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Sunday, April 30, 2017

House & Senate Differ on Future of Met Council in Mass Transit. Billions at Stake.


Update: It appears the House and Senate agree'd to give the MetC an insane budget of $210 million! That's nearly Three and a half times higher than the house proposal of $61.5 million!
see post:
GOP Caves on Mass Transit, Offers Dayton Dream Budget for the Met Council to Continue Transit Lines















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Today, 5-1-2017, it's up to the ten legislators from the House and Senate on whether they are going to, for the first time in over ten years, slow the out of control expansion of white elephant mass transit. Yes, the 3 corridors in Washington County have not had direct state funding since 2011; however, the bloated budget of the Met Council has back door funded these corridors' progress along with the 11 other corridors that are either in planning or recently built.  (4 of 14 completed so far)
(according to "Session Daily" today is the deadline)

We covered why the legislators should accept the house version in our previous post:
GOP Senate Passes $5.8 Billion Transportation Bill with $180 Million to Met Council & Mass Transit a Huge Raise

This article is more evidence against the unelected Met Council who is now threatening to retaliate with the most painful cuts possible if they get a budget decrease. 

Today is the last day to urge the ten legislators to accept the House version of the omnibus bill, $61.5 million for Met Council as opposed to the Senate's insane offer of $180 million for their transportation budget. The Met C operating budget was less than $650 million in 2006. Last year it was just short of $1 BILLION DOLLARS! Most of their services are redundant to local city and county planning. Including but not limited to park planning, low income housing planning, water and sewer planning, "livable communities", and "growth planning."  According to Representative Nick Zerwas, the original intent of the Met C was simply to help neighboring metro cities plan utilities like water and sewer at their borders. 

In 2005 the State provided $57.3 million in funding for traditional bus service, metro mobility, express bus, and the one light rail train in operation. Subtract the $9.35 million the state provided to fund this transit line's horrible lack of self sustaining ridership (the blue line) and it shows all the core bus services only cost $43 million that year. Adjust for inflation and that is $51 million in 2017 dollars! (double for bi-annual cost)

There is ABSOLUTELY no reason the GOP house and GOP senate can not agree on the GENEROUS $61.5 million in the house version. Met C can do many things for savings and revenue such as: modestly raise fares, cut LRT service to support peak use, and actually enforce ticket purchase to make closer to the $106 million to match the FY '04/'05 budget... mind you, this number included millions in subsidy for LRT, not just core bus service.

$61.5 Million is crucial because with any extra the Met C will likely keep back door funding failed mass transit like they always have. The 3 corridors being planned in Washington County haven't had a cent in direct funding from the legislature since 2011. Yet, with this back door funding they're moved full steam ahead because of over funding from even the GOP Legislature. 

The deadline is Monday 5-1-2017. Again. Please email and call them with these facts to show citizens are informed and to not believe the lies of the Met C threatening to cut off grandma's Metro mobility with the most painful cuts they can. The unelected Met Council fears nothing except responsible funding. unfortunately the media is all to willing to let them get away lying and holding elderly and disabled transit funding hostage. It's apparently so bad not one of the ten legislators has responded to give assurances they'll stick to the lower offer.

If Minnesota families have to live within a budget than so should the Met C. The 80+ non-metro county citizens are tired of funding the metro's mass transit. Urge legislators to cut funding back to pre-white elephant mass transit and stop the unsustainable expansion of mass transit. 

-Matt Behning

Legislators to write:
rep.paul.torkelson@house.mn,
rep.john.petersburg@house.mn,
rep.jon.koznick@house.mn,
rep.jeff.howe@house.mn,
rep.linda.runbeck@house.mn,
sen.scott.newman@senate.mn,
sen.john.jasinski@senate.mn,
sen.mary.kiffmeyer@senate.mn,
sen.david.osmek@senate.mn,
sen.dan.sparks@senate.mn,


House: 
Torkelson 651-296-9303
Runbeck 651-296-2907
Petersburg 651-296-5368
Koznick 651-296-6926
Howe 651-296-4373
Senate: 
Newman 651-296-4131
Jasinski 651-296-0284
Kiffmeyer 651-296-5655
Osmek 651-296-1282
Sparks 651-296-9248

Friday, April 28, 2017

Select Members of the Forest Lake Police Department Punished for Producing Controversial Video




Disclaimer: This is a report of what has recently become public information for a series of incidents that occurred within the Forest Lake Police Department with some of it's officers.  This information was provided to us following a recent data practice request and all information is available to the public. In no way is this reporting of the news taking sides against the hard working members of the FLPD. Again, the actions were of a few and in no way represents the department as a whole. 

Numerous grievance arbitrations were held against a small number of the Forest Lake Police Department who decided to produce a controversial video while working on the job. The actions occurred in 2010 and were only recently released for the public.  This resulted in punishments including suspension and demotion.

screen shot from the public data video
The video is a 'Star Wars' themed video depicting the police union as the 'rebel alliance' (the good side) and the city council as the evil empire seeking to crush the resistance. Shown in the form of Darth Vadar choking a police officer in the video. The ruling against the very select few of FLPD stated the actions were of neglect of duty, misuse of department equipment including "drunk goggles among numerous other concerns while on the public payroll.
Link to video which is public data: https://youtu.be/eFubEGXwE2A

Discipline actions included:

Scott Graff: 7-day suspension for having spent at least 5.75 hours creating a video that had nothing to do with police work.

Patrick Ferguson:  5-day suspension for having spend 5.7 hours of duty time for purely personal reasons, neglect of duty and misuse of department equipment.  The arbitrator said it was lenient and well within the bounds of reasonableness to give the suspension.

Justin Boughton:  Received written reprimand.

3 additional officers (noted at the time as being the newest):  Received coaching letters for their actions.

Sean Lafferty:  Demotion from Sergeant to Patrol Officer for having participated in actions listed above while responsible for their supervision.  He did deny initiating and running an illegal gambling hockey pool out of the break room. 


Additional notes described these actions:

Patrol Officer John Glad - Placed a photo of a naked toddler urinating into a cereal bowl and titled it "Peeing in your Wheaties."

Officer Graff - Had a photo displayed of him wearing a pope hat.

Photos of officers stuck in mud were used as screen-savers.

Squad garage was decorated with a unicorn wearing moose antlers, a stuffed moose, a liquor sign, other signs, "peeing in your Wheaties" picture, a hanging stuffed monkey and a set of "stop sticks" nailed to the wall in the garage after being used in a high-speed chase which damaged cars from other law enforcement agencies vehicles.

On the positive side, evidence submitted showed that 2-3 officers turned in their colleagues to Sgt. Richard Petersen and 3 other officers turned in their colleagues to Sgt. Greg Weiss (now Captain).  Some of these members were unnamed in the public data request, but we thank each of them for their service - even when it compromised their own.

Data released:
BMS Decision-Graff.pdf
BMS Ferguson.pdf
Protective Order (11-22-10) Redacted 4-2017.pdf
Sean Lafferty Arbitration Award_Redacted 4-2017.pdf

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Representative Kelly Fenton's Proposal (HF463) Threatens Voting Integrity


photo credit: www.house.leg.state.mn.us/SessionDaily
Representative Kelly Fenton, Republican serving district 53b in Woodbury, is the author of an election bill HF463. Included in the bill is a proposal to expand a form of early voting in Minnesota to 46 days! Effectively changing our system from an Election Day, to an Election Month and a half. Representative Fenton did not respond to questions asking why she wants to overhaul absentee voting and why she was avoiding the checks and balances of the legislative process by placing the bill in the House election omnibus bill.

Also on the bill besides Fenton as an author is Representative Tim O'Driscoll (R) and Roz Peterson (R), the rest of the 9 total authors are democrats.

In 2013, the Democrat controlled Legislature passed a law allowing voters to obtain an absentee ballot with no excuse, up to 46 days before the election. In 2016, the legislature changed the law to allow the voter to turn in the ballot in person up to 7 days before the election day to be counted. Both law changes hurt voting integrity as it brought more voting outside the verification of the polling place.  

Andy Cilek, Executive Director of the Minnesota Voters Alliance stated in a letter to law makers: Representative Fenton's proposal will enable potentially hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted, bypassing the local Ballot Boards. They will no longer be able to review absentee ballot applications that they now screen and reject. In short, the change from 7 to 46 days undermines the sole purpose of absentee ballot boards.

Cilek went on to say:
Following the 2008 election, Data Practices Act request produced data showing 17,000 of the 545,000 same day registrants had to be marked “challenged” in the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS) database because they did not pass one of the 9 eligibility checks. (To view the 9 eligibility checks, visit www.MNVoters.org/voterfraud and view the Mark Ritchie video, 5th one down)

Voter fraud happens in Minnesota's absentee ballot system and it makes no sense to make this problem worse by six fold (7 to 46 days). Especially to pass such a massive overhaul through this session’s omnibus bill without prior examination of its ramifications. Representative Fenton has not responded to questions regarding her decision to tag this on the election omnibus bill rather than put it through committee hearings and have it pass as a stand alone bill.

There's a whole list of addition reasons Fenton's bill is horrible that I credit the Minnesota Voters Alliance for providing. Please contact your legislators to remove "Alternative procedure" from the house election omnibus bill. Simply pick one or all of the many reasons:
  • This bill changes our system from an Election Day, to an Election Month and a half, giving voters an extra 46 days to find a convenient time to vote before their eligibility can be verified.
  • The bill’s name and wording intentionally mislead legislators. The name does little to describe the bill and, together with the wording, blur the distinction between absentee voting (already registered and verified voters) and with new unregistered voters (whose new registrations will not be verified until after the election and after their votes have been counted). 
  • In the “Alternative Procedure” bill, the early registrants are not verified for eligibility prior to voting because their Voter Registration Application (VRA) is SET ASIDE until after Election Day, just as if they were absentee voters, in accordance with MS 201.061. This means that the person is not verified to see if they meet the qualifications to vote, they simply do so on the “honor system”. 
  • Having fewer election observers to monitor the actual casting of ballots inevitably increases the potential for fraud;
  • A much larger proportion of votes being cast in an uncontrolled environment. The ballots are out there, and there’s nobody watching.
  • “Ballot harvesters” will have more options; they can pick busloads of people up, bring them down to the voting booth - it’s easier and quicker- and these operatives can be paid on the number of ballots that are cast.
According to Andy Cilek, Fenton has been responding to concerned citizens saying the new procedure will help solve some problem of too many people handing ballots in the absentee process.  There's no evidence of this being a problem.  Even if a small issue exists in that regard, it would be absolutely dwarfed in comparison to the problems that will arise if this bill passes.  

Legislators must implement laws that protect our election integrity – not make our elections more vulnerable to fraud.

-Matt Behning  

More articles on Representative Fenton:
Four Reasons Rep. Kelly Fenton was a Terrible Choice for a Republican Assistant Majority Leader  
Representative Fenton's New Woodbury Lodging Tax Bill is a Slap in the Face to New Hotels and GOP
Four GOP Legislators are Silent After Attempt to Sneak Funding for Mass Transit in Omnibus Bill 
Common Sense Solution to Prevent Voter Fraud Makes it Through the Senate, Stopped by Representative Fenton in the House
At Her Own Crossroads: Will Representative Fenton Lead or Appease

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Four GOP Legislators are Silent After Attempt to Sneak Funding for Mass Transit in Omnibus Bill

4/14/17 update: Representative Petersburg promises these mass transit bills will not be in the house transportation omnibus bill. However, the bills could be snuck into the capital investment omnibus bills because it does not have a bill authorship deadline like the others. Stay tuned.
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Right now the Republican Controlled Minnesota Legislature is working to pass their many different "Omnibus" Bills from everything from education to road funding. These are pieces of proposed legislation with dozens of individual bills that are grouped together by similarity to be passed in one floor vote to save time. Last week I covered the House and Senate Transportation omnibus bills, which both passed:
GOP Senate Passes $5.8 Billion Transportation Bill with $180 Million to Met Council & 
Mass Transit a Huge Raise
Vice Chair Rep. Petersburg Promises No Transit Bills in 2017 House Transportation Omnibus Bill

The next step is for these house and senate bills to meet in reconciliation in order to work on matching. When they do they'll go to the Governor to be signed into law.

This article is about the mass transit bills (Light Rail and Bus Corridors) that four of our Washington County GOP State Legislators attempted to sneak into the Republican transportation (roads and bridges) omnibus bills in the House and Senate. They crossed the aisle and joined 29 democrats in this effort. Thankfully, for the tax payers, their efforts to pass one over on the voters by hiding mass transit funding into road and bridge funding bills failed. If they respected the legislative process they would have put their bills through committee, personally defended the need to be funded by the entire state, and put them up as stand alone bills on the floor. They attempted to bypass all these checks and balances and sneak them into an omnibus bill as is common practice by the opposing democrat party. They could still try to sneak their bills into another omnibus bill like the capital investment. But we'll see. 


What's shocking is the fact that all four of these GOP legislators are from Washington County since there are 111 Republican legislators in the State.

All citizens benefit from state funded roads that are supported by Transportation omnibus bills. Not only for personal transport; but also delivery of goods and services. Mass transit (light rail and bus rapid transit) do not benefit the residents of the state. At best, mass transit only serves immediate residents along the short length of the corridors that are usually less than 20 miles long in Minnesota. They don't deliver goods and services and they don't transport you if you have more than you can carry in your arms. Generous estimates state that only 4% of just Twin City metro commutes are by Mass Transit. Statewide, less than a fraction of 1%. So why should tax dollars meant for roads and bridges go to fund transit lines that statistically very few people use? This is why republicans legislators do not allow transit bills to be hidden inside transportation omnibus bills. Yet four of our legislators broke with their fiscal conservative party principles and attempted to fund wasteful transit spending and worst, in this manner.


The bills and legislators are:
-HF2442/SF1767 - : $3 million for the Gateway Corridor/Gold Line Transit way funding. Senator Karin Housley, Republcan, 39B covering Forest Lake, Stillwater, and Lake Elmo has her name on the bill. (more on why the Gateway corridor is a bad idea here)
-HF2453 -: $3 million for the Gateway Corridor/ Gold Line. Representative Kelly Fenton, Republican, 53B covering Woodbury has her name on the bill. 
-HF2385/SF2260-$5,600,000 for the Red Rock Corridor transit way. Representative Tony Jurgens (R,54B,Cottage Grove, Afton, Hastings) and Representative Keith Franke (R,54A,New Port, Cottage Grove) have their names on the bill.  (more on why the Red Rock Corridor is a bad idea here)

The RINO (republican in name only) Representative Fenton, Senator Housley, Representative Jurgens (elected 2016), and Representative Franke (elected 2016) apparently do not understand the four mass transit corridors that have been built in Minnesota have cost tax payers billions yet have had no impact on decreasing road congestion or meeting expectations for job growth etc. 
I told them:"If you can't align with the party against failed mass transit it's easy to predict a repeat of 2011 when the GOP did nothing to reform wasteful transit spending, the un-elected met council, and actually did the opposite and funded horrible transit lines like the Red Rock Corridor and Gateway Corridor with direct funding as your bills this session request.... As you know the GOP lost the house and Senate the following year. When this session is again a failure to cut something simple as failed mass transit spending and Met Council reform I predict a similar defeat for the Republican legislature AND the Governor's seat." 

I asked them each four questions and gave them over a week to respond. All four refused to answer these questions (some worded differently depending on recipient):
For Representative Kelly Fenton1.) I see your name is on HF2453 to fund the $420 million dollar Gateway Corridor/Gold Line Corridor Bus "Rapid" Transit project $3 million tax dollars. Money that would keep this $420 million dollar, 9 mile bus route to wind down the side streets from Woodbury to St. Paul alive. That's $46.6 million per mile to make a negligible impact (if any) in congestion. Just 5% decrease if you use the corridor's 2040 ridership prediction with today's I-94 traffic volume. Retired MNDOT highway planer Frank Pafko has stated numerous times in the media that "it only costs $5-$10 million per mile to add a lane of freeway or highway." $10 million a mile for inner city freeway like I-94. In 2011 he and MNDOT had a plan to add a lane, a MN-Pass lane, it was tabled by Dayton and the DFL. Metro Transit has a $9 million dollar alternative to the Gold Line.  With all the evidence showing the Gold line will be another failed BRT corridor what evidence do you have to justify putting your name on a bill to fund this bus line rather than a more affordable and a more utilized added lane or Metro Transit line? (There is already an express bus route, regular bus routes, Metro Mobility, and other forms of public transit in your district.)
  2.) This year there are 111 GOP legislators in MN. You and only 3 others decided to leave the party platform of fiscal conservative values and author failed mass transit bills. Please read Representative Hertaus's comment:"I don't think it was necessarily the legislature's intent to provide an unlimited open checkbook to subsidize at an "unkown" number of rail lines at an unkown cost. Extending the current losses funded by the legislature to the six additional proposed MetC lines would suggest (by my own calculations) the current $55 million of losses would triple to $165 million. This promises to be an endless obligation and when shouldered up against the talked about 10 year transportation funding plan, this would be a $1.65 billion dollar funding shortfall, not to mention a likely $12 BILLION dollars to construct the lines. This totals by my estimation, $13.65 billion for LRT over the next 10 years compared to $6 billion over the same period for all of our roads and bridges statewide. This is more than DOUBLE the expenditure for less than 3% of total ridership assuming the LRT ridership doubles over the same period. Further, these losses will starve the general fund for other constitutionally mandated responsibilities such as education, transportation, judiciary and public safety and will ultimately lead to yet higher taxes.Why did you go against your party's pledge of fiscal responsibility to support this corridor? 
3.) In the time since you last authored a bill to fund the Gateway Corridor you found yourself challenged in the primary by a fiscal Conservative and Air Force Veteran who opposed the Gold Line named Steve Ellenwood. Also, Lake Elmo saw the corridor was so bad for them they kicked the Corridor out; coincidentally after I hand wrote to over 100 residents who attend city council meetings in the past. Nearby Oakdale residents also made it clear they don't want the corridor: http://alphanewsmn.com/oakdale-residents-speak-out-against-the-485-million-bus-route/ To be clear, for 60 people in opposition to show up when I've never seen more than two or three show up in support of any Washington County Corridor meeting is huge. Nearby Representative Lohmer stated the only people she is aware of supporting the Gateway Corridor are people who will profit from it's construction. So with all this open opposition and not one true fiscal conservative that I know of who supports this corridor with any facts...  Why do you fight your constituents so hard on this and continue to support it only during off election years? 
4.) The latest news is President Trump is killing the $100 billion left in spending for the new starts grant program. This program is how transit projects have been funded in the US. This would have funded half the money for the Gateway corridor and Red Rock Corridor and all the others in Minnesota. Why author a controversial bill to fund a terrible corridor that is circling the drain and having the federal funds pulled out from under it? 
For Senator Karin Housley (Only the questions that differ from the 4 above are repeated):3.) When you last authored a bill to fund the Gateway Corridor your last Constituent base with land touching the Gold line was in Lake Elmo. Since this time, they withdrew their support. Coincidentally after I hand wrote to over 100 residents of Lake Elmo the truth about the "pro-growth" corridor:  Lake Elmo has kicked the Gateway Corridor out. Afton (in your district) voted years ago not to allow the corridor on their side of I-94. So you no longer have constituents land that will be directly "served" by the corridor. One could argue your constituents oppose the corridor based on the fact they voted no to the corridor in their LPA. Representative Lohmer, who shares half your district, stated the only people she is aware of supporting the Gateway Corridor are people who will profit from it's construction. If you have bi-partisan constituents who are against the Transit Oriented Devolpment (TOD) that the Gold Line would bring and the Gold Line is out of your district now... why are you the author of this bill for the Gold Line?  
For Representative Tony Jurgens (Only the questions that differ from the 4 above are repeated):
1.) Before the election and even after you and Representative Franke have refused multiple times from multiple outlets to say whether or not you were for or against the Red Rock Corridor. In the final days of forming a transportation omnibus bill I see your name and Franke's is on HF2385 to give $5,600,000 to the un-elected Metropolitan Council who will funnel it to the nightmare Red Rock Corridor. (Red Rock Corridor Faces Delays as 7 Facts Become Undeniable.) Money that would keep what's left of this terrible idea alive. Seeing that the corridor failed to meet the minimum requirement for the feds to fund the corridor the County planners had to ditch the millions wasted on the original plan. Their solution was to go to Metro Transit's (Service Improvement Plan) book and pick out a rejected route they had for Cottage Grove, fund it, and call it the Red Rock Corridor. (Red Rock Corridor Plan Falls Apart Now Wants to be Called Route 363) A member of the Hasting's city council said they wouldn't even be alive by the time the corridor reached your district in Hastings (2040 earliest).  With all the evidence showing the Red Rock Corridor is a terrible idea, what evidence do you have to justify putting your name on a bill to fund this bus line that's not in your district rather than a more affordable and a more utilized added lane or leave it to the professionals of Metro Transit?

3.) Your predecessor, former Representative Denny McNamara (Republican) supported the Red Rock Corridor. It appeared to end his political career as he had filed to run for re-election; but for some reason found himself the day before the filing deadline handing the opportunity to you (campaign backers dried up?). Since this time, the Red Rock Corridor is going along with a Route 363 plan that will barely touch your district. The Red Rock Corridor has become nothing more than funding for a rejected Metro Transit Route 363, renamed the Red Rock Corridor. Why are you threatening support from your fiscal conservative base and all the bi-partisan constituents in your district who won't see the corridor reach them by the earliest estimation of 2040? There is already express bus routes, Metro Mobility, the Hastings Loop bus, and other forms of public transit in your district. 

For Representative Keith Franke (Only the questions that differ from the 4 above are repeated):1.) Before the election and even after you and Representative Jurgens have refused multiple times from multiple outlets to say whether or not you were for or against the Red Rock Corridor. In the final days of forming a transportation omnibus bill I see your name and Jurgen's on HF2385 to give $5,600,000 to the un-elected Metropolitan Council who will funnel it to the nightmare Red Rock Corridor. (Red Rock Corridor Faces Delays as 7 Facts Become Undeniable.) Money that would keep what's left of this terrible idea alive. Seeing that the corridor failed to meet the minimum requirement for the feds to fund the corridor the County planners had to ditch the millions wasted on the original plan. Their solution was to go to Metro Transit's (Service Improvement Plan) book and pick out a rejected route they had for Cottage Grove, fund it, and call it the Red Rock Corridor. (Red Rock Corridor Plan Falls Apart Now Wants to be Called Route 363).  With all the evidence showing the Red Rock Corridor is a terrible idea, what evidence do you have to justify putting your name on a bill to fund this bus line rather than a more affordable and a more utilized added lane or leave it to the professionals of Metro Transit? Consider the massive failure of Newport Transit Station, $6.45 million, No Riders, and No Surprise in your district.
3.) In the next district over from yours, former Representative  Denny McNamara (Republican) supported the Red Rock Corridor. It appeared to end his political career as he had filed to run for re-election; but for some reason found himself the day before the filing deadline handing the opportunity to Tony Jurgens (campaign backers dried up?). Since this time, the Red Rock Corridor has become nothing more than funding for a rejected Metro Transit Route 363, renamed the Red Rock Corridor. Why are you threatening support from your fiscal conservative base and all the bi-partisan constituents in your district who see this corridor is a failure and a burden to tax payers? There is already express bus routes, Metro Mobility, and other forms of public transit in your district. 

None of them responded. If they do, we'll update the article here.
-Matt Behning

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Common Sense Solution to Prevent Voter Fraud Makes it Through the Senate

This article is written by Susan Richardson of Woodbury about the Senate elections omnibus bill SenateFile514   (Senator  Kiffmeyer from Big Lake). The house version is not as far along as of the writing of this post, it is  HouseFile729  (Representative Fenton from Woodbury). Both bills will have to match before going to the Governor to be signed. 


-Matt Behning

See also the article by MN voter's Alliance Executive Director Andy Cilek in the Pioneer Press: 
http://www.twincities.com/2017/04/28/andy-cilek-provisional-ballots-will-improve-election-integrity-in-minnesota/



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Minnesota elections must be conducted with rigorous safety measures in place so Minnesotans can have confidence in the integrity of our election system.  The Senate elections omnibus bill is a major step forward in the right direction.

Voters are shocked and surprised when they learn the current election system provides no authority for blocking a known ineligible person from casting a ballot if the ineligible person swears they are allowed to vote. Even if election officials know with certainty that the person is a felon or non-citizen, the state is powerless to stop an ineligible person from casting an irretrievable ballot.

If a judge convicts me of a felony in July and removes my right to vote, I can enter a polling place in November and vote even if the record indicates “challenged-felony.” All I have to do is swear I’m eligible.

The Senate omnibus bill contains corrections to this and other critical flaws in election law. Provisional ballots allow the setting aside of a ballot inside a confidential envelope of a suspected ineligible person until voter eligibility can be verified. Unfortunately, Republican House members refused to hear this important proposed improvement to election law in the House.

Forty-seven states have provisional ballots and they are effective at ensuring the right to vote for every eligible person while enabling the state to protect election results from those whose votes must not be counted.

I am disappointed in the House Republican leadership’s failure to support these long overdue, effective and common sense improvements in our election laws. It’s time for Republicans in the House to stand united with Republicans in the Senate and support provisional ballots.
-Susan Richardson

Board of Directors MN Voters Alliance and Board of Directors South Washington Citizens for Progress