Lawsuit filed against Olmsted County for absentee ballot review board appointment practices

The MVA says the county is using its employees to serve in these positions, and it's a conflict of interests when election judges are rejecting ballots.

Posted: Jul 31, 2020 6:56 PM

OLMSTED COUNTY, Minn. - The Minnesota Voters Alliance, the Republican Party of Minnesota, State Representative Duane Quam, and several election judges filed a petition for the Olmsted County District Court to order the County of Olmsted to change how it appoints members to the absentee ballot review board for the upcoming November elections.

The MVA believes the county is violating State statute 203B.121. In particular, the party balance requirement: "No more than half of the election judges in a precinct may be members of the same major political party unless the election board consists of an odd number of election judges, in which case the number of election judges who are members of the same major political party may be one more than half the number of election judges in that precinct."

The MVA says the county is using its employees to serve in these positions, and it's a conflict of interests when election judges are rejecting ballots.

"Minnesotans are good people, and they're very trusting people. From the people we've talked to, people don't even realize that the people counting all these ballots, the mail in ballots coming in, are people the legislature said could not accept and reject absentee ballots," Minnesota Voters Alliance executive director Andrew Cilek tells KIMT.

The MVA's website says it is "A nonpartisan organization focusing primarily on election integrity, research, voter education and advocacy. We seek to increase voter participation in the election process and raise public awareness of important issues related to elections."

The Minnesota Voters Alliance is filing similar lawsuits against the City of Minneapolis, the City of Duluth, and Ramsey County. The Minnesota Supreme Court ordered to consolidate these petitions, so the matter will be handled with the Ramsey County District Court Judge.

"We need to find ways to work together to have elections full of integrity and the Olmsted County Board and these staff members are law violators and they need to stop," says Erick Kaardal of Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson, P.A. , the attorney representing the MVA. "The Olmsted County Board should be ashamed of itself not to be able to follow fairly simple directions from the state legislature in respect to how the absentee ballot boards are to be appointed."

The Olmsted County Attorney's Office made the following statement to KIMT: "“We are aware that a lawsuit has been filed but have not yet been served with the paperwork. We cannot provide any further comment at this time.”

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 7596
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1247361769
Ramsey52421894
Dakota46758467
Anoka42679457
Washington27383290
Stearns22542224
St. Louis18112311
Scott17532133
Wright16399148
Olmsted13385102
Sherburne1198694
Carver1065648
Clay825492
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Crow Wing681094
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Goodhue483373
Douglas475080
Mower470733
Winona460851
Itasca458262
Isanti439564
McLeod428961
Morrison424461
Nobles408150
Beltrami407060
Steele397516
Polk388772
Becker386555
Lyon363953
Carlton352456
Freeborn346832
Pine335023
Nicollet330945
Mille Lacs311554
Brown307940
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Todd285532
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Meeker263042
Waseca237723
Martin234932
Roseau210721
Wabasha20783
Hubbard195941
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Renville182446
Redwood176338
Houston174016
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Faribault154219
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Watonwan13569
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Pope11296
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Reported Deaths: 6038
CountyCasesDeaths
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Scott20284245
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Woodbury15228230
Johnson1460485
Dubuque13495211
Dallas1128199
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Story1070548
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Webster514594
Muscatine4876106
Marshall486276
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Buena Vista426040
Jasper420672
Plymouth402881
Lee381356
Marion365976
Jones300857
Henry294037
Bremer287760
Carroll286752
Boone268334
Crawford267840
Benton258555
Washington257151
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232251
Jackson225242
Clay216527
Kossuth216266
Tama211671
Delaware210942
Winneshiek197835
Page194522
Buchanan193033
Cedar192023
Hardin187344
Fayette186443
Wright185740
Hamilton181751
Harrison179973
Clayton171057
Butler165935
Madison164519
Mills163324
Floyd162842
Cherokee159338
Lyon158841
Poweshiek156936
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Hancock150034
Iowa149824
Winnebago144331
Cass139254
Calhoun138813
Grundy137133
Emmet135841
Jefferson133535
Shelby131437
Sac130820
Union129935
Louisa129749
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Unassigned9530
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Osceola79016
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