Joe Bodell has posted something interesting over at Minnesota Campaign Report. Here’s what Mr. Bodell said that caught my attention:

Have you heard the latest allegations against Mark Ritchie? The ones saying that some people, including state employees, received solicitations from Ritchie’s campaign after not having given their email addresses to the campaign? Big. Fat. Hairy. Deal.

Those addresses could have come from anywhere. The recipients of Ritchie’s campaign solicitation could have submitted their email addresses to any number of organizations whose email lists Ritchie was renting. This happens all the time; for example, I never submitted my email address to California Senator Barbara Boxer’s campaign, but they somehow have it. List rental is a way of life for both parties. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something. Not to mention the fact that the contact information in this particular case was public information.

Instead of making any recriminations against Mr. Ritchie, let’s find the truth. If the Ritchie campaign got Mark Giga’s and Jack Tomzcak’s names from a listserv, then the Ritchie campaign should be able to show in their expenditures their buying of lists. This could be cleared up by simply showing proof that the Ritchie campaign had purchased a list with Giga’s and Tomzcak’s names on them.

When I worked at Fingerhut, we handled a project called NCOA, which stood for National Change Of Address. NCOA lists were created by the Post Office to update addresses. That made those lists very expensive to listserv companies. Buying NCOA tapes was as close to guaranteeing that the addresses the company was buying was accurate.

Lists that didn’t use NCOA data weren’t nearly as reliable as the NCOA files.

Here’s what the KSTP article said:

At least three attendees received a fundraising email last week from Ritchie’s
campaign. Neither attendee in the formal complaint filed with the Legislative Auditor had been the previous recipient of fundraising from Ritchie or his campaign.

Is it purely coincidental that people attending the Secretary of State’s official function signed up for email updates, then shortly thereafter, they got their first contribution solicitations from Mark Ritchie’s campaign staff?

What’s troubling about this is that Mark Ritchie is in charge of making sure elections run smoothly. Here’s what the Secretary of State’s website says with regard to elections:

The secretary of state is the chief election official in Minnesota and is responsible for administration of the Minnesota election law. In this capacity, the secretary of state operates the statewide voter registration system and prepares the official roster of voters for every election conducted in Minnesota. Other election activities include certifying voting systems, conducting administrative recounts, accepting filings by candidates for multi-county offices, and training of local election officials. The secretary of state chairs the state canvassing board, which certifies the results of state elections.

Here’s some of the things contained in Minnesota’s election laws:

Residence shall be determined in accordance with the following principles, so far as they may be applicable to the facts of the case:
(a) The residence of an individual is in the precinct where the individual’s home is located, from which the individual has no present intention of moving, and to which, whenever the individual is absent, the individual intends to return;
(b) An individual does not lose residence if the individual leaves home to live temporarily in another state or precinct;
c) An individual does not acquire a residence in any precinct of this state if the individual is living there only temporarily, without the intention of making that precinct home;
(d) If an individual goes into another state or precinct with the intention of making it home or files an affidavit of residence there for election purposes, the individual loses residence in the former precinct;
(e) If an individual moves to another state with the intention of living there for an indefinite period, the individual loses residence in this state, notwithstanding any intention to return at some indefinite future time;
(f) Except as otherwise provided in this section, an individual’s residence is located in the precinct where the individual’s family lives, unless the individual’s family is living in that precinct only temporarily;

In other words, Minnesota’s Secretary of State is in charge of administering the rules of who is and who isn’t a Minnesota resident.

I’d bet that most Minnesotans would think that that’s one of the most sensitive issues in elections, especially with the unsolved immigration problem. Let’s also remember this Powerline post just prior to the 2004 election:

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 – 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.

In other words, voter fraud isn’t just something that happens in Chicago or Philadelphia or St. Louis. As you can see, the potential for voter fraud is quite real here in Minnesota.

That’s why it’s imperative that our Secretary of State be beyond trustworthy. That’s why it’s important that our Secretary of State isn’t a partisan.

Let’s also remember this blast from Mark Ritchie’s not-so-distant past:

What makes Mark an extraordinary, visionary leader?

Mark’s vision for Minnesota is to see the state eliminate barriers to voting and to have voter participation drastically increase. Mark formed his vision for Minnesota when he created NOVEMBER 2, a non-partisan voter registration campaign. NOVEMBER 2 was able to get more than 1,000 groups to register more than five million new voters nationwide. Mark believes that although this campaign was very successful, we still have to overcome obstacles created by the secretary of state offices in Ohio, Florida, and Minnesota. For the past 15 years Mark has worked for voters rights and election protection and he knows that much more needs to be done before elections are made fully free and fair.

My jaw almost hit the floor reading that. I found this by plugging Ellen Malcolm’s name into a Google search with Mark Ritchie’s name. Ellen Malcolm was the president of ACT. Now we find that the Minnesota’s “chief election official” was touted by an affiliate of ACT’s as a “visionary leader” hoping to “eliminate barriers to voting” and seeing “voter participation drastically increase.” Forgive me but my inner cynic says that that sounds like a recipe for instituting a voter fraud system.

I don’t think that’s the type of thing Minnesotans want their Secretary of State, their chief election official, involved with.

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