Press Release: Ramsey County Ordered to Show Cause in Absentee Ballot Lawsuit – Hearing Date Set

Ramsey County Ordered to Show Cause in Commissioner Candidate’s Lawsuit on Absentee Ballot Handling
Hearing Date Set: August 7th at 11:00 AM

St. Paul – Dan McGrath, a candidate for county commissioner in Ramsey County’s 2nd Commissioner District on July 23rd, announced that he has joined a lawsuit with the Minnesota Voters Alliance, to compel errant elections officials in Ramsey County to follow the law as written when handling absentee ballots. The lawsuit takes the form of a petition for writ of Mandamus, which is essentially an order to perform an official duty correctly.

District Court Judge Thomas Gilligan has executed an “Alternative Writ of Mandamus” against Ramsey County, commanding the respondent to show cause why the County should not be required to comply with the petitioners’ writ. A special term of the Court has been scheduled for August 7th at 11:00 AM to hear arguments.

McGrath is a member of the MVA and has a long history of working for integrity in Minnesota’s elections. So-called ballot boards are supposed to be comprised of citizen election judges of different political parties to help ensure fairness, but the lawsuit says Ramsey County isn’t doing that.

“I don’t know what makes some bureaucrats think they can ignore the statutes and make up their own rules,” McGrath said. “A clean election process that follows the law with citizen oversight and transparency is crucial for voter confidence in the outcomes.”

McGrath is no stranger to election integrity initiatives. As a non-profit director, his research into illegal voting led to a record number of voter fraud convictions between 2009 and 2011. He has been a leading advocate for requiring identification to vote, has initiated winning lawsuits in the Minnesota and United States Supreme Courts and played a significant role in a number of changes to Minnesota’s election laws that have been enacted. McGrath is the founder of Election Integrity Watch, which encourages citizen involvement in upholding fair and lawful elections.

The petitioners claim that the County’s procedure for establishing absentee ballot boards is in conflict with Minnesota law requiring the ballot boards, which act to determine the validity of absentee ballots, be made up of a certain number of election judges from different major political parties.

Erick Kaardal of Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson, PA is representing the plaintiffs in the case. If granted by the Court, the writ will then compel the county to comply with state statutes.

By law, local governments are only allowed to supplement staff members on the ballot boards when the lists of available election judges appointed by the major political parties are exhausted, but in Ramsey County, according to the lawsuit, those lists are largely ignored and the process for accepting and rejecting of absentee ballot envelopes is instead being done by county bureaucrats who are not disclosing their political party affiliations.

The petition for the writ also asserts that since county bureaucrats are not disclosing their affiliations, another law requiring that each absentee ballot be examined by at least two judges of different major political parties is also being ignored.

Court Documents

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