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 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

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?)

17 thoughts on “The Next Level

  1. It will be good when Voter ID passes: it will stop all this whining about victories and defeats allegedly caused by fraud. Plus, getting an ID over a 2-year period shouldn’t be overwhelmingly difficult, or unfair. Emmer lost because, like it or not, he comes across as an unpleasant person.

  2. ” Plus, getting an ID over a 2-year period shouldn’t be overwhelmingly difficult, or unfair.”

    I would even venture to state that 99% of eligible voters already have one or more in their possession.

  3. “Under guardianship?” Wouldn’t this apply to 18-year-old’s who are living at home?

  4. Stink,

    Not in a legal sense, no. Guardianship means cant’ vote, can’t sign contracts, can’t join the military, can’t be held *completely* responsible for their actions. An 18 year old at home has all those legal rights – they’re just living at home.

    Someone who’s 17 years and 364 days old? Sure, sort of. 18 years? Nope.

  5. I have posted before, but…..there have been stories like this for years. The problem is that 90% of Republican leaning people don’t go on blogs, don’t read conservative web sites, they just live their lives and don’t get too wrapped up in politics.

    So when they witness a situation like this, or have an ederly parent in a nursing talk about how someone came through and tried to get her to sign an absentee ballott that was already filled out for Democrat candidates, they don’t do anything about it. They bitch about it, then go on with their lives.

    That makes it hard to stop this activity. When I talked to my aunt/uncle’s next door neighbor about this (when it happen to her mother in a nursing home), I asked what they did about it. I got a blank stair.

  6. I was being tongue-in-cheek. However, if you think about your frame of mind when you were 18 years old you might conclude, like me, that the state was giving you a lot of credit for knowing stuff about which you had absolutely no clue.

  7. “…he comes across as an unpleasant person.”

    Seriously? OJ, been into the VG or vice versa? Or was it the ABM ads that told you what to think of Emmer? Pathetic sheeple, indeed.

  8. I will say it again: Emmer lost because his personality is ZERO. People who didn’t care for Reagan’s policies still admired and respected the man, Mondale included. We have Dayton as Governor solely because of last cycle’s GOP “leadership” (which was inept, embarrassing and likely corrupt). Sheeple are dopes who didn’t watch the debates, see Emmer do quite well on the issues, then barely restrain his “I know better” anger… borderline apoplexy. Spend a half hour listening to him in the morning and tell me he’s a nice guy that a non-party affiliated voter would feel comfortable with, then come back with talking points you had the fat guy say at 11:00.

  9. Dunno, Johnnie. I’ve met Emmer a bunch of times. Very nice guy. Passionate about what he believes – and one person’s passion is another person’s “apoplexy”. I’m sorta the same, so maybe that’s why I identify with the guy.

    Question: If Minnesota didn’t warm up to Emmer because he wasn’t “nice”, how DO you explain Dayton?

  10. Well, Mitch, it’s because you’ve met him. Other people met Emmer via an entire series of excellent 3-way debates. And they liked Horner and Dayton as analytical people who understood Minnesota past and present. There is a way to tell people you don’t agree with them and do it without flame-throwing and talking like you’re going to throw out the baby with the bath water when you clean house (“passion” to a supporter is “whacky” to an opponent). I don’t have to explain Dayton; current GOP Leadership in the Legislature that have been in extensive sessions with Dayton like him as a human being and have said so. Remember the “The Puck Stops Here” and Brady Bunch billboards of Emmer? What a waste of money. Emmer cooked his own goose with that tips thing. Plus the “stories” about stiffing contractors. Perception and reality stuff.

  11. lots of reasons why Emmer lost. Past DWIs, Mad Mark’s unlimited budget for negative ads, a few Seifert supporters upset that their preferred candidate wasn’t the nominee, the Range, Minneapolis and St Paul, and some voter fraud.

    Republicans lost every Statewide race in 2010. We didn’t just lose because Emmer doesn’t have a less winning personality than Mark Dayton.

  12. Most everything I learned about Emmer I learned during the debates: can’t say that I watched 10 total TV ads last campaign. This is the first political “blog” I’ve visited and that solely because of its reputation as having some good historical anecdotes. One thing “insiders” to blogs seem to overlook is that the constant repetition of talking points snark does more harm than good if the goal is greater than self-congratulation.

    Frank Burns: I wonder if I can say something useful?
    Trapper: I often wonder that too, Frank.

  13. “Republicans lost every Statewide race in 2010.”

    True, jpmn, yet they seemed to almost run the table outside of the MSP. Not to mention the 8000 votes… and Dayton’s record as the worst Senator…
    (Things OldSnarkie can’t seem to grasp outside of the petty personality chanting point.)

    Game. Set. Match.

  14. “Emmer lost because his personality is ZERO.”

    Bullsh*t, he lost for two reasons, Seifert and Ritchie!!

  15. Game. Set. Match. ??

    Gee, I wanted the cheapskate, angry, one-time hockey puck to win as well. But there were too many debates with too many microphones. In the aftermath, the idea that the GOP got rolled is amusing. If only it weren’t for MSP and the Iron Range is akin to griping about the new legislative boundaries, one of which was obviously and creatively and politically gerrymandered by the Leftists to use the Minnesota River as a boundary. Like Pogo, the GOP met the enemy, and it was us. Looks like it may happen nationally as well: 8 candidates have been the front runner to take on someone very beatable. And they likely won’t because, outside of Ron Paul, they’re flip-flopping careerists who suck up to narrow constituencies for cash and support. Go ahead, tell me who is the superior candidate capable of winning this fall.

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