Viewpoint: Secretary of State’s office responsible for long electionOn June 30th, Deputy Sec. of State Jim Gelbmann wrote a letter to the editor to deflect criticism of defects in Minnesota’s election records away from the Secretary of State’s office.
By: Dan McGrath, Woodbury Bulletin
On June 30th, Deputy Sec. of State Jim Gelbmann wrote a letter to the editor to deflect criticism of defects in Minnesota’s election records away from the Secretary of State’s office. He called Minnesota Majority’s efforts to clean up our election system and hold public officials accountable through our judicial process “shameful.”
Mr. Gelbmann is dismissive of Minnesota Majority’s evidence as “incredibly flawed,” but all the information was provided by the secretary of state’s office. What does that say about the state of our voter files? There is no disagreement surrounding the facts stated in the Supreme Court petition. Sec. of State Mark Ritchie asserted that in April (7 months after the 2008 election), there was a discrepancy of 40,000 more ballots counted than corresponding voter histories. That fact, which isn’t in dispute, is the basis of the lawsuit against the Secretary of State and several county election officials.
Obviously, it would be difficult at best for Mr. Gelbmann to criticize evidence provided and affirmed by the secretary of state’s office. Instead, he constructed and attacked a “straw man” of old data that isn’t even relevant to the pending Supreme Court lawsuit.
Under Minnesota law, voter history updates are required to be complete within six weeks following a general election. That would be mid-December. At the end of February, the secretary of state’s legal counsel provided a list of 31 counties who had not yet met their statutory obligations.
At the end of April, the secretary of state’s office stated that all counties had completed their voter history updates, but the statewide voter registration system still didn’t account for all the ballots cast. When asked for an explanation, the secretary of state’s legal counsel told Minnesota Majority “there appears to be a widespread problem,” and that they were looking into it.
The facts and evidence that are the basis of Minnesota Majority’s suit haven’t been disputed by the secretary of state’s office. The heart of the dispute is who’s responsible. There has been a lot of finger-pointing and nobody’s accepting responsibility. Minnesota Majority believes the ultimate responsibility lies with our chief elections official, the secretary of state and in a way, he’s acknowledged some responsibility by stating a goal of whittling the discrepancies in voter histories down to about 1,000 records.
Mr. Gelbmann lauds Minnesota‚s election system as “fair, transparent, accurate and inclusive.” How he can call an election accurate and transparent, when eight months after it’s happened we still can’t even determine who voted or balance the rosters with the ballots, is a mystery in bureaucratic thinking. Inclusive?
That much appears to be true. The voter history files indicate a large number of people who voted after having died, felons still “on the books” who voted, and even known non-citizens appear to have been given ballots. Thankfully Minnesota’s inclusive elections don’t disenfranchise the dead or ineligible.
Executive director for Minnesota Majority, a non-profit, conservative organization.