No Evidence of 'Coordinated Effort' of Voter Registration Fraud, Mpls. Address Invalid

Updated: 07/10/2014 10:10 PM
Created: 07/10/2014 7:43 PM
By: Brandi Powell

Thursday brought an end to controversy surrounding voter registration in a race for the State House. Mohamud Noor is challenging incumbent Phyllis Kahn in the DFL primary in District 60B, located in Minneapolis.

After a hearing Thursday afternoon, Hennepin County officials are saying nobody can register from a certain Minneapolis address, which they found is indeed commercial.

By law, you have to register to vote using your home address, not a P.O. Box. The 419 Cedar Avenue South address has been under scrutiny.

In late June, Brian Rice, attorney for the Phyllis Kahn Volunteer Committee, filed a petition to Hennepin County alleging voter registration fraud.

"I think there is a coordinated effort to use this address, to bring voters into the DFL primary election on Aug. 12. That's what I think is going on," Rice said on June 27, the same day he filed the petition.

After a full investigation, Ginny Gelms, elections manager for Hennepin County says, "There are 141 registrations at that address. Only 16 of those registrations were submitted in 2014."

Hennepin County election officials say they did not find evidence of a "coordinated effort" of voter registration fraud, in part because the methods of registration varied.

"In this case, if they were just attempting to change their mailing address it changed their voter registration and it probably shouldn't have," Gelms said.

"At the time I believed it. Today, I've got a better explanation of what happened, Rice said.

"Knowing what I knew on June 27 I've got no regrets about getting that petition filed," Rice said.

Omar Jamal, a leader in Minnesota's Somali American community said, "There's got to be some accountability. He adds, "You don't file allegations and then later say ‘oh geez, I made some mistakes, I'm going to take it back.’"

"I think Brian Rice and Phyllis Kahn owe an apology to the Somali community," Jamal said.

Two ballots were cast using the 419 Cedar Ave. S. address. Both have been rejected.

The 16 voters who registered at that address in 2014 will have the opportunity to re-register with their home address, and vote in the precinct where they live.

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