Secretary of State Steve Simon undermines Minnesota elections: the evidence

Exclusive Commentary by Andy Cilek from Minnesota Voters Alliance

Minnesota Voters Alliance

The Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA) has been battling the malfeasance of Secretary of State Simon for years. We are currently before the Minnesota Court of Appeals over his rejection of the Ramsey District Court order directing him to give us public election data on all voters, including so-called inactive ones.

 

This defiance is only one instance of how determined the Secretary, along with county election officials, is to undermine the public interest. Consider these facts.

 

In March, 2018, the Office of the Legislative Auditor released its review of Minnesota’s election system and revealed that more than 26,000 individuals whose status was marked “challenged” voted in November, 2016.  The Auditor examined a small subset of the 26,000, the 612 persons marked “challenged” due to being a felon, and could only determine that 20 of the 612 may have been eligible when they voted.

 

What has the Secretary done to look into these 26,000 voters who failed at least one eligibility test? Nothing.

 

During November and December 2016, Ramsey County, carrying out its statutory responsibility, mailed slightly more than 37,000 postcards to individuals who registered to vote. The purpose was to test the validity of each address by determining if the Post Office would return the postcard as “undeliverable.” Approximately 6,000 individuals had the postcards sent to them come back to the county marked “undeliverable.” The vast majority of the 6,000 were persons who registered and were allowed to vote on election-day, before the postcard tests were conducted.

 

What has Ramsey County done to determine how many and which of these voters were ineligible? Nothing.

 

Our recent analysis looking at the 2012, 2014, and 2016 voting data released by the Office of the Secretary of State showed that more than 2,800 voters had two voting records for the same election. And the public records we scanned do not include more than 1.2 million records of persons who are marked “inactive.”

 

Did the Secretary analyze the voting records and identify these double voters? No. What has the Secretary done since being made aware of this evidence of double voting? Nothing.

 

So far during 2018, as many as 15,000 individuals who registered to vote using the last four digits of a Social Security Number (SSN4) to identify themselves cannot be found in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) database. The Secretary did not tell the Office of the Legislative Audit about the existence of chronically occurring SSN4 non-matches when the Office conducted its 2017 audit of the election system. We only know about it because the data from the SSA are available online at www.ssa.gov/open/havv/

 

During just five weeks prior to last November’s elections, there were more than 6,000 mismatches identified by SSA among Minnesota voter registrations.

 

When Representative Duane Quam, a member of the Minnesota House Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee, asked the Secretary of State as well as several county auditors for specific information such as how many of these individuals voted, what voter statuses were they assigned, and how many were prosecuted, the uniform response was to say that the officials would not be cooperating with his oversight requests.

 

It is not too much to expect that a dutiful Secretary would support the public benefit of transparency and welcome the opportunity to empower the MVA and others do the analyses he refuses to carry out. Instead, Mr. Simon warns us about Russian election interference and falsely reassures the public by declaring that the “number of convictions…pertaining to the 2016 election is 11,” a fact that, ironically, highlights another failure in office.

 

The MVA wants to hear from fans of Alpha News who would be interested in joining with us to improve the credibility and integrity of elections in this state. If you might have any interest at all, please send us a note at info@mnvoters.org.

 

Andy Cilek

Executive Director, Minnesota Voters Alliance