Hinderaker at his pearl clutching, fainting couch finest
It has take me a bit to get to this one, but a reader sent me a link to a post by John Hinderaker at Powerline about voter fraud, or so he claims. He says that Secretary of State Steve Simon “refuses to follow the law.”
A suit for a temporary restraining order was brought in Hennepin, Ramsey, and St. Louis Counties (gee, I wonder why those counties?), and consolidated in Ramsey County. The suits were brought in the closing days before the election by, who else, Erick Kaardal.
The issue concerns persons who are under a disability to vote, primarily felons who are not off paper yet (still on parole) or persons under guardianship who have had their right to vote taken away by a court supervising the guardianship, or judged incompetent by a court.
Those conditions will (usually) be flagged in the voter rolls for challenge.
The difficulty arises if there is an error in the challenge databases, because it is out of date, misspells a persons name, etc. In such a case, an election judge will interview the individual, and if the voter signs a statement, under oath, that they are off paper, or released from the voting disability under the guardianship, or other conditions of incompetency, s/he gets a ballot. If you lie under oath, it’s perjury.
If it were up to Erick, or John, these people would not get the chance to exercise their constitutional franchise. They call it “self-certification,” and you would think the process is new.
But it’s not.
Well, a Ramsey County judge just denied Erick’s application for a TRO, and undoubtedly dashed Johns’s hopes and dreams in the process. The decision at the link, runs over twenty pages, but the stuff discussing the voter challenges is just the first half-dozen pages or so, so don’t be put off. It’s a good read. Really.
Steve Simon is following the law; maybe John and Erick just don’t understand it.
o O o
Update: Now that the story has been up a while and I’ve had a chance to attend to a few things, I thought I would provide an update with a brief quotation to the opinion:
That the [challenge] statutes designate a registered voter as “challenged,” not “ineligible” as advanced by Petitioners, makes sense for three reasons.
First, it acknowledges the constitutional right of citizens to vote as being paramount.
Second, it implicitly recognizes the potential for mistakes to be made in the collecting, reporting and transmitting of data—e.g. a name may have been misspelled, a date of birth entered incorrectly, or a person misidentified. Thus a registered voter may mistakenly be identified on the polling place roster as challenged when in fact he/she is eligible to vote.
Third, even if a registered voter had been correctly identified as being ineligible on the date the records were transmitted, the person’s status may have changed between the date the record was sent to the Secretary of State and Election Day. Petitioners erroneously assert that the records transmitted to the Secretary of State reflect the person’s status on Election Day. There is simply no basis for this assumption. The data is only valid as of the date it was sent and does not take into account any changes in status between the date the information was sent and Election Day. In the intervening time a person may have completed his/her sentence, their rights may have been restored, they may have been deemed competent by a court or they may have been granted citizenship. Unless they are allowed to come to the polls to certify that as of the date of the election they are eligible, they would be precluded from exercising their constitutional right to vote.
Further update: There are several states that permit felons to vote as soon as they are released from prison; if you aren’t behind bars, you can vote. A couple even permit felons to vote while incarcerated. Of course, they have to vote absentee.
We could prevent a lot of Erick and John’s foolishness by a adopting a law that says if you are free to walk into a polling place, you can vote.
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