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cross-posted at MN Progressive Project. For non-Minnesota readers, the incumbent DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor Party) Secretary of State (SOS) Mark Ritchie isn't running for reelection, leaving an open seat in next year's election. DFLers currently hold all statewide offices, 5 of 8 congressional seats, and both houses of the legislature. SOS looks like their best chance for a win. Ritchie was first elected in the blue wave in 2006, and ran the 2008 Franken/Coleman recount, for which Republicans have hated him.

Well, "whoppers' implies something nasty, so let's give the benefit of the doubt, and say that maybe the MNGOP candidates for secretary of state (SOS) showed an unfortunate combination of bad memories with a lack of fact-checking.

This is following up on Big E's post about the DFL likely candidates for SOS appearing in Almanac. The hosts mentioned the MNGOP candidates had been on the prior week, and here it is:

So what did they get wrong? Trying to make a case against Democrats in general, Pat Garofalo, current state representative and habitual Twitter user, said "Gov. Dayton, first of all, tried to unionize day cares through executive orders." No, he didn't. He allowed the workers to vote on whether they want a union, the same choice that supposedly all workers have. The court decided he couldn't authorize that because state law forbade those workers from organizing. That's the law the legislature changed in the last session, so now by law they're allowed to organize if they so see fit. Whether you agree with the court or the governor on what his authority was at the time, to say he tried to unionize them is plain wrong. He allowed them to form a union if they want to. That's not at all the same thing.

Garofalo also said Mark Ritchie "illegally tried to manipulate the ballot" and left that statement hanging. Could mean anything. I'm guessing what he was referring to was the case last year where Ritchie used his authority as secretary of state to decide the language in a ballot question, namely the constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage and impose photo ID requirements for voting. Despite the law being pretty straightforward that deciding ballot language is the secretary of state's duty, a partisan majority decided 4-2 to just ignore that. Justice Alan Page's dissent struck me as a polite "are you people freaking kidding!?" Obviously that my characterization and opinion, but feel free to read it for yourself. What will be indisputable is Garofalo's comment was context-free. There was a separate case, the decision for which was released at the same time, brought against the state by the League of Women Voters, seeking to have the photo ID amendment removed from the ballot. Ritchie was named as defendant because it was about the ballot and he's chief election administrator. So technically he was the winner of the case, though not a terribly happy winner.

Another candidate, Kent Kaiser, formerly in the Secretary of State's office staff, twice made a funky claim. He said the reason Minnesota doesn't have electronic poll books is because Mark Ritchie was against them. Well, I guess that must have been a Mark Ritchie impersonator (maybe they should have checked his photo ID) trying to talk the Republican majorities in 2012 out of passing the photo ID amendment because he had something newer, which included photos to comfort the credulous folks who believe voter fraud is real and fixable with photo IDs, but it wouldn't disenfranchise voters because the onus to provide the photo is on the state rather than the voter, namely, electronic poll books. Having handed to them something that would have photos without the disenfranchisement, acceptable to both the SOS and the governor, naturally the Republicans jumped on it. Oh wait, I must be thinking of people who think voting is a right. Actually, the Republicans said no. Now they want to blame the DFL for stopping what up until now the Republicans blocked. Sounds like the health care reform debate, when Republicans discovered they could scare seniors into voting Republican by pretending to be the protectors of the same Medicare program they've always hated. That worked politically though, and I guess they still have that playbook.

I neglected to mention the other candidate, State Rep. Joyce Peppin. She actually came across as reasonable and honest. Clearly then, she hasn't a hope of winning the nomination. Maybe she could start demanding to see presidential candidates' birth certificates or something.

Originally posted to ericf on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 08:33 PM PDT.

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