A Minnesota watchdog group that advocates for what it calls traditional values called Monday for an investigation into alleged voting irregularities that it says can be remedied by eliminating same-day voter registration and requiring citizens to show photo IDs before voting.
At a news conference, Minnesota Majority president Jeff Davis said the group is filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice contending that Secretary of State Mark Ritchie had failed to verify voter registrations as required by federal law.
The group is also seeking records from the Secretary of State's Office and county officials under the state's Data Practices Act on registration procedures, such as verification postcards returned as "undeliverable" and voters who registered by having someone vouch for them.
Ritchie spokesman John Aiken said the Secretary of State's Office will forward the information sought by Minnesota Majority. As for charges that the office failed to properly verify voters, Aiken said that officials "just don't think that's true."
Davis said that Minnesota Majority is organizing an online petition, which can be signed by citizens at ElectionIntegrityPetition.com, to bring the issue to the attention of public officials.
Everyone legally eligible to vote should be allowed to do so, he said, but eligibility for everyone should be checked at least 30 days before they vote and verified on Election Day.
Volunteers with Minnesota Majority have found what the group deems voting irregularities after going through registration lists supplied by the state, Davis said. Those irregularities include duplicate records, vacant voting addresses, incomplete registration forms and voters who may have voted more than once.
Last month, Ritchie charged the group with intimidating voters by making phone calls seeking information. Davis called that baseless.
Davis said that he didn't believe stricter registration procedures would necessarily depress Minnesota's traditionally high voter turnout. He added that the proposed reforms have nothing to do with the pending recount in the U.S. Senate race between Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and DFLer Al Franken, except to "underscore why this is important."
Kevin Duchschere • 651-292-0164