The Next Level

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

Plaintiffs are the Minnesota Voters Alliance, the Minnesota Freedom Council, State Representative Sondra Erickson, Montgomery Jenson, Ron Kaus, Jodi Lyn Nelson, and Sharon Stene

Defendants
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

Minnesota Constitution

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?)

Grand Jury In Crow Wing County: Day One

Yesterday, Crow Wing County (CWC) Attorney Don Ryan held the first day of his grand jury deliberations.  While the CWC Attorney’s offices don’t release details of grand jury probes, virtually everyone involved in last year’s Crow Wing County voting irregularities case – over a dozen people – have been subpoenaed.

What happened?

We don’t know – grand jury proceedings aren’t public.  The panel is scheduled to meet through tomorrow.

However, this is going to be a doozy of a story on Thursday, or whenever the grand jury releases its indictments.  Or doesn’t.  Either way.

Grand Jury In Crow Wing County: Today

Today, Crow Wing County (CWC) Attorney Don Ryan is convening a Grand Jury.  As noted last week, county attorneys don’t customarily reveal the subject of a grand jury’s deliberation – but we do know that Monty Jensen and Al Stene, two principals in the case this blog wrote about last year in which it appeared that staffers from a home for vulnerable adults were filling out ballots for their charges.

The Grand Jury is going to be in session, officially, through Thursday.  We likely won’t hear much about the proceedings until they’re over.

I’ve run down the story’s chronology a few times, most recently last week.

I published this bit, last week – but it was buried in the middle of larger PDF file.  I thought I’d break this one out a bit.

It’s the list of people who took out absentee ballots last October 29 – the Friday before election day.

You can see Monty Jensen, who pops up at 4:31 on the list.

And you can see Jim Stene, at 4:18  - who was legally entitled to vote but, according to his father Al, had no interest in voting and no knowledge of how government works (even answering “Gerald Ford” when asked who the president was).

And you can see Daniel Carel (4:24) and Crieg Ruesken (4:21) who, as we showed last week, are under guardianship and unambiguously not allowed to vote under Minnesota law

The list shows that Stene, Carel and Ruesken all voted at the time that Jensen said he saw the group from the Clark Lake group home voting, and at which he alleged that he saw their ballots being filled out by staff.   This contradicts statements in the mainstream and alt-media that nobody from Clark Lake was in the building at the time Jensen claimed.

I’ll be bringing you the news from the Grand Jury as soon as I find out more.

Grand Jury In Crow Wing County: Reset

In this week’s coverage of the Crow Wing County voter fraud allegations, I reported that Crow Wing County (CWC) Attorney Don Ryan is empaneling a grand jury this coming Tuesday – and while Ryan hasn’t announced the subject, he’s subpoenaed Monty Jensen, who has brought allegations that Clark Lake Group Homes staff bussed mentally handicapped residents to the CWC Court House and filled out their ballots for them.

I have also learned that Al Stene – the father of Jim Stene, a 15-year resident of Clark Lake Group Home – has also been subpoenaed.   The Stenes spoke at the CWC Commission last spring in an emotional testimony that showed Jim Steme – who suffered heartbreaking brain damage in a near-drowning accident as he tried to save his sister in an accident in his teens – hadn’t the slightest interest in politics, and thought the current President was Gerald Ford.  Stene – who is not legally barred from voting – had been a Clark Lake resident for 15 years, and had never voted before last fall, and claimed before the CWC commission to have had no interest in voting.

That is as opposed to the four residents we spotlighted yesterday who were legally barred from voting, in as many words on court orders, who did in fact also vote – in every case, for the first time, last fall.

I may have more – much more – before the grand jury meets on Tuesday.

(Cross-posted at True North)

Grand Jury In Crow Wing County: The Paperwork

As I noted yesterday, the Brainerd Dispatch has reported that Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan has empaneled a grand jury for this coming Tuesday.

:While Ryan has not officially announced the subject of the grand jury, he has subpoenad Monty Jensen, the Brainerd resident and disabled veteran whose video claiming to have seen disabled adults having their ballots filled out by group home staff at the Crow Wing County Courthouse the Friday before the last election, in late October 2010.  (I carried the video here, a video that got me an Instalanche right around election day last year).

The case has followed more or less the following rough chronology:

  1. The Crow Wing County (CWC) attorney Don Ryan ordered an investigation by the CWC Sheriff’s office.
  2. After a Sheriff’s investigation (which interviewed Monty Jensen’s estranged father, but ignored at least one actual witness to the alleged voter fraud), Ryan decided that, in his discretion, there was no case.
  3. An avalanche of calumny from the media and the lefty alt-media descended on Monty Jensen.
  4. Al Stene, father of James Stene, a resident at Clark Lake Group Home, found that his son – who suffered serious brain damage in a near-drowning accident at age, and knows nothing of politics – had been apparently inveigled into voting.  Stene was outraged.
  5. Eric Shawn of Fox News picked up the story.
  6. A group of activists have spent much of this year digging for more information.

Which brings us to today.

A source close to the case has provided me with four sets of documents:  each of them a court order showing a Clark Lake Group Home resident to have been placed under guardianship and had their rights to vote explicitly rescinded, and the Crow Wing County absentee ballot lists as well as the ballot envelopes,all indicating that they voted.

Copies are provided below the jump.
Continue reading

Grand Jury In Crow Wing County

According to the Brainerd Dispatch, a grand jury is being empaneled in Crow Wing County next Tuesday. 

Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan on Tuesday confirmed a petition to convene the grand jury was filed.

However, Ryan is prohibited by law from saying what the grand jury is being called to consider. By law, what transpires in the grand jury chamber is kept secret.

However, the Dispatch notes that Monty Jensen has been subpoenaed to testify:

In the fall of 2010, Jensen said he was at the courthouse when residents of a group home, who were accompanied by staff members, were voting. At the time, Jensen said what he witnessed crossed the line of proper voter assistance and amounted to the manipulation and undue influence of vulnerable adults.

We covered this last November, in what was one of the highest-traffic stories this blog has ever covered; Jensen, in a series of videos that this blog helped go viral, claimed to have seen residents of a group of group homes being assisted with their voting in a manner that allegedly violates state law.

Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan initially declined to pursue much of an investigation – the law allows the county attorney a lot of discretion in such matters.  Sources close to the story, however, indicate that the investigation carried out by the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department was “a sham”, which seemed to focus more on Monty Jensen’s bona fides than on the charges he’d made; while Jensen’s father (from whom Monty Jensen had long been estranged) was interviewed extensively, while more than one witness to the actual alleged incident went allegedly uninterviewed.

Since last winter, of course, more evidence has surfaced; at least one resident who had not been ruled incompetent to vote and stated no interest in voting turned up on the absentee voter rolls - not “illegal”, perhaps, but very possibly exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

It is not currently publicly known whether further evidence has prompted Ryan’s action.

In Minnesota, a first-degree murder charge with a life sentence may only come from a grand jury indictment. Election law issues may also be brought to the grand jury. A prosecutor may present factual information to see if there is enough to justify proceeding forward with an indictment in a bank robbery, for instance.

This represents a major reversal on the Crow Wing County Attorney’s part.  As such, a Grand Jury makes sense; while some indictments (like First Degree Murder) require grand jury findings, others are brought to give a County Attorney cover, as if to say “the indictment wasn’t my call; it was the Grand Jury’s decision”.

Exploitation

Last year, around election day, I posted a piece of video from Crow Wing County.  Monty Jensen, a disabled veteran, recounted seeing a group of disabled people being, he alleges, coached through the process of voting (not illegal), and, Jensen claimed, having their ballots filled out for them.  Which is not illegal if it involves assisting a voter with exercising their wishes re their own legal franchise – nobody, least of all Jensen, has ever argued this.

But it is illegal if it’s a case of glorified ballot stuffing – say, if someone “assists” someone who is mentally-incompetent and not legally allowed to vote.

Now, as we saw a while ago, Minnesota law may be a bit ambiguous about how guardianship affects someone’s franchise.

But when we last looked at this story, we met Jim Stene, a resident of the Clark Lake Group Home in Brainerd.   And according to his father, Al Stene, there is nothing ambiguous about the fact that Jim should not be voting.

Now Fox News’ Eric Shawn is on the story - and in the report, it seems there’s nothing ambiguous to Al Stene about his son’s state:

Minnesota resident Jim Stene voted last November — and thought he was casting his ballot for President Gerald Ford.

“He was exploited, plain and simple. He was exploited,” his father, Alan Stene, charges. “This is a moral and ethical issue.”

Jim Stene, 35, suffers from anoxic encephalopathy, severe brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. He has lived with the condition since 1987, when, as a 12-year-old boy, he jumped into a river to save the life of his drowning sister, Heather.

Jim Stene’s story is tragic enough.

Stene had spent the last 15 years living in a group home in Brainerd, Minn. He and other residents of the home were taken to the Crow Wing County auditor’s office on Oct. 29 to vote by absentee ballot. Minnesota is among the states that offer early voting by absentee ballot days before Election Day.

In an affidavit, Stene’s father charges that “a voter crime was committed … because James is mentally incompetent and is very coachable.”

He fears his son, and others like him across the country, could be used to swing elections.

“They are a forgotten member of our society, I think, to where people can exploit them because nobody really knows what goes on behind the scenes,” Alan Stene said.

“I felt that he was used as a pawn.”

Shawn reportedly spent quite a bit of time with Jim Stene over a weekend in Brainerd in February.  I’ve added emphasis:

Fox News met Stene at a private residence, with his sister beside him, and asked him about voting. While his words came slowly, he clearly understood the conversation, smiling and trying to do his best to answer. When asked who he voted for, he answered quietly, “Ford.” Gerald Ford? Stene nodded in the affirmative.

He was unable to name the candidates or any current elected officials, and he said a worker at the group home where he lived told him for whom to vote. They didn’t move his hand or mark it for him, he said, “just told me who to vote for.” He “did not have a clue” about the person he voted for. And when asked to identify the current president, he said, “Bush, I think.”

The owner of the chain of group homes where Stene lived denies the charges:

“Did Clark Lake (Group Home), on a whim, decide to take this person and sneak them down to the poll? Absolutely not. It’s so ridiculous, it’s absurd,” [Lynn Peterson, owner of the Clark Lake Group Homes where Stene lived] told Fox News.

“As a provider, what did I do? I gave him a ride to the polls and I gave him a ride home.” Peterson says Stene and several others voted in full view of local county election workers, and he affirmed that he and his staff were supporting the legal right of their residents to cast a ballot, the same as people without disabilities.

“As a provider, my job is to provide assistance to handicapped people if they choose to vote,” said Peterson. “At no time were they to be assisted in how to vote.”

Stene – and Monty Jensen, and his girlfriend – claim otherwise.  Those claims would seem to warrant an investigation…

…which was done, more or less.  The Crow Wing County Sheriff’s department investigated the claims – in a line of questioning that led them to talk with Monty Jensen’s estranged father, with whom Jensen hasn’t spoken in years and who was utterly unconnected to the case, but somehow did not lead them to talk with Monty Jensen’s girlfriend.

[Peterson] added that he thinks a care provider should be “somebody that is going to be an advocate, a strong advocate for the people with a disability that have the ability to participate with the voting process or any other process in the community.”

But Stene’s family disagrees.

“Jim is not capable of making those type of decisions, to know what the candidates are and what the issues are,” his father said. And his sister said she “could not believe this was even an issue” and that he was taken to vote.

As she sat next to her sibling who saved her life, tears welled up.

“I just don’t think that he is competent enough,” she said. “I mean, he is my brother and I love him very, very much, and that’s why I personally go vote.”

She also said she “is glad it has gotten this far because there will be more recognition for other people, and for my brother. He has the right for who he wants to vote for, but I honestly don’t think he could vote.” Peterson says Jim Stene wanted to vote. Stene told Fox News he was not asked if he wanted to vote.

In Minnesota, only a judge can determine if a person is incompetent to vote and take away that right. That has not happened in Stene’s case.

So the question is not “was Stene disenfranchised”; the question is “was he exploited by the staff at his group home?”

Read the rest of Shawn’s story.

Crow Wing County: Developments

In the wake of last Tuesday’s Crow Wing County Commission meeting, the Brainerd Dispatch has the latest on the story.

If you recall the video I ran yesterday, showing Monty Jensen, Ron Kaus and Al and Jim Stene speaking in front of the Commission, you’ll remember the powerful allegation that the staff at the group home (run by the Clark Lake group of group homes) had fraudulently gotten Jim Stene to vote; Stene himself – who suffered serious brain injuries in a near-drowning incident when he was 12 -alleged that the group home staff had coached his vote.

County Attorney Ryan was un-thrilled by this:

At the Tuesday meeting, Ryan took issue with Stene’s statements, saying Stene misrepresented their conversations when speaking to the board.

Ryan said when he sat down and spoke to James “he personally informed me he did want to vote not that someone made him to vote. …

Which will be an interesting he-said/he-said to work through.

But if – as the Minnesota Freedom Council has alleged – Jim Stene has been judged mentally incompetent to vote, and his name is on the absentee voter roll, then there’s a legal issue right there.

And even County Attorney Ryan agrees there’s some smoke (I’ll add emphasis):

“I think it’s a bad thing to come in and try to create an issue in an open forum setting and when it will be televised,” Ryan said. “There currently is an investigation pending into the exploitation of a vulnerable adult.”

In December, Ryan reported his office did not find evidence to substantiate a Crow Wing Township resident’s claim of voter fraud. On Nov. 1, Montgomery Jensen of Crow Wing Township filed a complaint with Ryan’s office.

I’m awaiting an update on when Fox will broadcast Eric Shawn’s report on the voter fraud allegations.

Crow Wing County: Update

I’ve been pretty quiet about the Crow Wing County story that I covered last fall, around election-day.  Part of it has been that I’ve been too swamped with family and new job stuff to spend a lot of time trying to track down county officials and everyone else involved with the story. And part of it is that there have been other developments that just plain needed time to work out.

Which isn’t to say I haven’t done a little digging around.  I just haven’t written about it a lot.

In the original videos, taken the Saturday before election day, Monty Jensen – a disabled Army veteran who vigorously disclaims any history of  significant political activism – recounted his story; he and his girlfriend went to the Crow Wing County Courthouse to get absentee ballots (they both work and go to school in the Twin Cities, and wouldn’t be able to vote on election day).  They claimed to have seen a group of mentally-handicapped group home residents being herded through the Crow Wing County courthouse, and to have seen the group home’s staffers filling out the clients’ ballots for them – a clear violation of state law.

Jensen filed an affadavit on Election Day with Crow Wing County attorney Don Ryan.  The County Sheriff’s office carried out an investigation.  Ryan declined to prosecute; a source in the county courthouse speaking off the record said that Ryan acted under the discretion that Minnesota Statute 201.275 grants him.  There are questions about both the discretion – Ron Kaus is demanding a special prosecutor – and the investigation, which went as far as to interrogate Monty Jensen’s long-estranged father, but did not interview the second witness to the original incident, Jensen’s girlfriend.

When the story came out, there were three primary responses from the media and leftyblogs (other than the  usual “balderdash, our election system is the best in the nation hic best in the nation hic best in the nation…”):

  1. The Minnesota GOP is trying to disenfranchise the disabled!”:  This was an odd strawman; not only is Monty Jensen himself disabled, he’s restated endlessly that his only concern is the exploitation of the disabled; the use of the disabled as warm bodies to cast other peoples’ votes.  Which, Jensen has steadfastly claimed, was his singular concern.  Notwithstanding, Lynn Peterson – owner of the Clark Lake group of group homes, from which the residents in question allegedly came – went on a media spree, vigorously upholding the right of disabled people who have not been declared incompetent to vote, a right that nobody involved in this case has questioned in any way.
  2. Monty Jenson is a liar!“: Someone needs to tell Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan, who told a Crow Wing County Commission meeting in December that Jensen’s concerns were valid, and the sort of thing a good citizen should do.
  3. “The times just don’t add up!“:  There’s no way that Jensen’s complaint could be legitimate, say some, because the times in the various accounts – Jensen’s and the management at Clark Lake – don’t jibe.   But all it will take to scupper that claim is one Clark Lake resident to have been registered to vote, who had been declared incompetent.

And that resident has materialized.  James Stene, a man who suffered serious brain trauma after a near-drowning incident while he was trying to rescue his sister, and who has been judged legally incompetent – claims to have been dragged through the voting process by his staff member.  And he – and his father, Al – made the claim at last night’s Crow Wing County Commission meeting:

There are, of course, lots of new developments to this story.

Eric Shawn of Fox News was in Brainerd over the weekend shooting a story about the allegations of voting fraud in Crow Wing County this past election (previous stories here; the first in the series was this post).  The piece should air sometime in the next 3-4 days.

And we’ll be having Monty Jensen, Al Stene and Ron Kaus of the Minnesota Freedom Council on the Northern Alliance Radio Network this Saturday at 2PM.  Hope you can tune in.

CORRECTIONS: Stene, not Steen.  And I had originally listed Ryan in one place as a Crow Wing County Commissioner; that’s been corrected as well.

Crow Wing County: Questions Unanswered

The day before this past election, I linked to a piece of video of a man – Monty Jensen, a Brainerd resident, disabled Army veteran, and government worker – who claimed to have witnessed what appeared at the very least to have  been some odd behavior – and at most appeared to be voter fraud.

The original video is here.   The story brought this blog among the biggest surges of traffic it has ever had.

The story seems to have stalled, for the moment – partly because it’s been on a lot of peoples’ back burners, and partly because…

…well, we’ll get back to that.

As noted in this space back in November, Monty Jensen filed an affadavit – sworn under oath to be truthful, under penalty of a potential charge of perjury – with Crow Wing County attorney Donald F. Ryan, on November 1 – the day before election day.  His affadavit recited what he’d seen, pretty much as he related the story to me – which is as concise a summary of what Jensen alleges as there is.  Go and read it and refresh your memory.

And for the next six weeks, not a whole lot happened.  The Crow Wing County Sheriff’s office did an investigation;  in due course, County Attorney Ryan said that there was no evidence of voter fraud.

And that was pretty much that.

Well, at least as far as official channels in Crow Wing County were concerned, so far.

But that’s not the entire story.

On December 17 – after the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office investigation had wrapped – the Minnesota Freedom Council sent a letter to then-representative Dan Severson, long-time Minnesota House rep for the area and recently defeated in a bid to replace Mark Ritchie as Secretary of State.

The crux of the letter was a list of 13 questions (any typos are my fault):

Questions that remain unanswered:

1. Were all parties interviewed for testimony?  Clearly this is not the case since no-one approached the other eyewitness (Mr. Jensen’s girlfriend).  How can this be a “complete” investigation?

2. Was the party or parties involved with the possible voter fraud positively identified by the two eyewitnesses?  If not, how can anyone be sure that the Crow Wing County Sheriff investigators are talking to the same suspect?  We have two conflicting testimonies; one says she was simply “filling in ovals where there were dots” on the ballot.  The other said the disabled voter didn’t say in the voting booth but a “few seconds” and never had a pencil or pen in hand and didn’t have time to talk to their assistant about their voting preferences.  Maybe there are two different people.  How do we know?

3. Why was there no official report that has been put forth stating the reasons for dismissal with the findings of fact that can be confirmed or contested?

4. Of the statements that were taken, were affidavits filed for each of those statement under penalty of perjury?

5. Was a list compiled of all the individuals who voted under this complaint, and were they identified as being eligible to vote?  (ie. did any of them have their voting rights revoked under court order ruling them “vulnerable adults”, and were they registered to vote in the district?)

6. Since this was four days prior to election day and Minnesota does not have early voting for elections, what statute was used to allow this early voting, and were any of the individuals that voted vouched for by any resident managers?  Many may have residency outside their group home (this is only acceptable on election day (MN statute 201.061 Subd 3)

7. Was it determined how may voters were helped by this group home workers?  Minnesota statute 204C.15 Assistance to Vot3rs states that “no person who assists another voter as provided in the preceding sentence shall mark the ballots of more than three voters at one election”.

8. Were there election judges present at the Crow Wing County Auditor Office?  Voters who need assistance may request aid from two election judges who are members of different major political parties.  All voters who need assistance should have this option availble.

9. Why hasn’t Mr. Jensen been asked to identify the Crow Wing County Auditor employee who stated “you don’t know the half of it, this was the fourth group today”.

10. When we asked (county auditor) Deb Erickson if she know if there were any disabled people or residents from group homes voting late on Friday October 29th, she said she didn’t know.  Why then did Deb Erickson contact Jared Peterson, on Monday November 1 after [Monty Jensen's] affidavit was filed?  (According to KSAX article).  Seeing that the Auditor is not an “investigator”, this opens up a question of conspiracy.

11. Why were there two investigators assigned to the case interviewing Mr. Jensen’s estranged father?  Were they investigating Montgomery Jensen?  They had time to send investigators to interview someone who has no relationship to the case, but not the other eyewitness?

12 Under MN Statute 201.175, a grand jury must be called to present the evidence and let the grand jury determine whether ot proceed [with indictments].  Why wasn’t one called?  Did the Crow Wing County Attonrey usurp the power of the grand jury by ruling on his own?  Or did the Crow Wing County Attorney purposely avoid gathering enough evidence (including interviewing the other eyewitness) to force the calling of a grand jury?

13. There conflicting testimony by the eyewitnesses.  Crow Wing County Attorney said there is “no evidence” of voter fraud.  If two credible eyewitnesses can not convict someone guilty of voter fraud then how could anyone ever be convicted without an outright confession?  You cannot bring cameras or recording equipment and there is no one there at the county monitoring for abnormalities.

It is our opinion that this investigation brought forth even more questions than it answered in trying to resolve legitimate concerns in the voter fraud case involving the disabled.

If the worker was identified as stated by the County Attorney as the person in teh complaint, was that person compelled to submit an affidavit?   If she did and the statements are of conflicting facts (ie. “the person walked away and was pulled back to the booth only to wander away again at which time the worker filled out the ballot and put it into his hand” vs. “they told me the answers to the questions and I filled in the oval for them”. ) then the issue is to be forwarded to a Grand Jury for investigation.  If she did complete an affidavit then th issue should be forwarded to the Grand Jury to complete the in depth investigation by evenly weighted statements of fact.  It is not the County Attorney’s prerogative to simply dismiss the issue as not having merit.  Arbitration of issues of this importance are determined by a group of peer,s not that of an elected [official].

In short, the matters in question have not been adequately addressed, nor has a written report been forthcoming.  The gravity of the charges would dictate that not only is further investigation required nd should be forwarded to a Grand Jury, but that the State Attorney General’s Office should be advised in the matter and an opinion sought on whether Crow Wing County Attorney Mr. Ryan has violated statute by “refusing or intentionally failing to faithfully perform” his duties as County Attorney.v>Your immediate action is requested.

The questions raised in the letter make a useful framework for addressing the rest of this story.   I’ll be addressing one or two of these questions a week for the next couple of weeks.

At least one other Twin Cities reporter is working on this story.  It’s going to be an interesting week or two.

One Day At The Crow Wing County Courthouse, Part II

When we left Monty Jensen, it was Friday, October 29.  He’d just seen a scene that disturbed him; supervisors from a Brainerd-area group home voting for their charges who, while they had the legal right to vote, didn’t seem to have much idea where they were or what they were doing (which, if I were much less sober and reflective than I am these days, I would say “makes them a perfect DFL constituency”.  But I am more sober and reflective these days).

Jensen chewed on what he’d seen overnight – and then took a shot in the dark.

“I called George Burton”, he says, referring to the Constitution Party candidate for Jim Oberstar’s seat.   Burton got Jensen in touch with the Minnesota Freedom Council, one of a small network of grassroots groups that is scrutinizing Minnesota’s election system.

Acting on their advice, Jensen started to work.  “About 10:30 Saturday morning (October 30), I looked up Don Ryan, the Crow Wing County attorney, in the phone book.   I tried him a couple of times, with no answer. ”

“Then I tried Ron Kaus, at the Minnesota Freedom Council.  I’d never heard of him in my life.  I spoke with him – and he got right on it.  They wanted all the information – and he asked me to meet at the courthouse and tell him  how everything went down.  When we got there, he asked me if he could record the conversation.  We didn’t talk for five minutes before the recording started; I told my story”.

Here’s the story, for those who missed it the first time:
Here’s part I of the video…:

…along with Part II…:

…and Part III.

Jensen recalls “We went through and did the video.  I was kinda on the hot seat.  And from there, we  started trying to do the investigation”.  He got some advice from Kaus;  “If you want this investigated, you need to do it as an affadavit; the complaint form will just get filed away”. 

So Jensen spent the weekend writing the complaint.  On Monday morning, he was ready to turn it in.

“On Monday morning, I brought four copies in.  The auditor notarized them, and kept one”.  Then, Jensen went to the County Attorney’s office.  “Being that it was Monday before election day…I handed it to him personally.  He said he didn’t know what he could do with the election the next day, so all the votes would count.  But he said they’d follow up with the investigation.”

Later on, Jensen said the County Attorney’s office called to say the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s office had assigned an investigator.  On Thursday, November 4 – two days after the election – Jensen met with that investigator for about 90 minutes.  “He stated that they’d been speaking with certain group homes, had a list of ballots turned in during the time frame, and had everything to back up the story”.

And that, for the most part, was the last Monty Jensen has heard from Crow Wing County.

———-

Toward the end of our conversation, Jensen reflected.  “The other day, I was talking with my girlfriend.  I asked “Am I crazy, or is something going on here?”

We’ll get the girlfriend’s answer straight from her, later this week.

One Day At The Crow Wing County Courthouse

Last week – just before the election – the nation got a look at about twenty minutes of video depicting a group of citizens questioning officials from Crow Wing County – think Brainerd – about an apparent incident of ballot-stuffing.

The video left more questions than it answered.  Who were these people?  What did they see?

The media has touched on the story – and largely asked the really important questions, like “who did the people in the video vote for?”.  We’ll come back to that.

I figured it was time to talk with the actual people involved.

The weekend before election day, Monty Jensen of Brainerd took his girlfriend to the Crow Wing County courthouse to vote in person with an absentee ballot.  He had to take a partial day of vacation to do it; he commutes from Brainerd to the Twin Cities every day to work. His girlfriend commutes with him; she’s in pharmacy school at the U of M in Minneapolis.  “I’m on the road fifteen hours a day”, he points out.  So taking the time out to vote was a bit of an effort.

A little after 4:30 on Friday, October 29, Jensen and his girlfriend walked into the Crow Wing County Courthouse, and went upstairs to the Auditor’s office.  “It was full of people”, Jensen recalls.  They submitted their applications to the auditor, and took a seat to wait their turn to vote. .

“We waited for about fifteen minutes”, Jensen said, “and I noticed there were a lot of people there who seemed to have issues”; they were disabled.  “I didn’t think anything of that”, Jensen added.  

We’ll come back to that later in the story.

There appeared to be a dozen, maybe fifteen handicapped people, and perhaps three supervisors. 

“But what alarmed me”, said Jensen, “was, I’m looking across at a poll booth, and I see a staffer walk over with an individual who’s mentally handicapped, put down ballot w/pen.  The guy walked away from the booth.  She called him back over – you could tell by her body language she was getting impatient, and the guy wouldn’t come back.  So she filled out his ballot.  Then she retrieved hjim, and had him turn in his ballot.”

Jensen continued “So I went “what the hell?”  I couldn’t[ believe she filled out the guy's ballot!"

"As I'm voting, the woman was 2 booths down with another invividual.  She was talking like he's a child.  Telling him who he should vote for.  I think "This isn't right".   Going right down line, candidate by candidate. I look over - her hand was on the pencil."  Jensen told me he overheard him instructing the man to vote a straight DFL ticket; "it was DFL candiates - Dayton, Oberstar, Taylor Stevens, Ward, right down the ballot, every candidate."

Jensen said he asked the woman what she was doing. "She grabbed him, went across the room to other station, and continued filling out the ballot.  I've seen her dictate two people's votes.  My perception is these people [the group of voters] don’t know where they’re at”.

Jensen became concerned.  “I went to counter and asked the county worker – “Is this legal?” 

Jensen stopped for a moment, and pointed out that he knows that it’s perfectly legal for people to help people to vote.  “I’m a disabled veteran.  I support the rights of the disabled”.

But, he added,  ”this was more than “assistance”.

He went to a county worker, and asked if she was aware of what was going on.  “She says “Well, yeah”", Jensen continued.  “She seemed nervous. Eventually she said  ”You don’t know the half of it.  This is the fourth group we’ve had today”. 

Jensen pointed out that his girlfriend witnessed this statement.  I’ll be talking with her shortly.

Jensen was so upset by this point that he left the courthouse.  “I didn’t really know what to do”. 

That would come later.

More later this week.

A Look At The Ballot Stuffing Party

Remember this video, from just before the election?

Here’s part I of the video…:

…along with Part II…:

…and Part III.

In the video, Monty Jensen of Brainerd describes what he believes to be an act of egregious vote fraud at the Crow Wing County Court House.

I had a long conversation with Jensen last night. I’ll be blogging about that, as well as some of the other principals in this story, starting tomorrow in Shot In The Dark.

Welcome To Chicago

And it’s time for the first allegation of election fraud.

On Friday, October 30, 2010, a member of the Minnesota Freedom Council witnessed apparent voter fraud occurring at the Crow Wing County Courthouse in Brainerd, Minnesota. Upwards of 100 residents from a local group home for mentally disadvantaged individuals were brought into the County Courthouse to cast absentee ballots. The witness reported that supervisors were telling voters to cast a straight Democratic ticket. There was even a report of a voter prematurely leaving the voting both and a supervisor casting the ballot for the voter. Essentially, the people in-charge were taking advantage of the mentally disabled in order to bolster the vote for their candidates of choice. These individuals involved can be charged with a felony under Minnesota election laws.

Here’s part I of the video…:

…along with Part II…:

…and Part III.

Only legal voters should have the right to vote.

This deserves an investigation.

If a democracy can’t trust its democratic institutions, is it a democracy at all?

Watch – some nutslap leftyblogger will call that “voter intimidation”.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!

Voter fraud is a touchy issue in Minnesota.  The powers that be constantly tell us we have the most incorruptible election system in the country – but not one in 10,000 Minnesotans could explain to you correctly how the 2008 Senate election went from a 200-vote win for Norm Coleman to a 300 vote win for Al Franken.  The Minnesota Majority has found hundreds of ambiguous registrations that led to scads of investigations that have led to dozens of convictions for voter fraud so far, in two of our 87 counties.  And our Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie, is a former “community activist” whose 2006 campaign to get elected was bankrolled in part by George Soros’ effort to take SecState offices nationwide.

So yeah, this is serious business.

And let me make sure we give credit where it’s due; the video came from “Election Integrity Watch“.  We need to run down some facts, here – but it deserves investigation.