Member, Fillmore County League of Women Voters
Let’s not spread misinformation about election integrity. In the August 12 Fillmore County Journal the commentary by Jeff Erding (fillmorecountyjournal.com/election-integrity-in-america/) contains multiple false or misleading claims perpetuated by Andrew Cilek of Minnesota Voters Alliance regarding Minnesota election integrity. It is important readers are given accurate information.
Erding states that the Secretary of State and county auditors refused to turn over information regarding voter registrations with Social Security number irregularities. What Erding doesn’t mention is that under Minnesota Statute 13.355 (www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/13.355), Social Security numbers are private information and may not be shared except when specifically authorized by state law. In this case the Secretary of State was not authorized by any state law to share Social Security numbers with Representative Duane Quam. I, for one, do not want Social Security numbers disclosed to state representatives for any purpose. Our governmental system of checks and balances provide checks on the administrative system and checks on the legislative system — such as preventing Representative Quam from getting individuals’ Social Security numbers.
The Minnesota Voter Alliance brought a lawsuit but gave no factual evidence that “massive illegal voting” occurs in Minnesota. The district court issued a “stay” on July 17, 2019, regarding the order to turn over information. When a court issues a stay on an order, the court hits a “pause” on the order and this action allows the appeal process to proceed to a higher court. In the case that Erding is referring to, the Supreme Court of Minnesota stated that the case would be reviewed; thus, the Secretary of State is following court orders and the legal process proceeds appropriately. This sounds like a fishing expedition.
The Legislative Auditor issued a report in March of 2018 (www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us/ped/pedrep/votereg.pdf) that describes at length the numerous ways county auditors and the Secretary of State check and verify voter registrations. The report found that in the very rare instance when there are irregularities, they are caught. For example, if an individual attempts to vote more than once, the current system catches and prosecutes that individual. That is exactly what happened in a case from earlier this year in Minneapolis (www.startribune.com/voter-stand-charge-st-louis-park-woman-purposely-voted-in minneapolis-then-in-her-city/505798022/).
Mr. Erding claims that “Big Tech” is influencing elections for the Democrats and fails to mention that credible evidence was found that foreign governments influenced our elections for the benefit of Republican candidates. We all want a fair and just democratic election system, but we will never have it if public figures insist on spreading misinformation about the integrity of our elections. Mr. Erding’s editorial is just another example of divisiveness – spreading untruths about people of different political persuasions (i.e. Democrats). Safeguarding our election requires looking at facts, truths, no matter the political party.