Anti-IRV group calls claims of Obama, DFL endorsement ‘evil’
By Paul Demko 11/2/09 The Minnesota Independent
The knives are out in the battle over instant-runoff voting (IRV) in St. Paul. The No Bad Ballots Committee has filed a second complaint alleging nefarious campaign practices by supporters of a ballot measure that would adopt the new voting system.
At issue is a mailing that the Saint Paul Better Ballot Campaign, which is running the pro-IRV campaign, has sent out to potential voters. It claims a wide array of supporters for the ballot measure, from President Obama to the Star Tribune to the Minnesota DFL party.
But Chuck Repke, co-chair of the No Bad Ballots Committee, charges that the claims are patently false. Under state election law, a campaign cannot claim the support of an individual unless that person has provided written permission. Clearly President Obama, Repke notes, hasn’t taken time out from his schedule to provide written support for the local ballot initiative.
The complaint is that St Paul Better Ballot Campaign violated this Minnesota state law: 211B.02 FALSE CLAIM OF SUPPORT.A person or candidate may not knowingly make, directly or indirectly, a false claim stating or implying that a candidate or ballot question has the support or endorsement of a major political party or party unit or of an organization. A person or candidate may not state in written campaign material that the candidate or ballot question has the support or endorsement of an individual without first getting written permission from the individual to do so.
“I was surprised that Santa Claus and Jesus Christ weren’t on the list,” Repke says. “You can’t be more deceptive than to claim the endorsement of the President of the United States when you don’t have it. I’m just flabbergasted.”Fortunately we finally have a case where the laws and circumstances allow someone to stand up to the deceptive claims of endorsements where none were given. Just one more case FOR instant runoff voting that proves to be false. So many claims about instant runoff voting have proven inaccurate, or just plain wrong, that it pays to verify any. No wonder Brad Friedman calls instant runoff voting a virus.
Repke is particularly peeved that the pro-IRV group is claiming DFL support. He notes that at the St. Paul DFL convention in March, a resolution to support the ballot measure was explicitly voted down by party activists. And in a town dominated by Democrats, the party’s purported backing could carry weight with voters.
“They cannot claim DFL endorsement,” Repke says. “These people know that. They were at the convention. I saw them there. They were standing next to me.”
But Repke is unimpressed by suggestions that any campaign violations were committed out of innocence rather than malice. He believes the alleged infractions should be vigorously prosecuted.
“Karl Rove wouldn’t pull crap like this,” he says. “I’ve never seen a more evil campaign than this and I’ve done politics for 30-some odd years in this town.”
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