Election lawsuit targets ineligible voters

Critics of Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and his oversight of state election law have filed a federal lawsuit aimed at tightening the enforcement of voter-eligibility requirements.

The Minnesota Voters Alliance, the Minnesota Freedom Council and several individuals, contend that election officials have not been following the eligibility criteria detailed in the state constitution. They claim there are still unanswered questions about tens of thousands of people whose votes were counted in 2008 and 2010, when statewide recounts were needed to decide key races. During a news conference today to announce the lawsuit, attorney Erick Kaardal said ballots cast by ineligible voters are “poisoning the pool.”

“The Emmer recount contest was flawed, because there was no process after the ballots are counted of these ineligible voters in the election contest of separating out the ineligible voters’ votes from those that were eligible,” Kaardal said. “This system is designed to fail.”

State Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Erickson lost a recount in 2008. She ran again in 2010 and won. But Erickson said questions remain about some of the votes cast in her House district four years ago and about the eligibility of some people who registered at the polls.

“I want to be a part of this lawsuit and ensure that our constitution is honored, and that the secretary of state’s office is also honoring a responsibility they have to verify those registrations,” Erickson said.

A spokeswoman for Mark Ritchie said the Secretary of State’s office was reviewing the lawsuit but did not plan to comment on the pending litigation.

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