Break State Campaign Laws, Get a City Contract for Ranked Choice Voting

In today’s news about RCV comes a story that is reminiscent of Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s ties to Haliburton.

The St. Paul City Council is poised to give a $19K contract to Jeanne Massey of FairVote to educate the public in Ranked Choice Voting. The Saint Paul Better Ballot Campiagn, a Project of FairVote Minnesota, was found to have violated Minn. Stat. §211B.02.  They claimed in last minute Campaign material used to get RCV passed, that their measure was supported by the President of the United States! After being fined the maximum amount allowed by law, they now are looking to get a city contract to run the education effort!

This does not sit well with Chuck Repke, who filed the original suit along with Dan Dobson. He WRITES to the council: (the State Judges ruling is attached to his letter which can be downloaded HERE)

I have no problems with Ramsey County Elections Division doing the education, or with you contracting with a group that the public recognizes as being non-partisan such as the League of Women Voters to do education, but you can’t expect anyone to seriously think that an organization that has an agenda to promote this voting system to do a non-partisan job of education.

Worse than that let me remind you that in 2009 this organization violated Minnesota Campaign Practices law Stat. 211B.02 in the Saint Paul election and was fined $5,000.00 (the largest fine possible) for
their violation of the law.

From the order:

“Accordingly, the panel has concluded that the Respondent made knowingly false claims that the Minnesota DFL and the League of Women Voters “endorsed” the St. Paul ballot question and that it failed to obtain written permission from the national political figures before using their names as supporters of the ballot question, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 211B.02. The panel has concluded that these violations, which were reflected in approximately 40,000 pieces of campaign literature, were multiple and deliberate. They were made despite the clarity of the statutory prohibitions, and the Respondent remains completely unapologetic. The timing of these mailings made it difficult for opponents to respond before the election and created an unfair advantage”

And, you are seriously thinking of giving this organization $19,000.00 to do education and only $6,000.00 to the LWV.

Further, the contract lists Ms Massey as one of the two responsible parties for the grant. I would encourage you to read the court order from the 2009 case. Three times in the panels conclusion they state that they found Ms Massey’s testimony under oath “not credible.” How can you make the responsible party for $19,000.00 of tax payers money to educate voters on an election system the person who on three occasions was deemed to be “not credible” by a panel of judges concerning a related elections issue? 

Some valid points.  The City also looking to give a contract to the League of Women Voters St. Paul who advocated for RCV.

Often, people wonder about why groups would advocate for a voting system which has in practice shown to be a solution worse than the problem.  As they say, “follow the money”……..

Contracts can be downloaded HERE and HERE

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