson defeating Mark Ritchie in a close race, possibly by 1-2 points. I don’t know if Chris Barden will win. What I know for certain is that he’d win handily if this was based on qualifications.

If the GOP wave that’s rumbling through Minnesota is as big as the congressional races indicate, Chris Barden quite possibly be swept in, bringing in a much-needed house-cleaning in the AG’s office.

Next are the high profile races. Two weeks ago, I wasn’t certain how everything would work out for Tom Emmer. Now I’m certain. After watching Tom beat Sen. Dayton and Tom Horner like a set of bongo drums in Sunday’s 26th and final debate, I’m confident Tom Emmer will succeed Tim Pawlenty.

Recent polling shows independents breaking hard against DFL candidates by a 5:3 or 2:1 margin.

I’m predicting my congresslady Michele Bachmann will win re-election by a minimum of 8 points. In a tip of the hat, I’ll admit that Tarryl kept fighting to the end. Tarryl wasn’t a great fit for this district but she worked hard.

Now for my upset specials. Chip Cravaack will defeat Jim Oberstar by 3-5 points. Teresa Collett will defeat Betty McCollum, making Mitch Berg the happiest man in the MOB. Randy Demmer will defeat Tim Walz, mostly because the man who promised to be an independent voice for southern Minnesota is actually Speaker Pelosi’s lapdog, voting for the trifecta of the stimulus, Cap and Tax and Obamacare.

Nationally, I’m predicting Republicans to win a net of 60-70 seats in the House and 10 Senate seats, taking control of both houses of Congress.

The White House will argue that this wasn’t a repudiation of their policies, which sane people won’t buy into. This election will be so jarring that Democrats will start questioning whether President Obama should be their nominee in 2012.

After much infighting and bickering, though, I suspect he’ll be the 2012 Democratic nominee.

There you have it. Believe all of it, some of it, little of it or ignore it.

Those are my predictions and I’m sticking with them.

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I was contacted by Ryan Lyk or the College Republicans at UMD. Ryan forwarded the letter they sent to UMD leadership. Here’s the text of the CR’s letter:

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA DULUTH ADMINISTRATION DENIES COLLEGE REPUBLICANS PRIVILIGES GRANTED TO COLLEGE DEMOCRATS

After being told that any type of poster or flyer that supported a candidate and encouraged students to vote for that candidate cannot be posted on campus, College Democrats released a wave of posters telling students to support Mark Dayton for governor.

When brought to the schools attention, they denied ever saying this to the College Republicans and suddenly changed the rules to allow them the same privileges.

The inquiry by the Republicans was originally brought to the schools attention during a Mark Dayton rally on campus where Dayton rally signs were posted all over campus. The school told the Republicans that there was limited privilege to do so because of the event, but that when the event ended, the posters would need to be removed. They also told the Republicans that signs telling students who to vote for could not be posted and that these signs were simply for directional purposes to the rally and did not violate any rule.

Now that the College Democrats have put up actual posters telling people who to vote for, these rules have changed to favor the Democrats.

The university should treat all political groups equally and not let one get away with privileges previously denied to groups of opposing views.

Republicans on campus are now responding to the event with a wave of ‘Vote Chip’ posters that will be put up immediately.

Clearly, UMD violated these students’ First Amendment rights by banning any signs from campus. Students don’t surrender their First Amendment rights when they walk onto a college campus.

That’s bad enough but this letter is clear. The university powers that be gave Democrats a big edge by letting them put their signs up while not letting the CRs post Emmer, Cravaack, Anderson, Severson and Barden posters up on campus.

This is a black mark on UMD’s record. They’ve gone from being a liberal institution to being an institution that tolerates censorship. That’s inexcusable, especially in light of the fact we should want students to have lively, respectful discussions on college campuses.

This is what happens when universities don’t put a high priority on intellectual diversity as well as racial and ethnic diversity. It’s time institutions of higher ed returned to the spirit of intellectual diversity for the students’ sake.

If that doesn’t work, then it’s time to start cleaning house at UMD.

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Six years ago today, Scott Johnson posted about Americans Coming Together attempted voter fraud. Here’s the heart of what Scott posted:

Among the well-funded and supposedly independent groups supporting John Kerry in the campaign is Americans Coming Together (ACT). ACT has taken notice of Minnesota’s special vulnerabilty to vote fraud and organized a sophisticated effort to exploit it in a manner that violates Minnesota law. In Minnesota the Bush campaign has come into the possession of the following email from ACT to its Minnesota volunteers:

Election Day is upon us. You are confirmed to volunteer with ACT (America Coming Together – http://www.actforvictory.org/) on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov 2.

We will be creating name badges that include your Ward and Precinct information for each of the thousands of volunteers that day to make it easier to find a volunteer to vouch for a voter at the polls.

I am emailing you to request your street address, city and zipcode. We’ve already got your other contact information, but your record in our database does not include this information.

You can save us time on election day by replying today to this email with this information, or give us a call at [phone number with St. Paul area code].

In order to get your badge correct, please reply by Thursday.

Thank you for your help and cooperation. See you on Election Day!
This email is a smoking gun of massive premeditated vote fraud. The ACT effort contemplates the prepositioning of registered voters as volunteers at their precincts of residence to provide the “vouching” necessary to get individuals registered to vote on election day in the precinct whether or not the volunteer “personally knows” the residence of the unregistered voter. It is a recipe for illegal voting in every precinct of the state.

That post is more pertinent today than it was then. The reason it’s more important now than then will take time to explain so bear with me.

As I wrote here, ACT was part of a huge progressive coalition involved in conducting voter registration drives on the front end and GOTV on the back end. ACT was obviously part of the back end operations. Other high profile organizations in this coalition included the NAACP, the Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters and ACORN.

Meanwhile, another lower profile organization was involved too. The November 2 Project was involved in the GOTV side of things. Here’s what Minnesotans need to know about this corrupt enterprise:

Only a year old, National Voice hired gifted organizer Mark Ritchie, a veteran of international organizing on issues of global trade and justice. “I see November 2 as an outreach tool to drive people to the Web site where we can get them involved as a volunteer. I see the effort as unifying a theme and message that can tie together disparate GOTV efforts. Thirty thousand T-shirts are out the door, and bumper stickers and iron-ons. In essence, we are working to make it cool to vote and cool to get involved beyond just voting.” There has been a bus tour with a film crew that is gathering footage for public service announcements on television. “If you saw the Nike commercial during the NBA finals–that fabulous one with Lance Armstrong riding his bike and the fantastic views and warmth,” said Ritchie, smiling, “well, the same guy who did that one is doing our commercials.”

National Voice was the umbrella under which these other organizations fitted into. Clearly, organizations that were involved in the GOTV operation coordinated with the organizations that did the voter registration drive. Without that coordination, their efforts would’ve been shoddy at best.

As I recall, Democrats increased their vote total for president from just less than 51,000,000 votes in 2000 to just a little more than 59,000,000 votes in 2004, I’d call their operation a big success. That’s a 16 percent increase, something that is a major accomplishment.

There’s no arguing that ACT wanted to commit voter fraud. Why else would voters need their ward and precinct numbers and the name of their person who would vouch for the ‘volunteers’? If a person actually lived in the neighborhood, all it would take is to approach the neighbor and ask if they’d planned on voting. It doesn’t take an elaborate plan like what’s described in this email.

We also know that Mark Ritchie is all about increasing vote totals, not with election integrity.

This year, Dan Severson is running to restore election integrity. Follow this link to contribute to Dan’s campaign so election integrity can be restored. We need to eliminate the incompetence and corruption in the Secretary of State’s office ASAP.

Given Ritchie’s proclivity towards elections that don’t emphasize the rule of law, it’s important that we have someone who thinks that laws are meant to be obeyed.

That man isn’t Mark Ritchie.

Only Dan Severson fits that description.

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It’s no secret that Mark Ritchie is a fan of the vouching system even though he won’t address the issue on his campaign website. Minnesotans should write that provision out of existence. Powerline’s Scott Johnson wrote about the potential for corruption through the vouching system in this post:

Minnesota is one of the few states that allows same-day voter registration and has become infamous for its lax same day voter registration requirements. Under Minnesota’s registration law, an eligible but previously unregistered individual may register to vote in his precinct by showing proof of residence in the precinct or, in the absence of such proof, having a voter registered in the precinct vouch under oath that he personally knows that the unregistered individual is a resident of the precinct. Although the requirements necessary to establish residence are minimal, they are not non-existent and they are the statutory protection against vote fraud and serial voting.

If the potential for voter fraud is that simple, then we need to eliminate that possibility ASAP. As Scott explains, it isn’t just about the potential for fraud. It’s that there’s been an attempt to commit voter fraud through the vouching system:

Among the well-funded and supposedly independent groups supporting John Kerry in the campaign is Americans Coming Together (ACT). ACT has taken notice of Minnesota’s special vulnerabilty to vote fraud and organized a sophisticated effort to exploit it in a manner that violates Minnesota law. In Minnesota the Bush campaign has come into the possession of the following email from ACT to its Minnesota volunteers:

Election Day is upon us. You are confirmed to volunteer with ACT (America Coming Together – http://www.actforvictory.org/) on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov 2.

We will be creating name badges that include your Ward and Precinct information for each of the thousands of volunteers that day to make it easier to find a volunteer to vouch for a voter at the polls.

I am emailing you to request your street address, city and zipcode. We’ve already got your other contact information, but your record in our database does not include this information.

You can save us time on election day by replying today to this email with this information, or give us a call at [phone number with St. Paul area code].

In order to get your badge correct, please reply by Thursday.

Thank you for your help and cooperation. See you on Election Day.

ACT actually put a system together that connected registered voters in Minnesota with ‘volunteers’. Their system was certainly straightforward. Their communications certainly laid out how the voucher-volunteer connections would be made.

That email is undeniably a smoking gun.

What’s more is that there’s another connection that isn’t well known, the connection between Mark Ritchie and ACT. This article does a great job of connecting those dots:

A profoundly straightforward and potentially effective pro-voting campaign called November 2 has just been launched by National Voice, a coalition of nonprofit and community groups working to maximize public participation in the democratic process. The campaign, developed by the crack advertising firm of Wieden and Kennedy (famed for its work for Nike), is clever in its simplicity. It’s all about branding November 2 on T-shirts, billboards, computer screens and bumper stickers and connecting it to the logos of numerous organizations people trust. November 2 on the front of the T-shirt and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Sierra Club, League of Women Voters or Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) on the back. As Billy Bragg sang satirically: “The revolution is just a T-shirt away.”

There has been substantial media coverage about large groups working on the partisan side in the election, receiving millions of dollars from big donors such as George Soros and Peter Lewis. America Coming Together (ACT), as a Section 527 organization in the IRS tax code, is allowed to do partisan voter registration as long as it isn’t coordinated or specifically supportive of a specific candidate. ACT, which has raised more than $50 million, is about identifying potential voters who have a good chance of getting to the polls. Steve Rosenthal, the former political director of the AFL-CIO, says ACT “will make in the range of 10 million voter contacts before the election, but they will only be registering perhaps 500,000 new voters,” because the less dependable “nonvoter” is not their priority.

In other words, ACT was involved in a massive, nationwide voter registration drive. That’s just part of the operation. The work done registering voters would be wasted if they didn’t vote. That’s where Mark Ritchie gets involved:

Only a year old, National Voice hired gifted organizer Mark Ritchie, a veteran of international organizing on issues of global trade and justice. “I see November 2 as an outreach tool to drive people to the Web site where we can get them involved as a volunteer. I see the effort as unifying a theme and message that can tie together disparate GOTV efforts. Thirty thousand T-shirts are out the door, and bumper stickers and iron-ons. In essence, we are working to make it cool to vote and cool to get involved beyond just voting.” There has been a bus tour with a film crew that is gathering footage for public service announcements on television. “If you saw the Nike commercial during the NBA finals–that fabulous one with Lance Armstrong riding his bike and the fantastic views and warmth,” said Ritchie, smiling, “well, the same guy who did that one is doing our commercials.”

They’re talking about the T-shirts mentioned earlier in this post. The November 2nd Project T-shirts had their ‘sponsors’ names on the back. These sponsors included the NAACP, the Sierra Club and ACORN.

What this means is that ACORN and ACT were working as part of a big coalition to register voters and the November 2nd Project, run by Mark Ritchie, was ‘harvesting’ the votes with his GOTV operation.

I can’t prove that Mark Ritchie knew about this specific email from ACT to its volunteers but I’m confident that he was sympathetic to the vouching system. Personally, I’d find it difficult to believe that he didn’t know that ACT and ACORN weren’t corrupt.

The November 2nd Project’s mission was to get the voters that ACT and ACORN registered to their polling places. They admitted that they were coordinating with ACORN and ACT, which means that the November 2nd Project was given the names and addresses of the people ACORN and ACT registered.

The November 2nd Project couldn’t help but notice the flawed voter registrations. They’d have to be blind to not notice. Check out this information on what ACT was involved with:

ACT Submitted Faulty Registrations In St. Louis.
“Sleuths at the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners are trashing hundreds of faulty voter registrations, most of them collected by voter drive groups like Pro-Vote and America Coming Together. KMOV presented [Commissioner David] Welch with a list of names of voters who apparently registered twice, using variations of their names, registrations that had not yet been flagged.” (KMOV Website, http://www.kmov.com/topstories/stories/100604ccktKMOVVote.7e36f2b.html, Accessed 10/7/04)

It’s worth noting the article’s date as it was written almost a month before the election. Ritchie certainly had to know about ACT’s corruption if it was in the news.

Why has Mark Ritchie stayed silent all this time? Why hasn’t he spoken out about ACT’s corruption? After all of ACT’s and ACORN’s proven corruption, you’d think that he’d reject ACORN’s endorsement. Instead of hearing him reject their endorsement, all that’s been heard from Mr. Ritchie is the sounds of crickets.

It’s insulting that Mr. Ritchie insists that voter fraud doesn’t exist and has never existed when he worked with corrupt organizations in 2004 as part of a major progressive GOTV coalition.

Perhaps that explains this heated exchange between Mr. Ritchie and Rep. Dan Severson:

“What I hear senior citizens say to me is look, I’ve voted since Roosevelt. I’ve never taken a bit of charity or anything from the government,” Ritchie said. “I am not going to start becoming a ward of the state just because you want to deny me the right to vote because I’m so old now I don’t have to drive and I don’t carry government-issued identification.”

Ritchie also said a photo ID law would negatively impact thousands of military and overseas voters. But Severson called that a bogus argument.

“It’s just absolutely wrong, because they have military ID, which are government-sponsored IDS, or they have a passport, which again are government sponsored,” Severson said. “There’s no reason, and if Secretary Ritchie lacks the creativity and ingenuity to make that happen, the he shouldn’t be secretary of state. We need someone who’s going to go after this issue and validate the valid votes.”

What BS. I’m betting that Mr. Ritchie has never talked with a senior citizen who said that politicians wanted to “deny him the right to vote…” I’m betting that that’s his attempt to sound melodramatic.

Rep. Severson’s rebuttal that the military have their own ID’s shoots down Ritchie’s other argument.

QUESTION: Why is Mark Ritchie opposed to a system that will actually speed up the voting process?

Mark Ritchie’s work with ACT and ACORN, two exceptionally corrupt organizations, during a voter registration drive and GOTV operation certainly calls into question Mr. Ritchie’s decisionmaking and his integrity.

How can we trust someone who’s stayed silent all these years when he had the opportunity to admit that these organizations are/were corrupt? I won’t trust him with our electtion system.

A vote is a terrible thing to have compromised.

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In this MNPublius post, Jeff Rosenberg inexplicably calls Republican pollwatchers thugs:

Minnesota Majority, a conservative group that agrees with Dan Severson that it should be harder for Minnesotans to vote, will send bands of thugs to intimidate voters in liberal-leaning precincts this November. With the Emmer campaign in disarray, conservatives are going to try to suppress the DFL vote in a last desperate bid to salvage the election.

Once we cut through Mr. Rosenberg’s overexcited verbiage, we find out the truth:

The conservative group, Minnesota Majority, has been raising the issue of election fraud since 2008. Some of its claims haven’t been validated. Others have prompted county attorneys to investigate possible cases of voter fraud. Now the group’s president Jeff Davis, says the goal is to prevent voter fraud.

“Once a ballot is cast it’s almost impossible to undo that,” said Davis. “So our program is intended to prevent those illegitimate ballots from being cast in the first place.”

Davis’ group has been pushing to require people to present photo identification at the polls. State law allows Minnesotans to vote without a photo ID, if they have a utility bill showing their current address or someone vouches for their residency.

Davis says his group is joining with a tea party group and the Minnesota Voters Alliance to ensure that individuals know who they’re vouching for, and to videotape and track buses and vans that deliver large numbers of voters to the polls.

This information is coming from the post that Mr. Rosenberg characterizes as a “band of thugs.” That, by itself, speaks volumes about Mr. Rosenberg’s state of mind.

Minnesota election law provides for challenging the eligibility of people who’ve been vouched for, with the election judge making a final determination. People exercising their rights afforded by Minnesota’s election laws aren’t thugs. They’re citizens acting within the law.

This paragraph is pure demagoguery from Mr. Rosenberg:

Mark Ritchie has based his tenure as Secretary of State on a simple principle: We should be proud of our high voter turnout, and we should make it as easy as possible for eligible voters to exercise their right to vote. That’s an admirable goal, and it should be one that all Minnesotans stand behind. But Minnesota Majority and Dan Severson don’t support that vision. They want a system where the poor and old have to jump through hoops to exercise their right to vote.

Actually, that isn’t what Mark Ritchie stands for. He stands for letting as many people vote as possible, whether they’re eligible or not. There’s no proof that determining whether they’re eligible or not is a priority with him. If it was a priority with him, he would’ve updated the voter lists, as required by law, when Minnesota Majority gave him a list of felons still serving prison time that were listed as eligible voters. That isn’t an admirable goal.

Ritchie knew about this. The day after being notified about the felons, Ritchie held a press conference telling everyone that everything was fine. Ritchie’s proven that he isn’t interested in checking for a person’s eligibility.

Not removing ineligible voters from the voters list is in direct violation of HAVA’s provisions. HAVA gives each state’s chief election officer the affirmative responsibility to keep the voter list updated.

Finally, Mr. Rosenberg throws in this straw man statement:

Minnesota citizens, don’t let these thugs tell you that you don’t have the right to vote. That is your absolute, inalienable right, and nobody can take it away from you.

Mr. Rosenberg can’t point to anything that Minnesota Majority or any conservative organization has done that indicates that they’re interested in denying people their right to vote.

What Mr. Rosenberg is referring to is conservatives’ desire to make sure that ONLY eligible voters cast ballots. We want voter turnout to be high. It’s just that we don’t want felons and other ineligible people voting.

It’s insulting that the leftosphere thinks people are trying to suppress the vote when all we’re trying to do is make sure the laws are followed. That he’s implied that we’re thugs for demanding that Minnesota’s election laws be followed speaks volumes about Mr. Rosenberg.

It also speaks volumes that he’s steadfastly opposed to Photo ID, something that 80 percent of Minnesotans support.

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After Larry Haws retired, Zach Dorholt filed to run against King Banaian to fill Larry Haws’s seat in the Minnesota legislature. Now that he’s been defeated by Carol Lewis, Dorholt has stayed active in St. Cloud DFL politics, this time by endorsing Mark Ritchie. Some of the things he said in his LTE in today’s St. Cloud Times are laughable. Here’s an example:

While other states have moved to paperless voting, Ritchie has stood strong on making sure there is a paper trail in our election process, which Minnesota found quite useful when margins of victory were less than 1 percent.

Mr. Ritchie didn’t lift a finger in “making sure there is a paper trail in our election process.” According to page 41 of this Justice Department pdf file, the Help America Vote Act of 2002, a paper trail was mandated for audit purposes:

AUDIT CAPACITY.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—The voting system shall produce a record with an audit capacity for such system.
(B) MANUAL AUDIT CAPACITY.—
(i) The voting system shall produce a permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity for such system.

That’s found in Section 301, which is titled “VOTING SYSTEMS STANDARDS.” This bill was signed into law before Mr. Ritchie’s predecessor, Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, won re-election as Minnesota’s Secretary of State.

In July, 2004, Mr. Ritchie was hired to lead an organization called National Voice:

National Voice is the brainchild of longtime activists Harriet Barlow, Betsy Taylor and others who realized that in the hard-nosed world of politics, voter targeting and aggressive fund-raising, millions of potential voters are ignored. They also believe hundreds of nonprofit groups care about citizen participation but have been intimidated from registering voters, even though the law permits virtually unlimited nonpartisan voter registration.

The job of National Voice is to change the culture around voting and participation and to get nonprofit groups to understand the old message that “if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.”

Only a year old, National Voice hired gifted organizer Mark Ritchie, a veteran of international organizing on issues of global trade and justice. “I see November 2 as an outreach tool to drive people to the Web site where we can get them involved as a volunteer. I see the effort as unifying a theme and message that can tie together disparate GOTV efforts. Thirty thousand T-shirts are out the door, and bumper stickers and iron-ons. In essence, we are working to make it cool to vote and cool to get involved beyond just voting.” There has been a bus tour with a film crew that is gathering footage for public service announcements on television. “If you saw the Nike commercial during the NBA finals–that fabulous one with Lance Armstrong riding his bike and the fantastic views and warmth,” said Ritchie, smiling, “well, the same guy who did that one is doing our commercials.”

I’ve included the information about National Voice because of the closing paragraph in Mr. Dorholt’s LTE:

As Mark Ritchie has demonstrated faith in the people of Minnesota during tough times, I find it easy to place confidence in his leadership, thus earning him another term as our secretary of state. His strong character, based in a lifetime of working for the common good, is rarely found in many elected officials. Because of his leadership, because I’m proud of Minnesota’s system, I will wholeheartedly support Mark Ritchie in November.

Here’s a little information about November 2 and National Voice:

A profoundly straightforward and potentially effective pro-voting campaign called November 2 has just been launched by National Voice, a coalition of nonprofit and community groups working to maximize public participation in the democratic process. The campaign, developed by the crack advertising firm of Wieden and Kennedy (famed for its work for Nike), is clever in its simplicity. It’s all about branding November 2 on T-shirts, billboards, computer screens and bumper stickers and connecting it to the logos of numerous organizations people trust. November 2 on the front of the T-shirt and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Sierra Club, League of Women Voters or Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) on the back. As Billy Bragg sang satirically: “The revolution is just a T-shirt away.”

There has been substantial media coverage about large groups working on the partisan side in the election, receiving millions of dollars from big donors such as George Soros and Peter Lewis. America Coming Together (ACT), as a Section 527 organization in the IRS tax code, is allowed to do partisan voter registration as long as it isn’t coordinated or specifically supportive of a specific candidate. ACT, which has raised more than $50 million, is about identifying potential voters who have a good chance of getting to the polls. Steve Rosenthal, the former political director of the AFL-CIO, says ACT “will make in the range of 10 million voter contacts before the election, but they will only be registering perhaps 500,000 new voters,” because the less dependable “nonvoter” is not their priority.

Let’s see here. November 2 t-shirts had November 2 on the front of each t-shirt. The back of the t-shirts had the logo for the Sierra Club, ACT, ACORN or the League of Women Voters on the back of the t-shirts.

Anyone that thinks a person who’s worked closely with with ACORN is a man of “strong character” isn’t someone that I’d trust. I’d further argue that anyone that thinks that Mark Ritchie worked diligently to guarantee that “there is a paper trail in our election process” isn’t someone that I’ll trust.

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I watched Dan Severson’s debate against Mark Ritchie to see whether Mr. Ritchie would resort to his usual excuses for his corruption. As I expected, they were employed.

First, Ritchie said that secretaries of state from across the nation told him that the recount should be the model across the nation. That’s a non sequitur. First, the recount wasn’t flawless like Mr. Ritchie suggests. By law, recounts should only recount ballots that were counted on Election Night.

Second, Ritchie continued insisting that voter fraud didn’t exist during the 2008 cycle. Jeff McGrath’s op-ed suggests otherwise.

The truth is that the problem started long before the recount. The problem started when Mr. Ritchie failed to pay attention to the warning signs that Minnesota Majority found during their investigation:

Prior to the 2008 general election, Minnesota Majority conducted a review of Minnesota’s voter records and discovered a number of apparent irregularities, including double voting, vacant and non-deliverable addresses used in voter registrations, deceased people remaining on voter registration lists, felons newly registered to vote, duplicate voter registration records, deficient voter registration records and other inconsistencies.

Minnesota Majority communicated a number of these concerns in a letter to letter to Secretary of State Mark Ritchie on October 16, 2008. On October 17, the Secretary of State responded by calling a press conference assuring Minnesotans that Minnesota had the best election system in the country.

During the debate, Mr. Ritchie insisted that Minnesota had a clean voting system. Considering all the Postal Verification Cards that were returned, Mr. Ritchie should’ve been an advocate for Photo ID. That step alone would’ve given Minnesota a fraud-proof system.

Let’s remember the KSTP investigation into the issue of absentee ballots that should’ve been rejected. While it’s true that Mr. Ritchie isn’t directly in charge of the handling of absentee ballots, there’s no question but that he’s responsible for making sure that the people who handle absentee ballots are trained properly in identifying what criteria is used in accepting or rejecting absentee ballots.

That didn’t happen:

In South Minneapolis, Margaret Dolan told Alvarez that they didn’t reject any absentee ballots because they weren’t told what the criteria was for accepting or rejecting absentee ballots.

It’s impossible to say that Ritchie has lived up to his responsibilities as Minnesota’s chief election officer. While it’s true that Mr. Ritchie isn’t responsible for training each election judge, it’s equally true that his office has oversight responsibility to guarantee that election judges have been properly trained.

Clearly, Mr. Ritchie didn’t live up to his oversight responsibilities.

One of the contentious parts of the debate was on the issue of felons voting. Rep. Severson said that Minnesota Majority’s investigation had provided the SecState’s office with information showing felons still being on the voter roles.

Mr. Ritchie’s response was lame, blaming Rep. Severson for not voting for a bill in last year’s legislature that would’ve given the SecState the ability to maintain the voter lists. According to the United States v. State of New Jersey and Stuart Rabner, Section 303(a) of the Help America Vote Act, aka HAVA, states:

Section 303(a) of HAVA, entitled “Computerized Statewide Voter Registration List Requirements,” requires that “each State, acting through the chief State election official, shall implement, in a uniform and nondiscriminatory manner, a single, uniform, official, centralized, interactive computerized statewide voter registration list defined, maintained, and administered at the State level.”

Later in the filing, we learn additional information about HAVA’s requirements:

The statewide computerized voter registration system must, among other things, satisfy the following requirements:
(a) The list shall serve as the single system for storing and managing the official list of registered voters throughout the state, 42 U.S.C. § 15483(a)(l)(A)(i);
(b) The list must contain the ‘name and registration information of, and must assign a unique identifier to, each legally registered voter in the State, 42 U.S.C. $8
(c) The list must be coordinated with other agency databases within the State, 42 U.S.C. $ 15483(a)(l)(A)(iv); and
(d) The list must serve as the official voter registration list for the conduct of all elections for federal office in the State, 42 U.S.C. 15483(a)(l)(A)(viii).

That isn’t all that HAVA provides for. Here’s more:

Section 303(a) of HAVA also requires State election officials to ensure that the computerized list is accurate and current by: (i) ensuring that all registered voters are included in the list; (ii) removing only the names of voters who are not registered to vote or who are otherwise ineligible to vote; (iii) removing duplicate names from the computerized list; and (iv) implementing safeguards to ensure that eligible voters are not removed from the list in error. 42 U.S.C. $5 15483(a)(2), 15483(a)(4).

Mr. Ritchie is wrong in stating that he needed additional authority to remove felons from the registered voters list. The Secretary of State got that authority, at the latest, in 2002 through HAVA. In fact, it’s clear that HAVA assigned that responsibility to him.

It’s shameful that Mr. Ritchie is hiding behind these excuses. It’s shameful that a blogger like myself knows more about the SecState’s responsibilities with regards to maintaining registered voter lists than Mr. Ritchie knows.

The recount didn’t prove that Minnesota’s recount process was perfect. What it proved is that it’s impossible to undo the damage done when felons vote illegally and their ballots are mixed with votes cast by legal voters.

When election judges don’t reject absentee ballots that are missing signatures, they get mixed in with properly cast ballots. Once the improperly cast ballots are mixed in with properly cast ballots, they can’t be undone.

The only thing that the court cases proved was that it’s impossible to undo the damage caused by Mr. Ritchie’s negligence.

Another thing that Ritchie got wrong is that Photo ID wasn’t constitutional because voting is a right, not a privilege. Prior to the 2008 election, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Photo ID is constitutional. They’re the final word on what’s constitutional, not Mr. Ritchie.

The reality is that Mr. Ritchie came across as either negligent in his duties or as a corrupt election official. Either way, he looked like a man who should be replaced this November.

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I just spent part of my afternoon campaigning with Michele Bachmann here in St. Cloud. Included in that campaigning was Michele addressing a room full of her biggest supporters at her new campaign office.

Earlier this afternoon, Michele stopped at C & L Distributing. Just like at other campaign stops, Tarryl’s unenthusiastic trolls were there to greet the Bachmann bus with signs and protests. (I guess Tarryl’s trolls didn’t get the memo from Dayton High Command that tracking was supposed to stop immediately.)

SIDENOTE: When Sen. Dayton criticized the MNGOP trackers for being too close for him to campaign, those trackers stayed at least 15 feet away and it was on public property. Tarryl’s trolls protested on private property. When Michele entered the building, she could’ve easily shaken the protesters’ hands. Unlike Sen. Dayton, Michele took it in stride, politely smiling as she walked past the protesters.

One sign in particular caught my attention. It was a ‘Thank You’ card from the insurance companies, supposedly because Michele does whatever they tell her to do.

Andy caught this picture of the rather unenthusiastic hodgepoge collection of protesters:

We’ve seen the articles about how low Democratic enthusiasm is. Tarryl’s trackers were the embodiment of that enthusiasm gap. They showed up, they held their signs, they went home. Rah. I was a little disappointed, though, when they didn’t attend the grand opening of Michele’s new campaign office in Waite Park.

During the tour of the C & L facilities, Obamacare was brought up as being a major drag on hiring. We were told, by the HR director, I think, that the extra paperwork alone makes it a huge burden and a huge cost driver.

When the C & L event was over, I was invited to join the Team Bachmann bus, an invitation I quickly accepted. The conversation on the bus was electric. As we approached Michele’s office, one of Michele’s staff announced that an estimated crowd of 50 people were awaiting us. That estimate was off by alot. There were easily more than 100 people eagerly awaiting at Michele’s campaign office.

For a more complete description of the day’s event, Andy’s post is today’s must reading.

Once at her campaign office, Michele emphasized the need to outwork the DFL and to work for each other. Michele said that it was important to get local candidates like King Banaian and Tom Ellenbecker elected so they could restore fiscal sanity to St. Paul’s landscape. She said that it’s imperative to elect Tom Emmer because he’s got a plan for making government more responsive to Minnesotans. Finally, she said, it’s imperative to elect Dan Severson as our next Secretary of State.

When Michele introduced King, King said that, not only are we Taxed Enough Already (TEA) but that St. Paul has Spent Enough Already (SEA), an observation that was greeted with enthusiastic applause. After the grand opening was over, I spoke with King. I said that, perhaps, last year’s TEA Parties would lead to this year’s SEA Change. Based on the things I’m hearing from around the state, that’s a definite possibility.

According to Mark Sommerhauser’s article, Tarryl spokester Carrie Lucking responded, saying “Sooner or later, voters are going to want to hear from Bachmann about what she’s done in four years in Congress.” Put Michele in the majority and give Michele a gavel and you’ll see some serious reforms happening.

I’d also suggest that getting people to fight against the twin albatrosses of Obamacare and the failed stimulus is precisely what Sixth District voters want her to do. I said today that we don’t need wimpy spending freezes like President Obama proposed this winter; we need spending cuts. We don’t need a scalpel like then-Sen. Obama said in the debates; we need a meat cleaver.

One thing that Michele said that re-inforced King’s claim that Democrats have Spent Enough Already is that the federal budget baseline has increased exponentially. The Pelosi Congress has raised spending by over $4,000,000,000,000 in 4 short years. (That includes the budgets and stimulus spending.) The national debt will increase an additional $10,000,000,000 over the next decade if Pelosi’s spending spree isn’t reversed.

I wrote a long time ago that Tarryl was facing a stiff uphill fight against Michele. After watching the professionalism and the work ethic of her campaign team, I’m more confident of my prediction than the day I made that prediction.

Andy will be back on the Bachmann campaign bus again this morning for Day 2 of the Bachmann bus tour. Here’s Andy’s advice on staying connected to Day 2′s events:

You can follow my tweets as well as others who we crossed paths with by searching the hashtag #bbt10

I wish I would’ve been able to join Team Bachmann on the tour (I was invited) but it didn’t work out this time. Rest assured that I’ll be following Andy’s tweets and Andy’s posts throughout the day.

The only question I have is whether the same unenthusiastic Tarryl trolls follow Team Bachmann around.

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