The Minnesota Voters Alliance is asking election judges to revolt and practice “civil disobedience” at the same time it is making an 11th hour move to change Minnesota’s voting procedures. It is seeking a temporary restraining order against Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.
MVA Executive Director Andrew Cilek says when someone is marked “felon challenged” on a poll roster, Minnesota law says only county auditors can approve them voting. He says the current rules that allow election judges to allow a “felon challenged” citizen to vote if they self certify they have completed their parole violate Minnesota law.
MVA attorney Erick Kaardal says their lawsuit is to “protect conscientious election judges” who are being forced to violate the law. The group is encouraging “civil disobedience” amongst election judges and asking them to sign a petition that says they will not follow Minnesota’s election rules for voters who are marked “felon challenged.”
Video Of News Conference And Reaction From Secretary Of State’s Office
Video above: Highlights of MN Voters Alliance news conference
Video below: entire news conference.
The Secretary of State’s office does not comment on pending litigation. However, Communications Director Ryan Furlong said “Minnesota law is very clear. Challenged voters are allowed to vote if they answer questions put to them by election judges, while under oath, about eligibility in a way that indicates that they are eligible to vote (pursuant to 204C.12, subdivisions 2 and 3). Election judges are required to follow the law.”
The oath voters sign specifically says the voters swears “that I have the right to vote because, if convicted of a felony, my felony sentence has expired (been completed) or I have been discharged from my sentence.” The oath also says “I understand that giving false information is a felony punishable by not more than five years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.”
Minnesota law says if an election judge does not follow Section 204C.12 they are “guilty of a gross misdemeanor”.
Court is already considering another MVA petition
Minnesota’s Supreme Court rejected the MVA’s petition on a similar case in September without ruling on the merit of it, saying it needed to be filed in a lower court first. The MVA refiled the case in Ramsey County District Court earlier this month where it is scheduled for a summary judgement hearing on November 4 – the Friday before the election.
In response to the MVA’s Supreme Court suit, Simon said his office is following the state’s election laws and does notify each county auditor if there is someone registered whose eligibility to vote has been challenged. Simon noted that it is a state and federal felony for ineligible people to falsely attest they are eligible to vote. Before voting, Minnesota requires all people to sign a document swearing that they are eligible to vote.
In its Supreme Court lawsuit, the MVA was asking for the court to stop election officials from providing ballots to, or counting ballots from, people who they say are ineligible voters because that “dilutes” the value of other votes. Simon said doing so would “violate numerous Minnesotans’ constitutional rights.”
The MVA has been openly critical of Minnesota’s laws that allow voters to register on election day.