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Appeal filed in voters' rights case

An appeal regarding a federal lawsuit involving voting rights.

The case names the state and Crow Wing County as defendants. In August, the lawsuit — a challenge to same-day registration from two conservative groups and seven individuals — was dismissed by a federal judge.

The group — Minnesota Voters Alliance; Minnesota Freedom Council; Sondra Erickson; Montgomery Jensen; Ron Kaus; Jodi Lyn Nelson; Sharon Stene, as the guardian and friend for James Stene; Richard M. Smisson; and Kathleen M. Olson; recently filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

In dismissing the suit, the federal judge ruled no federal laws were broken and the groups failed to unearth misconduct or fully pursue their case in state courts. On the same day of the judge’s decision, the plaintiffs reported the were filing an appeal.

Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan and Auditor-Treasurer Laureen Borden, representatives of Ramsey County, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, were all named in the lawsuit.

Crow Wing and Ramsey counties were named as having people cast ballots in the 2010 general election who were not eligible to vote. Four people, who had their voting rights eliminated with their guardianships, voted in the 2010 election in Crow Wing County.

In the summary of the appeal, the group reports the government verifies pre-election registrants before they vote, but does not do the same for Election Day registrants.

“Further, despite state constitutional prohibitions of individuals mentally incapacitated from voting, courts grant the right without discerning if the incapacitated person knows the nature and effect of his or her vote.”

The group requested 20 minutes for oral argument.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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