State Rep. Dan Severson, R-Sauk Rapids, says that if he's elected Secretary of State, he'll do a better job of making sure military personnel overseas have their say in local elections.
During the 2008 elections, "military ballots were 16 times more likely to be rejected by local officials than other absentee ballots," Severson wrote on his Web site. Severson repeated the claim at a press conference on June 7 at the State Office Building.
Absentee ballots played a pivotal role in determining the outcome of the Senate election recount.
But Severson's claim is based on data that have since been corrected by the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank and the original source of this claim. In fact, the rejection rate for military ballots was quite a bit lower. Although the correct information is easily found by reading the revised report, the data remain incorrect on Severson's web site.
The data Severson cited was published in October of 2009 by the Center for the American Experiment, which got its data from an analysis published by the Heritage Foundation in July of 2009. The Center for the American Experiment did not list its sources.
But according to Hans von Spakovsky and Eric Eversole, authors of the Heritage Foundation report, they initially misread some important numbers and determined that military absentee ballots were 16 times more likely to be rejected than regular absentee ballots.
In March, they corrected their report and posted the accurate information on their web site.
"If the military voter in Minnesota cast his or her absentee ballot, that ballot was nearly two times more likely to be rejected by local election officials, as compared to other absentee voters statewide," the Heritage Foundation report now reads.
Severson's claim came from two reports that had the numbers wrong. In fact, military absentee ballots were two times more likely to be rejected than compared to regular absentee ballots - far less than Severson stated.
It's a false for Severson's claim.
Dan Severson for Secretary of State, accessed June 9, 2010
The Heritage Foundation, America's Military Voters: Re-enfranchising the
Disenfranchised, by Hans von Spakovsky and M. Eric Eversole, July 28, 2009. Updated March, 2010.
The Center for the American Experiment, No Longer a National Model: Fifteen Recommendations for Fixing Minnesota Election Law and Practice, by Kent Kaiser, October, 2009
Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota, Minnesota's Elections -- Transparent, Verifiable, and Accurate, Feb. 25, 2010
Moritz Law School, Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order for Judgment, accessed June 10, 2010
Minnesota Blue Book 2009-2010, Chapter 10: Minnesota Votes, accessed June 10, 2010
Interview, Dan Severson, June 10, 2010
Interview M. Eric Eversole, author of America's Military Voters: Re-enfranchising the Disenfranchised, June 10, 2010
Interview, Kent Kaiser, author of No Longer a National Model: Fifteen Recommendations for Fixing Minnesota Election Law and Practice, June 10, 2010
Interview, Kathy Bonnifield, Associate Director, Citizens for Election Integrity-Minnesota, June 10, 2010
In another sign that he's preparing for a 2012 run, Gov. Pawlenty created state PACs in New Hampshire and Iowa. The PACs allow him to raise money and give to state candidates. Pawlenty has a federal PAC but not every state allows him federal PACs to give to state candidates.
The move allows Pawlenty to help make Republican contacts in states that hold the nation's first caucuses and primary. Pawlenty has not ruled out a run for the White House in 2012.
Update: Here's a statement from the DNC's Hari Sevugan:
"It's nice that Tim Pawlenty has found a way to help politicians from other states who can help his political ambitions. Too bad he couldn't do the same for the families of Minnesota who he was elected to serve with his draconian budget cuts. It looks like if you want Tim Pawlenty to work for you these days, you need to live in Iowa or New Hampshire, not Minnesota."
Posted at 7:01 AM on June 16, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
President Obama gave an Oval Office address last night where he accused BP of recklessness when it comes to the oil spill.
He'll meet with BP officials today.
A poll shows that a majority of Americans disapprove of Obama's response to the spill.
New estimates show a higher amount of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann said BP shouldn't be "chumps" over the oil spill. Bachmann also criticized President Obama.
Democrats defeat GOP efforts to roll back the health mandate.
The EPA says the cost of the climate bill is less than the cost of a postage stamp a day.
DFL Sen. Al Franken is the subject of a new comic book.
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar, chair of the House Transportation Committee, has $50,000 invested in the transportation sector.
The AFL-CIO will meet today to consider endorsing a candidate for governor. Democrats Mark Dayton and Margaret Anderson Kelliher and I-P candidate Tom Horner will screen with the group. There's no guarantee the union will decide to endorse since its member unions are split between Kelliher and Dayton.
The Communications Workers back Kelliher.
DWIs surface for Teresa Collett, The GOP endorsed candidate for Congress in Minnesota's 4th District.
Paul Koering, an openly gay Republican state Senator, had dinner with a porn star. Koering is in a primary battle to keep his seat.
An NPR poll shows trouble for Democrats in battleground congressional districts.
But an AP poll shows bright spots for Democrats.
Under the Dome
Gov. Pawlenty named former state Rep. Phil Krinkie to the MnSCU Board of Trustees.
The Education Department rejects requests by two school districts to go to a 4 day school week.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
In another sign that he's preparing for a 2012 run, Gov. Pawlenty created state PACs in New Hampshire and Iowa. The PACs allow him to raise money and give to state candidates. Pawlenty has a federal PAC but not every state allows him to contribute through it.
Gov. Pawlenty is raising money in California thru Thursday.
Gov. Pawlenty's spokesman Brian McClung is leaving the governor's office to form his own public relations firm. A news release sent through the governor's office said McClung will direct MN Forward, a newly formed independent expenditure fund. The fund will be bankrolled by Minnesota job providers. The contacts on the news release from MN Forward head the Minnesota Business Partnership and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.
The Minnesota Business Partnership's Charlie Weaver says the fund will accept corporate contributions. It's the second such fund to take that action in light of a new Minnesota law that allows corporate spending on independent expenditures. Minnesota was forced to change its law after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations can spend money on independent expenditures like advertising and campaign literature. The court kept a ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates.
McClung's last day in the governor's office is Friday. He starts his new job on Monday.
DFL gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton cried foul today when the Minnesota AFL-CIO sent out a news release announcing its endorsement of Margaret Anderson Kelliher for governor.
The AFL-CIO says the release was a test sent out by mistake a few hours before the endorsement screening interviews were scheduled. During a speech to the Minnesota Pipe Trades Association before heading to his screening, Dayton said he had expected the process would be fair and open.
"It's disappointing to me not to be given a fair screening and a fair opportunity," Dayton said. "I've always been a strong friend and supporter of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, of the pipe fitters, and all of your members and the causes of the working men and women across this state throughout my career."
Here's the audio of the speech: Listen
Afterwards, Dayton said he was still going to his scheduled interview, and he dismissed the explanation that the news release was a mistake. He pointed out that Kelliher was quoted in the release, but no one had contacted him for a similar quote.
"I think it's very unfair," he said.
Kelliher addressed the Pipe Trades event a short time after Dayton. Following her speech, Kelliher told reporters she had not already been told of an AFL-CIO endorsement.
"I'm going to go earn the endorsement," Kelliher said.
Officials with the Minnesota AFL-CIO have decided not to endorse a candidate in the race for governor.
The labor organization announced the decision this afternoon after screening interviews with three candidates: DFLers Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Mark Dayton, as well as Independence Party candidate Tom Horner.
In a news release, Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson stressed that union members are united to defeat Republican candidate Tom Emmer.
"At every turn, Tom Emmer has opposed job creation, opposed investing in students, and opposed making health care affordable," Knutson wrote.
Emmer was invited to the screening but did not participate.