Minnesota Lawmakers File Lawsuit to Stop Certification of Election Results

Minnesota Lawmakers File Lawsuit to Stop Certification of Election Results
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon speaks during a test of voting machines in St. Louis Park, Minn., on Oct. 23, 2018. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber
Lawmakers in Minnesota on Monday filed a lawsuit to halt the certification of election results, alleging wrongdoing by Secretary of State Steve Simon.

Simon, a Democrat, “illegally altered Minnesota’s election laws,” state Republican Reps. Steve Drazkowski, Tim Miller, and Jeremy Munson said in a joint statement.

“His office issued unlawful consent decrees that greatly affected the rules that govern absentee ballots and who can assist people at the polls. To circumvent the Minnesota Legislature and unilaterally change election law is entirely unconstitutional. This abuse of power must be addressed,” they added.

The lawmakers are part of the New House Republican Caucus.

Jose Jimenez, co-founder of the MN Election Integrity Team, joined in the filing of the suit with the Minnesota Supreme Court, requesting a temporary restraining order be issued to stop the certification.

Jimenez said in a statement obtained by The Epoch Times that his team found that Dominion Voting Systems were used in at least 6 of 87 counties. They also determined that “many irregularities were witnessed at the polls and with the management of Absentee ballots by the Secretary of State at various county locations.”

Attached to the lawsuit were six affidavits from ballot-counting observers who said they witnessed irregularities.

Kathleen Hagen, one of the observers, said Denise Anderson, the director of elections for Rice County, told her that signatures were no longer required by orders from Simon. Anderson refused to answer further questions. Another, Nora Felton, said she saw in Dakota County a woman pulling a large pile of ballots from her purse.

County spokespersons didn’t respond to requests for comment.

A spokesperson for Simon told The Epoch Times via email that the office had seen the lawsuit “but absent any order to the contrary, we’re proceeding with the statewide canvass as planned.”

The state lawmakers said that Simon’s rule changes violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because they resulted in absentee, or mail-in, ballots being treated differently from county to county.

“Contrary to Steve Simon’s beliefs, only the Minnesota Legislature has the power to change election law. The secretary’s refusal to adhere to constitutional principles is an affront to free and fair elections. We intend to fix this mess,” they said.

Minnesota’s state canvassing board was scheduled Tuesday to certify the election results.

A voter talks to poll workers as he receives his ballot during early voting in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sept. 18, 2020. (Julio Cesar Chavez/Reuters)
A voter talks to poll workers as he receives his ballot during early voting in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sept. 18, 2020. (Julio Cesar Chavez/Reuters)

The board is made up of Simon and four judges that he appoints: two state Supreme Court justices, and two district court judges. The four judges currently on the board were all appointed to their positions by former Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.

Board members will review the results from each of the 87 county canvassing boards.

According to unofficial results, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden won Minnesota with 1.7 million votes, about 233,000 more than President Donald Trump.

A lawsuit filed earlier this year against Simon alleged a consent decree he agreed to with the Minnesota Alliance for Retired Americans Education Fund and some of its members that extended the deadline for mail-in ballots likely violated the Constitution.

An appeals court agreed, overturning a lower court’s decision.

The extension “likely violates Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution because the secretary extended the deadline for receipt of ballots without legislative authorization,” a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled.

State Rep. Eric Lucero, a Republican who filed the suit, said, “The court was clear: ‘There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution.’”

“Secretary of State Steve Simon’s decision earlier this year to agree to count un-postmarked ballots arriving up to a week after Election Day eroded confidence in our elections and opens the door to fraud and abuse,” he added.

The case is Carson v. Simon, cv-20-3139.

The panel ordered Simon and other election officials to separate all mail-in ballots received after the deadlines in case a court issues a ruling finding them “invalid or unlawfully counted.”

Simon said he would do so but that the state would count the ballots unless a court said not to count them. “We need to emphasize that there is no court ruling yet saying those ballots are invalid,” he said in a statement.