Andy Cilek and Kim Crockett complain that Minnesota’s voting system is an open invitation to fraud (“It’s clear that election reforms are needed,” Opinion Exchange, Nov. 25). And yet, in a year in which record turnout and COVID-19 challenged the system, and which prompted random audits in all counties, there were no indications that we experienced fraud (“Panel affirms Biden’s win in Minn.,” front page, Nov. 25). Crickets. I have to ask: If Trump had won, would these people be so quick to cry fraud? Somehow I doubt it. President-elect Joe Biden won in a free and fair election. Let’s move on.
Linda Russell, Minnetonka
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I read the commentary from the Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA) with interest. I’d like to ask the authors some questions:
1) What is your evidence that half of Minnesota voters believe the 2020 election was unclean? You cited none.
2) We all want fair elections, but what is your proof they were not fair this year? Other than the GOP-led disinformation campaigns, including the evidence-free lawsuit filed as the 2020 election in Minnesota was being certified, I’m aware of none.
3) You implied absentee ballot boards in all but two counties did not follow the state-mandated party balance rule, but again, where is your evidence? I served on the Minneapolis absentee ballot board and can confirm I sat across the table from a member of the opposing party every time we processed ballots. Election officials worked hard to maintain such balance. There were observers taking notes also.
4) You cite Secretary of State Steve Simon’s state court agreement to extend the ballot receipt deadline to Nov. 10 as an opening to fraud. Weren’t these ballots segregated via court order? Can you declare a single race that was affected by the very low number of such ballots? Reasonable people can disagree on the methods, but wasn’t it important to voter safety to make accommodations for voting in the face of the current pandemic?
5) Voter registration here requires a state photo ID with current address; a state photo ID with proof of current residence (bank statement or utility bill, for example); or the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number. If none of those are available, a registered voter in the same precinct can vouch, under penalty of perjury, that the person resides at the stated address. If election officials are doing their job, they’ll root out such corruption and make the perpetrators pay a heavy price. Are you saying they are not doing their job?
I’m all for an open, transparent audit of voting procedures followed by solid recommendations, as there is always much to learn from every election, especially the pandemic-driven 2020 election. But voter fraud is extremely rare in Minnesota and across the U.S. Given these vague accusations from the MVA, I can only conclude this GOP-front operation only wants to make voting more difficult under the guise of reducing voter fraud.
Daniel Nassif, Minneapolis
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Crockett and Cilek make the assumption that “half the population does not believe that the election was fair.” I would like to know where they got that statistic. If it is because nearly half the population who voted went for Trump, then their logic is flawed. There are likely many who voted for Trump and regret that he lost. But that does not mean that they all believe the election was flawed.
John Becker, Minneapolis
Trump and GOP have legal right to recounts, not a public tantrum
A Nov. 24 reader writes that he is unsure why there is such an outcry about the recent court challenges to the election given the impeachment hearings which, according to him, were proven unsupportable in the U.S. Senate. It’s worth noting that the GOP-controlled Senate voted against allowing any witnesses, which would have undoubtedly strengthened the case brought by the House, which was already strong. I watched in horror as lifelong, very capable public servants were harassed and threatened by the current administration for having the audacity to tell the truth to the best of their abilities. What I sadly learned from the impeachment hearings was that the Republican congressional members simply did not care what had actually happened — to know and then take action did not serve their political interests.
The reason that there is an outcry about the recent court challenges is that we are witnessing the same thing happening again. This time, both Republican and Democratic public officials are being harassed and threatened by the Trump administration for doing their jobs, and the GOP enablers really don’t care about doing the right thing. They know perfectly well that President-elect Joe Biden has legitimately won this election, but it doesn’t serve their political interests to acknowledge that truth.
President Donald Trump has every right to ask for a recount in a given state. He doesn’t have the right to scream fraud without providing a shred of evidence to the courts. He doesn’t have a right to try to strong-arm and harass the public servants who have worked tirelessly under extremely difficult conditions.
The only equivalents between the impeachment hearings and the current court challenges are that in both cases, the GOP leaders have had no interest in the actual facts, nonpartisan public servants trying to do their jobs have been harassed and threatened and the fabric that holds our country together has been further ripped apart by a president who is incapable of telling the truth and taking responsibility for his actions.
Elizabeth Erickson, Minneapolis
OPERATION WARP SPEED
Admit it: The plan worked
OK. You’ve never liked President Donald Trump. You never voted for him. You’re disappointed at the way his administration handled the coronavirus outbreak from day one. I agree. But one thing we should credit his administration for is Operation Warp Speed. We’re on our way to a vaccine (or more than one) that is going to beat this pandemic. And as difficult as it may be for you — and me — to admit, Trump’s administration got this effort going.
So let’s give them some credit for this. Let’s “go high” on this, as Michelle Obama suggests. Let’s acknowledge the Trump administration’s contribution here. Maybe it will convince some of his supporters that we’re not insensitive demagogues, that we can acknowledge good when we see good. That we’re above partisanship, that what’s good for America is good for all Americans.
I do think it’s important to recognize what’s right. So let’s do the right thing: Thank you, President Trump, for your efforts in finding a vaccine that will protect us all. At the same time, you, President Trump, must get out of the way in terms of realizing your efforts and let the incoming administration work with your people to ensure everyone has a chance to protect themselves for now and into the future.
We’re Americans one and all. And we have to stand together to meet this challenge and forthcoming ones. We can do this. Let’s.
Michael Fiala, Crystal
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Now that Operation Warp Speed has determined it will send 6.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to the states based on population, Minnesota should receive its first doses in mid-December. Health care workers and vulnerable populations will understandably be first in line (“States will split first 6M vaccines,” front page, Nov. 25). But now let’s get some specific reporting on Gov. Tim Walz’s and infectious disease Director Kris Ehresmann’s plans for exactly who those people will be. Then, who comes next, as “federal officials have said they expect to have 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines available by the end of the year.” Thanks.
John R. Priest, Minneapolis
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