Minneapolis DFL accused of discriminating in online caucus system

A group said that the online system has led to the “disenfranchisement of thousands of voters, fraudulent registrations, and preferential treatment of campaigns.”

Minnesota DFL Party/Twitter

(The Minnesota Sun) — The Minneapolis Democrat Farmer Labor (DFL) Party moved their caucus process online and is now being accused of discrimination. Three DFL leaders, DFL Party activist Ken Vreeland, and former Minneapolis council members Tony Scallon and Lisa MacDonald have come out in opposition to the online system, saying that it prohibits people who don’t have the resources to access the online system from participating.

They said that the online system has led to the “disenfranchisement of thousands of voters, fraudulent registrations, and preferential treatment of campaigns.” According to Vreeland, MacDonald, and Scallon, it disproportionately affects minorities and the elderly, because of a lack of resources to access the online caucus. Scallon also said that “the party’s request for voters’ ages amounts to discrimination.” According to the Star Tribune, Scallon said that “they [caucus participants] thought they were done when they got done registering. We’ve never had a required verification before and so a lot of people have been denied and they did not get to be delegates. It’s just really a mess.”

Scallon was also quoted as saying “it would be almost impossible to make participation more difficult and dysfunctional especially for folks who don’t have computers or computer skills, who have low English-language skills, unstable housing or certain physical handicaps. That was definitely the case for many seniors.”

The chair of the Minneapolis DFL, Devin Hogan, responded to the claims and said that they are not true. He said, “This is the most participation we’ve ever had in a caucus. I fail to see how that is discriminatory.”

The DFL moved the caucus process online due to COVID-19 and has decided to keep it online for the time being. It had been planned this way since October and Hogan has confidence in the system, saying, “People want to participate.”

The three DFL leaders said that they will be pursuing legal action against the Minnesota DFL Party if they do not change the online caucus system.

Among the concerns they highlight, fraud is one of them. They believe that having this system online opens the door to fraud and voters registering multiple times. Some examples that the three said they have found include multiple registrants using the same email address to register, or an invalid address, and people who were registered without their knowledge.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has also expressed concerns regarding the online system, along with 20 other Democrat candidates. The group wrote, “Endorsements borne of this process will be viewed as illegitimate by many campaigns and observers, and they threaten to undermine the integrity of our great Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.”