Just before the 2010 elections, Monty Jensen of Brainerd saw what he believed to be extreme irregularities in voting in Crow Wing County; a busload of adults from a group home having their ballots filled out for them by group home workers, he alleged.
Since then, Jensen’s story has been taken up by Eric Shawn of Fox News; it’s shown that at least four adults who were not legally entitled to vote, and in one case had no awareness of political whatsoever, voted at exactly the time Monty Jensen said they did, and has been the subject of a grand jury “probe” that was too fraught with irregularities to be called a “farce” with a straight face. It’s also brought Jensen and some of his supporters in for some fairly ugly and irresponsible criticism from DFL activists in the Brainerd area as well as some elements of the Minnesota lefty alt-media.
And today, the case – or rather, the “investigation” of the case – is going to be the subject of a complaint by the Minnesota Voters Alliance.
Here’s an outline of the complaint:
Plaintiffs are the Minnesota Voters Alliance, the Minnesota Freedom Council, State Representative Sondra Erickson, Montgomery Jenson, Ron Kaus, Jodi Lyn Nelson, and Sharon Stene
Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Secretary of State
Lori Swanson, Minnesota Attorney General
Joe Mansky, Ramsey County Elections Manager
John Choi, Ramsey County Attorney
Laureen E. Borden, Crow Wing Auditor-Treasurer
Donald F. Ryan, Crow Wing County Attorney
One basis for our claims is that Article VII, Section 1 of the Minnesota Constitution requires the state to confirm the eligibility-to-vote of every person it permits to vote, in every election:
Section 1. ELIGIBILITY; PLACE OF VOTING; INELIGIBLE PERSONS. Every person 18 years of age or more who has been a citizen of the United States for three months and who has resided in the precinct for 30 days next preceding an election shall be entitled to vote in that precinct. The place of voting by one otherwise qualified who has changed his residence within 30 days preceding the election shall be prescribed by law. The following persons shall not be entitled or permitted to vote at any election in this state: A person not meeting the above requirements; a person who has been convicted of treason or felony, unless restored to civil rights; a person under guardianship, or a person who is insane or not mentally competent.
The State fails to meet its Constitutional duty to confirm the eligibility of election-day registrants.
In 2008, for example, the state “waived” the eligibility requirements for more than 500,000 election-day registrants by not confirming their eligibility to vote.
The State fails to confirm eligibility of voters even after the election.
As of today, there are still more than 48,000 persons listed in the State’s voter registration database who registered on election-day 2008 and whose eligibility to vote have not been confirmed.
In fact, persons who are known to be positively ineligible to vote had their ballots counted in 2008.
At least 1,500 ineligible felons voted in 2008.
Minnesota has a history of close elections.
The Complaint describes the 1916 presidential election in Minnesota won by 392 votes, the 1962 race for governor won by 91 votes, several state races won by less than 90 votes including a loss by Plaintiff Sondra Erickson by 89 votes in 2008, and the 2001 school board race in which Plaintiff Jody Lyn Nelson lost by one vote.
Both the U.S. and the Minnesota Constitution afford individuals the right to “associate” for political purposes.
When the state waives the eligibility requirements for election-day registrants, it allows unconfirmed, and potentially ineligible, voters to interfere with the constitutional right of the candidate and his or her supporters to come together for political purposes. In effect, the ineligible voter illegally associates himself with the candidate by affecting the candidate’s opportunity to be elected.
Both the U.S. and the Minnesota Constitution afford individuals the right to “due process” by which they can defend their other rights.
The State does not allow eligible voters a means to defend the interference with their right of association created when ineligible persons vote on election day. Eligible voters have no way to know who is ineligible but the State does have the means and does not deploy it for the purpose of enabling eligible voters the opportunity to challenge those persons who are harming their right to vote.
Both the U.S. and the Minnesota Constitution afford individuals the right to “equal protection” under the law.
Minnesota’s statutes which require the confirmation of eligibility for some voters and which, at the same time, allow other voters to have their ballots counted without being confirmed, treat voters unequally.
The “guardianship” and “not mentally competent” parts of Article Vii, Section 1 are unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution.
These statements in the Minnesota Constitution that prohibit all persons under guardianship or declared to be mentally incompetent are too broad because they do not afford the person (the ward) the right to challenge having his voting rights stripped away.
The state statutes regarding procedures for guardianships are also constitutionally defective because they violate the ward’s right to due process.
Under current state law, the person under guardianship retains his right to vote unless the court takes it away. The involvement of the court provides, in principle, the ward with a process (that satisfies his rights under the U.S. Constitution) for challenging any attempt to remove his right to vote.
Notwithstanding, current statutes do not provide for testing the capacity of the ward to understand the nature and effect of voting. Further, the current statutes do not provide for informing the ward that his right to vote has been abrogated.
This effort, like most anything conservatives do on the subject, has been portrayed as “voter intimidation” by bloggers and others more concerned with upholding DFL dogma than the law. It’s rubbish, of course; the proximate issue is the exploitation of vulnerable adults. If a group home forces vulnerable adults to vote, what else will they do?
(Now, if the group home in question were owned by a GOP sympathizer, and the ballot was allegedly being stuffed for, I dunno, Tom Emmer, you just know the story would be different, don’t you?)