Archive for the ‘Mark Ritchie’ Category
This op-ed by Rolf Westgard states the damage done by the Twin Cities DFL in its attempts to killing precious metal mining projects.
Last spring, Conservation Minnesota created a website telling Minnesotans that projects like the Twin Metals mining project near Ely and the PolyMet precious metals mining project near Hoyt Lakes would severely damage watersheds. Mr. Westgard refutes that:
There is a 714-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement(DEIS) for the Polymet Project from the Minnesota DNR and the Corps of Engineers. It is clear from the Statement that any effluent from the project ends up in the drainage areas of the Partridge and Embarrass Rivers. Those rivers flow south to the St Louis River and Lake Superior, not north to the Boundary Waters.
The DEIS is generally positive about the project, and it suggests that if all of Polymet’s commitments are met, there is no serious impact on the environment. The following quote from the DEIS on the Partridge River applies to its analysis of all three rivers involved: “Even with these higher loadings and assuming no natural attenuation, the model results indicate that water quality standards for the Partridge River would be maintained for the eight constituents studied (i.e., antimony, arsenic, fluoride, cobalt, copper, nickel, vanadium, and sulfate) under all flow conditions and mine years modeled. Therefore, even using relatively conservative assumptions, the Proposed Action is not predicted to result in any exceedances of surface water quality standards for the Partridge River at the modeled locations.”
Simply put, the DEIS’s findings refute everything Conservation Minnesota and Alida Messinger said about these mining projects. What’s more important is that Conservation Minnesota’s fearmongering-filled campaign against Twin Metals, PolyMet and other proposed mining projects might have a significant impact:
The state of Minnesota owns more than 6,000 acres of land in the region, and I estimate that Minnesota’s schools would collect at least $2.0 billion in royalties in the coming decades if these new mining projects proceed. This state property is known as “school trust lands.” Under the Minnesota Constitution, income from such lands is earmarked for the Permanent School Fund, which contributes about $60 per pupil to every school district. An analysis by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources projected that the school fund, with assets of $720 million, could more than triple in size with these new royalties over 25 to 30 years.
In other words, preventing these mining projects from happening is stealing $60 per year for each public school student for the next thirty years. That’s the impact that Conservation Minnesota and other militant environmentalist organizations would have on school funding.
What’s most disturbing is the fact that the EPA is essentially admitting that they’re rejecting PolyMet’s proposal for political reasons:
PolyMet is the furthest along in the environmental review and permitting process. In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave the company’s draft Environmental Impact Statement a failing grade, calling the mine’s environmental impacts “unacceptable” and the review itself “inadequate.”
Dr. Westgard isn’t the oil companies’ shill. He isn’t the mining companies’ shill either. Dr. Westgard is “a professional member [of the] Geological Society of America and is guest faculty on energy subjects for the U of Minnesota LIfelong Learning program.” If Dr. Westgard is convinced that the Arrowhead, the Iron Range and especially the Partridge River won’t be negatively affected by these projects, then it’s imperative that these projects get started ASAP.
These projects will rejuvenate the Iron Range’s economy while pouring significant money into K-12 education without hurting the environment. Why wouldn’t Conservation Minnesota, the Metro DFL and the Silent Six jump at this win-win-win opportunity?
Tags: Conservation Minnesota, MiningTruth.org, Alida Messinger, Mark Dayton, Mark Ritchie, Tom Bakk, Tom Saxhaug, Tom Anzelc, David Thomassoni, Dave Dill, Carly Melin, The Silent Six, DFL, Iron Range, Education, Economy, Employment, Twin Metals, PolyMet, Mining
Once again, the Twin Cities DFL voted to drive another nail in the miners’ coffin:
The state Executive Council in St. Paul voted 3-1 to delay the leases pending a decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals on whether an Environmental Assessment Worksheet should be done to gauge potential environmental impact where the exploration will take place.
Mining companies want the leases to expand their search for copper, nickel, gold, platinum and other valuable metals away from known deposits and into new areas. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources ruled in October that no environmental review was necessary before the leases are awarded. But several northern Minnesota citizens disagreed, and last month they filed a petition with the Court of Appeals.
The same citizens on Thursday asked the Executive Council to hold off on approving the leases until the court has ruled.
Gov. Mark Dayton, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and State Auditor Rebecca Otto agreed, and voted to delay action. Attorney General Lori Swanson supported the DNR leases. Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon was not at Thursday’s meeting in St. Paul.
Dayton went as far as scolding DNR officials for not making the minerals lease process more open and accessible for public input, and he called for a meeting in his office in the near future to include concerned citizens and top DNR staff.
Gov. Dayton’s hissy fit is great theatrics but the Executive Council’s vote says it all. The Twin Cities DFL consistently votes against the mining industry’s interests:
It’s the second time in as many years that the Executive Council has delayed mineral leases, although for different reasons. In 2011 the board delayed action after many private landowners said they were not aware the state held mineral rights under their land and that the state was about to allow mining companies to drill there. Despite sympathizing with the landowners’ plight, and delaying action for several months, the council eventually approved the 2011 leases in May this year.
This time the issue isn’t private property but what kind of impact drilling and other exploration activity might have on public and private lands, especially in sensitive areas near wetlands, trout streams, state parks and trails. Several of the latest proposed leases are in Lake County, near state parks and North Shore trout streams, said Matt Tyler, the Finland resident who has led the effort for environmental review before mineral leases are approved.
Every time the Executive Council votes to delay the letting of mineral leases is a delay to creating high-paying mining jobs. It’s also an opportunity for them to lie about what’s really motivating them. This year, the Executive Council, aka the DFL statewide officeholders, said that they wanted the Minnesota Court of Appeals to rule on whether an Environmental Assessment Worksheet should be done prior to letting the leases.
Last year, the Executive Council twice delayed the letting of leases under the premise that Arrowhead and Iron Range landowners didn’t know they didn’t own the mineral rights to their property. When the State Executive Council voted for delaying the leases, Prof. Kent Kaiser wrote an LTE scoffing at that notion while expressing his anger with the Twin Cities DFL:
This month, Minnesota’s State Executive Council, which includes the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and state auditor, voted to delay 77 leases to explore for copper and nickel on private lands in northern Minnesota.
This short-sighted action was initiated by Gov. Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. It was unfortunate for the job situation in the Northland, and I know many Minnesotans are terribly disappointed.
After all, the people of Minnesota own the rights to minerals in the state, including those under private land. Anyone from Northeastern Minnesota knows this; I remember learning this fact in elementary school.
The Twin Cities DFL will always get its way because they’d rather kill the mining industry outright. That isn’t speculation. The DFL has made their point exceptionally clear:
Conservation Minnesota, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy are targeting the proposed PolyMet mine near Hoyt Lakes and the proposed Twin Metals mine near Ely.
The campaign includes the web site MiningTruth.org, a 40-page report examining mining in detail, a Facebook community, and four billboards along Interstate 35 between the Twin Cities and Duluth to reach summer travelers.
Those complaining that these organizations aren’t the DFL are arguing over semantics. Alida Messinger sits on Conservation Minnesota’s Board of Directors. People who’ve read LFR (and Shot in the Dark) know that Alida owns the DFL and ABM, otherwise known as the deceitful, smear campaign wing of the DFL:
Alida wants to kill precious metal mining before it starts. That isn’t speculation. That’s what the International Falls Journal reported. As disgusting as Twin Cities DFL politicians are, they pail in comparison with the cowardice of Iron Range DFL politicians. They’re the people who are supposed to stand up for their constituents. Since this delay, as with the other times the State Executive Council voted against the miners’ interest, Senators Tom Bakk, David Thomassoni, and Tom Saxhaug didn’t criticize the DFL members of the State Executive Committee. Ditto with Representatives Tom Anzelc, Carly Melin and Dave Dill.
These spineless wimps let the Twin Cities DFL elitists ruin the lives of Iron Range miners without the Iron Range DFL criticizing the elitists. It’s time that Iron Range voters threw out the Silent Six for not looking out for the Iron Range’s best interests.
Likewise, Iron Range voters shouldn’t vote DFL in the statewide elections, either. Gov. Dayton, Secretary of State Ritchie and State Auditor Rebecca Otto consistently vote against the miners’ interests. I’ll guarantee that electing a GOP-filled State Executive Council will prove to be a vote for the best interests of mining communities.
It’s that simple.
Tags: Mark Dayton, Mark Ritchie, Rebecca Otto, Alida Messinger, Conservation Minnesota, Militant Environmentalists, Twin Cities DFL, Iron Range, Tom Bakk, David Thomassoni, Tom Saxhaug, Tom Anzelc, Carly Melin, DFL, Iron Range DFL, Miners, Unions, MnGOP
Mark Ritchie’s willingness to do anything to prevent the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment from becoming the governing authority on elections is breathtaking. This video shows what tactics Mr. Ritchie will use to defeat the proposed Photo ID amendment:
Here’s the transcript of Ms. Farrell’s statement:
I am Barbara Farrell, the president of the Minnesota chapter of American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. I received a letter from Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. The letter he sent me came from his office using state resources asking me to stand against the voter ID amendment and to also have my group stand against it.
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., as a group does not take political positions. Therefore, our group cannot stand one way or the other on the issue but as a mother of a military person who died while on active duty, I am outraged by the letter because in it, Mark Ritchie says that the new Voter amendment, if passed, would take away the military vote, make it more difficult for our military personnel overseas to vote when that is not the case.
I am also outraged that he would use state resources to campaign against an issue that, as Secretary of State, he should be neutral on.
Mr. Ritchie is lying when he says that the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment would stop military voting. He knows he’s lying because the UOCAVA, aka the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, controls elections for military personnel serving overseas. Since this is a federal issue, UOCAVA is constitutional from a Tenth Amendment standpoint. That means nothing a state does, whether through statutes or through constitutional amendments, affects absentee balloting for military personnel serving overseas.
What’s worse is that Ritchie made this campaign appeal using official Secretary of State stationary, something that’s expressly forbidden:
“There are a lot of subtleties about the line separating official function from campaigns,” Nobles said on Monday. “But this one was not subtle. It was an official document, and a reference to a running mate has no place in it.”
Whether it’s Mike Hatch using official OAG stationary to talk about his runningmate or it’s Mark Ritchie using official SOS stationery to defeat the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment, the same rules apply. The principle is exquisitely simple. Supplies bought with the taxpayers’ money can only be used for the taxpayers’ business.
Campaigns aren’t the taxpayers’ business.
It’s time for Mr. Ritchie to get impeached. He’s committed to not enforcing this proposed constitutional amendment like he’s been committed to not fulfilling his responsibilities mandated by the HAVA of 2002.
Tags: Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State, Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Corrupt Conduct In Office, Office Supplies, Campaigns, DFL, Investigation, Gold Star Mothers Inc., Barbara Farrell, UOCAVA, Photo ID, Absentee Ballots, Military, Election 2012
Opponents of Minnesota’s proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment gave away their secret for estimating the cost of elections in a Photo ID environment:
Ritchie has largely relied on a 2011 estimate state Minnesota Management and Budget officials prepared for a voter ID bill that Gov. Dayton later vetoed. It showed roughly $32 million in start up costs for the state, with another $24 million for counties.
Based on H.F. 2738′s language, it’s impossible for Ritchie to know what the cost is. Ritchie’s ‘statistics’ (I use that term exceptionally loosely) are, at best, wild estimates.
In testimony to the House Government Finance Committee, Ritchie admitted that there are probably less than 100,000 people who would be eligible to vote who don’t have state-issued photographic identification. If that’s accurate, then the cost of providing free photographic identification would be less than $2,000,000 initially.
Educating citizens of the requirements of the new constitutional amendment wouldn’t cost the millions of dollars opponents of Photo ID claim it would. Most of the education could be done by civic groups for little or nothing.
The cost to counties allegation is fiction. The only potential cost to a county would be from DFL activists filing lawsuits claiming a voter was disenfranchised because of the Photo ID requirement. That type of lawsuit would likely get tossed because the litigants would have to prove that they couldn’t obtain photographic identification.
Ritchie and other opponents of the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment don’t have many options left in defeating it. That’s why they’re resorting to scare tactics, dishonest statistics and threats of frivolous lawsuits.
Their options are pretty pathetic at this point.
Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer’s op-ed in the Princeton Union-Eagle is a devastating criticism of Secretary Ritchie’s scare tactics in opposition to the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment.
This criticism is particularly sharp:
He’s said that members of the Armed Forces deployed overseas would be unable to vote if the Voter ID amendment passes. As the chief election officer of the state, Ritchie should be familiar with the MOVE Act and UOCAVA ballots under federal law and thus should be fully aware that military absentee ballots are not affected by state laws. Not even an amendment to the State Constitution can hinder military balloting.
If Mr. Ritchie isn’t aware of these laws, then he isn’t qualified to be Minnesota’s Secretary of State. If Mr. Ritchie is aware of these laws but lies to scare people in an attempt to get them to vote no on the proposed constitutional amendment, he’s too corrupt to be Minnesota’s Secretary of State.
Secretary Ritchie is ignoring the word “substantially” and argues that eligibility verification cannot be accomplished on election day in the polling place. He claims that all 500,000 same-day registrants in Minnesota would therefore have to cast a provisional ballot to be counted later.
Ritchie’s intellectual dishonesty is disgusting. It isn’t reasonable to assume that everyone using EDR doesn’t have a drivers license or state-issued ID card. Still, that’s precisely what Mr. Ritchie does with this thinking.
It’s important to ask Mr. Ritchie why he’d make that assumption. I suspect he doesn’t really think that but that he’s just employing that as a scare tactic. Mr. Ritchie knows that anyone who uses EDR will cast a regular ballot if they present a state-issued Photo ID.
Mr. Ritchie can’t admit that, though, because that’d destroy another of his chanting points. If he admits to the truth, his arguments crumple.
His office claims that almost one million voters would have problems voting. This defies logic.
There are approximately 4,000,000 registered voters in Minnesota. In making that type of claim, Mr. Ritchie’s office is claiming that one-fourth of Minnesota’s registered voters don’t have a state-issued form of photgraphic identification.
It’s time for Mr. Ritchie to stop with the fearmongering. It’s time he started telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
It’s time people recognized Mr. Ritchie’s corruption.
I attended a Vote Yes on Photo ID get together Monday night. The guest speaker was Rep. Keith Downey. I’ve written a bunch of articles and posts about Photo ID and voter fraud but Rep. Downey stunned me a couple of times.
First, I learned that Rep. Downey worked on implementing HAVA requirements when he was in the private sector. One of the states that he worked in was Indiana, the home of the Crawford v. Marion County Election Board lawsuit that eventually made its way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s ruling on Crawford made Photo ID laws possible throughout the nation.
Rep. Downey made clear that implementing Photo ID isn’t the complicated procedure opponents of the bill say it is. He said he wasn’t saying that as a GOP legislator. He said that as a result of his private sector experience.
Rep. Downey said that many of the claims now being touted by the DFL as Gospel fact on costs to cities and counties come from the various Photo ID bills that have since been dropped.
Rep. Downey said that many of the DFL statements and allegations “are based on the assumption that the legislature would pass” ridiculous enabling language to the Photo ID amendment if it passes and that “Gov. Dayton would sign that.”
The fact that Gov. Dayton vetoed Photo ID when it was a bill guarantees he won’t sign a bill with ridiculous enabling language.
Rep. Downey said that many lawsuits have been brought trying to reverse the Supreme Court’s Crawford ruling. He said that none of the testimony taken has proven Photo ID disenfranchises voters.
Court after court has ruled that the people who’ve supposedly been harmed by their state’s Photo ID laws weren’t actually disenfranchised.
The ACLU-MN, the League of Women Voters-MN and Common Cause MN aren’t trying to prevent Photo ID from becoming law because Photo ID makes voting difficult.
The Constitution isn’t on their side. The ‘evidence’ isn’t on their side, either. The polls have never been on their side.
That information makes me wonder why they’re fighting this as hard as they’re fighting it.
Yesterday’s ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court is a major step in the right direction to restoring election integrity in Minnesota. Unfortunately, it’s the first step. Unfortunately, it isn’t the silver bullet solution.
Glenn Reynolds’ op-ed highlights what’s needed for a truly world class election system:
An ideal voting system would:
- Make it easy for voters to register.
- Positively ensure that voters were who they said they were.
- Make certain that no one could vote more than once.
- And guarantee that votes properly cast would be properly recorded, while making the recording of fraudulent votes impossible.
Unfortunately, no such system exists, and the ones we have are far from the best available.Reynolds then highlighted another problem that needs addressing:
In Minnesota’s 2008 disputed US Senate election, won by Al Franken, who proceeded to cast the deciding vote in favor of ObamaCare, the margin of victory was 312, but it turned out that 1,099 votes were cast by felons who were ineligible to vote. Many of them have gone to jail, but Franken has remained in the Senate.
Secretary Ritchie’s office failed Minnesotans because they didn’t enforce key provisions in HAVA. Specifically, Ritchie’s office didn’t meet HAVA’s requirements:
The Help America Vote Act also lists strict standards for each state in maintaining its Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS). HAVA mandates that each elections official at the State and local level MUST perform list maintenance on their SVRS with respect to the computerized list on a regular basis as HAVA mandates when a state does SVRS list maintenance that if an individual is to be removed from the SVRS from their respective state, that this maintenance must be done in the compliance of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 1973gg et seq.) which lists what is legal and illegal for reasons for a state to legally purge their voting rolls what is illegal to remove voters from the SVRS.
When a state removes a ineligible voter from the official list of eligible voters states mandated as follows that: Under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 that each respective state’s election authority must coordinate with their Department of Corrections the computerized list with State agency records on felony status of convicted felons if they are eligible to vote under each state’s voting laws of allowing convicted felons to vote under probation/parole or released from prison If a registered voter dies that the registered voter under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 each state’s election authority MUST coordinate with the respective agency handling birth and death statistics (i.e. Department of Health and Human Services) in removing these voters as soon as possible from the voting rolls when the death is reported. Also, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) puts in strict requirements and oversight to make sure that each state is following their own laws on enforcement of maintenance of their respective Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS).
In other words, HAVA requires timely updating of the SVRS to prevent ineligible felons and dead people from voting. The fact that Ritchie didn’t enforce this key provision in HAVA indicates his disinterest in enforcing election laws. It doesn’t appear as though county workers are that interested in preventing voter fraud either:
The county workers’ attitude is pretty arrogant:
INVESTIGATOR: In theory, I could just, you know, say I have some illness or disability and just be at home and there’s no way that the state would know otherwise. WORKER: You are signing a statement, a form, that the information you’re providing is true and correct. INVESTIGATOR: So that’s it? It’s just kind of the honor system? WORKER: Yes, I guess, it’s, I mean, it’s been that way for many, many years, that, you know, Minnesota’s been an after-the-fact type of state. And, now, we do catch people, that do things, and they’re investigated and charged. But it is, you know, after-the-fact. My election judges have a difficult time with that. It’s like “Change the law. Change the law.”
These county workers admitted that voting fraud happens but that the fraudulent votes get counted.
There’s a national movement to restore election integrity, a tide that the Democratic Party is fighting against. It’s time that that tide swept these
Corruptocrats Democrats out of office. Photo ID will clean up most of this voter fraud.
Still, a white hot spotlight should be shined on
Corruptocrats Democrats like Ritchie. If he won’t enforce Minnesota’s election laws, then he must be thrown out of office, whether that’s through impeachment or whether it’s through defeating him in November, 2014.
Monday afternoon, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Secretary Ritchie overstepped his authority in changing the titles of the marriage amendment and the Photo ID amendment.
It’s interesting that Ritchie didn’t feel the need to change the title the legislature gave to the Legacy Amendment ballot question. It’s interesting that Ritchie wasn’t interested in the titles of proposed constitutional amendments until he personally opposed this year’s proposed constitutional amendments.
The title given to S.F.1308, aka the Marriage Amendment was pretty straightforward:
Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman.
Ritchie said that he needed to change the title of the Photo ID amendment because it was misleading. I don’t believe that for a split second but let’s stipulate, for the sake of this discussion, that Ritchie’s right. What’s the need to change the title of the Marriage Amendment?
Here’s what Ritchie changed the title to:
Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.
The title Ritchie tried applying to the marriage amendment has a thoroughly negative tone, which Ritchie intended. That stinks of political kibitzing, something that’s forbidden of constitutional officers.
It also stinks of political mischief, another thing that’s forbidden of constitutional officers. Fortunately, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Secretary Ritchie went too far with his political mischief.
It’s clear that Secretary Ritchie isn’t interested in upholding Minnesota’s election laws, which is his responsibility. It’s impossible to invest this much time campaigning against the Photo ID laws, then enforce it when it’s approved by the voters.
Earlier this afternoon, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Secretary of State Mark Ritchie doesn’t have the authority to change the title of the proposed constitutional amendments. They also ruled against “liberal-leaning groups” who sought to keep the proposed Photo ID ballot question off the ballot:
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Supreme Court has thrown out ballot title changes submitted by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie for two constitutional amendments voters will address this fall.
The high court on Monday rejected the titles written by Ritchie for the photo ID amendment and another amendment that would ban gay marriage in the state.
Republicans had argued that Ritchie overstepped his authority and was trying to influence voters to reject both amendments.
In a separate decision, justices also shot down a lawsuit from liberal-leaning groups who argued that lawmakers had failed to give voters the full scope of the changes that would result from the photo ID amendment.
These are stinging defeats to Secretary Ritchie, Common Cause, the ACLU-MN and the League of Women Voters-MN. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the remedy sought by the ACLU-MN and the LWV-MN wasn’t warranted:
The court majority wrote that the photo ID ballot question “is not so unreasonable and misleading” that it should be taken off the ballot. The justices said striking the question from the ballot would have been “unprecedented relief” and that the voters will be “the sole judge of the wisdom of such matters.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling diplomatically says that the ACLU-MN, the LWV-MN and Common Cause tried to use the courts because they couldn’t win at the ballot box. The Supreme Court essentially said that the legislature has the authority to pass ballot questions and that citizens have the right to vote yes or no on the proposed constitutional amendments.
Ritchie changed the title for the marriage ban from “Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman” to “Limiting the Status of Marriage to Opposite Sex Couples.”
He rewrote the photo ID title from “Photo Identification Required for Voting” to “Changes to In-Person & Absentee Voting & Voter Registration; Provisional Ballots.”
Citing its own precedent, the court found that when the Legislature includes its own title for ballot questions, then it goes beyond the authority of the secretary of state to replace it. The majority opinion said the secretary of state has “no constitutional authority over the form and manner of proposed constitutional amendments,” and directly ordered Ritchie to restore the original wording as set by the Legislature.
Secretary Ritchie intended to influence the outcome of a constitutional amendment based on his political preferences. That’s unacceptable because he’s a constitutional officer, not an elected politician.
That’s why Secretary Ritchie should be impeached.
Secretary Ritchie’s disdain for upholding the Constitution is showing. His attempt to confuse voters is a political act that the Constitution doesn’t allow and that Minnesota voters can’t tolerate. He’s a political hack who’s attempting to give himself extraconstitutional responsibilities.
The League of Women Voters has had a sterling public reputation for a generation or more, a reputation it doesn’t deserve:
According to their website, Common Cause Minnesota, the League of Women Voters Minnesota, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and TakeAction Minnesota are ‘partners’ with Draw the Line Minnesota. That’s proof positive that this organization isn’t nonpartisan.
TakeAction Minnesota is one of the umbrella organizations that ran the filthiest smear campaign in Minnesota gubernatorial history. Partnering with them on any public policy project disqualifies the LWV-MN from being called nonpartisan. Hyperpartisan is the right adjective.
Nancy Gundersen, the co-chair of the LWV-St. Cloud wrote this troubling LTE. The first noticeable thing about the LTE was the partisan shots she took:
The Aug. 7 column by Jay Esmay of the Times Writers Group lambasted Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. Esmay used numbers from the conservative Minnesota Majority. He said in the 2008 Minnesota election there were “up to 260,000 duplicate registrations, more than 63,000 voters registered with addresses listed as ‘undeliverable’…”
These numbers have been discredited by the Secretary of State’s office and by Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota and Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance.
First, Mark Ritchie is too corrupt to discredit anyone on the issue of election integrity. Ritchie should be impeached, not praised. He’s a political hack making political visits to political meetings. I know because I attended one of those meetings.
The Secretary of State’s office is a constitutional office. It isn’t a political office. What I heard from Ritchie during his visit to a meeting of the Stearns County commissioners didn’t have anything to do with dispensing information on the ballot question. It didn’t have anything to do with voting statistics.
Mr. Ritchie’s presentation was filled with sniping editorial comments about his policy preferences.
Secondly, the Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota is a hard left progressive organization. They’ve frequently criticized the ballot question because it requires government-issued photographic identification instead of government-approved photographic identification.
Their criticism makes it sound like this is a fatal flaw which requires the defeat of the ballot question. At no point do they prove that this is an insurmountable hurdle. In fact, they don’t prove that it’s an unreasonable hurdle.
They say Minnesota Majority lumped together statistics from several years into one year. Also, “duplicate” registrations may have been people who moved, thus needing to re-register. Possibly others had registered and forgot.
I’ve referenced Minnesota Majority’s page on election integrity frequently. Here’s the key portion of the page:
RETURNED POSTAL VERIFICATION CARDS: In addition, the state’s primary registration verification tool is the Postal Verification Card (PVC). These post cards are mailed to newly registered voters. If the PVC is successfully delivered to the stated address, the voter is assumed to be legitimate. If the card is returned as undeliverable mail, the voter’s identity is in question and they are supposed to be challenged for proof of identity and residence at the polls in the next election. Over 46,000 of these postal verification cards have been returned to the county auditors as non-deliverable since 2004. About 38,000 of them were from 2008 and 23,000 stemmed from Election Day Registrations (EDRs). After accounting for legitimate reasons for undeliverable PVCs, over 6,000 unexplained, undeliverable PVCs resulting in challenged voter status remain outstanding from the 2008 election, and over 1,200 from 2010. See our full report on Unverifiable Voters in Minnesota’s Elections.
First, any honest person must admit that Minnesota Majority broke this down by election cycle. Second, it’s clear that Minnesota Majority broke this down into sufficient detail to identify how many of the PVC’s that the USPS returned were from people who used EDR.
This is Ms. Gundersen’s feeble response to this information:
Also, returned postcards are not proof of illegal voting. There are a number of explanations beside a false address. Perhaps the person moved soon after registering. Maybe the person never did vote.
I can’t believe this. The LWV’s opposition to Photo ID is based on maybe and perhaps? What’s stunning is that that’s the strongest argument they can make. They can’t say these people didn’t vote illegally. Their best argument is essentially ‘we think they’re honest because Minnesota has a sterling reputation’.
Minnesota’s election system shouldn’t be based on the honor system. It must be based on systems that can’t be compromised.
There aren’t any serious arguments that Minnesota’s current system can’t be compromised. I know because the DFL admitted that voter fraud is possible at their state convention:
Mr. Varko then spoke on behalf of his motion. Here’s part of what he said:
“I’m against this section for three reasons. One, I don’t believe that the Central Committee can come up with any mechanism that will genuinely prevent somebody from printing out a stack of absentee ballots, submitting them and getting them improper votes for a candidate.
Then Chuck Repke spoke:
I agree with the person who made the amendment. You’re setting yourself up for absolute insanity at the caucus level. The potential exists for someone from the Citizens United type to pack our caucuses with bought and paid for ballots. Absolutely guarantee the destruction of the precinct caucus process. There is no way to protect against that, folks, because we allow anyone to attend the caucus. We would therefore also have to let any absentee ballot to attend our precinct caucuses, regardless of which Koch Brother paid for it.
Delegates to the DFL State Convention voted to protect ballot integrity. There’s no better proof that voter fraud is possible than that.
Tags: League of Women Voters, Citizens for Election Integrity, TakeAction Minnesota, State Convention, Progressives, Voter Fraud, Partisanship, DFL, Minnesota Majority, Election Integrity, PVC, SVRS, Photo ID, Elections