Andrew E. Cilek
Minnesota Voters Alliance
The September 3 Fillmore County Journal commentary by Susan Ritter of the League of Women Voters is full of misleading information on voter fraud.
Ms. Ritter falsely asserts that Representative Duane Quam requested “individuals’ Social Security Numbers” (SSNs) from the Secretary of State and the Secretary refused to turn them over. Two errors: Mr. Quam never requested SSNs and the Secretary cannot refuse to provide them because the state election database does not contain (full) SSNs. Only partial (last four digits) SSNs, for a small fraction of voters, are recorded by the state, and Mr. Quam did not ask for those either. In fact, in his request to county auditors, Mr. Quam specifically declared that he was “not asking for any personal identification.”
Ms. Ritter then proceeds to make two misrepresentations about the Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA) and its lawsuit against the Minnesota Secretary of State seeking release of public election data. She asserts that the MVA has claimed evidence of “massive illegal voting” and has presented none to the court. First, this is a distortion of the MVA’s claims that there is a large body of evidence indicating possible voting by ineligible persons and election officials are ignoring it. Second, the MVA has presented quantitative and detailed records from official state sources, including the Office of the Legislative Auditor, the Office of the Secretary of State, and the Social Security Administration, showing that thousands of voters have failed eligibility tests and that the state election database contains at least 2,800 instances of a person being recorded as having voted twice in the same election. Despite all of this authoritative evidence, there has never been any follow-up by election officials to assess it.
Ms. Ritter next gives us a misleading characterization of the March 2018 report from the Legislative Auditor by claiming that, “The report found that in the very rare instance when there are irregularities, they are caught.” Actually, the Auditor found that 26,000 voters in the 2016 election were marked “challenged” because they had previously failed a test of their eligibility but were allowed to vote anyway, because on election day they claimed they were eligible. State officials did not follow up and when the Auditor tested a small sample of 612 from the 26,000, he found that only 20 of the 612 may have been eligible to vote.
As for Ms. Ritter’s claim that ineligible voters are caught, we need only remember what Secretary of State Simon is proud of proclaiming, namely, that there have been only 11 convictions of voter fraud following the 2016 election. Mr. Simon’s determination to keep appealing the decisions of the Ramsey County District Court and the Minnesota Appeals Court in order to hide public election data is a major contributor to that low rate and a huge obstacle to assessing the true magnitude of ineligible voting in this state.
Ms. Ritter says, “It is important readers are given accurate information.” She did not follow her own advice.