Saturday, October 31, 2009

Instant Runoff Voting endorsed by WHO? Misleading mailers in St Paul

From No Bad Ballots latest on the campaign for instant runoff voting in St Paul, Minnesota:
BREAKING NEWS Complaint: Better Ballot campaign lies about support from the League of Woman Voters. Advocates for instant run-off voting have wrongly claimed to have the support of the Saint Paul or Minnesota chapters of the League of Woman Voters, according to a complaint filed today with the State of Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings board against the Better Ballot Campaign and Fair Vote Minnesota.Click here to read the news release.Click here to read the full complaint.

St Paul Locals are unhappy about being lied to - whether they like IRV or not:
"Even so, the public shouldn't be okay with what appears to be a significant and obvious misrepresentation." ~ a comment posted in the St Paul e-democracy forum.

St Paul Minnesota voters will vote this November 3rd on whether to adopt instant runoff voting.
The group Better Ballot Campaign has been claiming all sorts of endorsements for IRV on its mailers to voters. The problem, these mailers may violate the law because BBC didn't get written permission for at least groups portrayed as endorsing IRV. St Paul League of Women Voters has asked Better Ballots to correct their misleading mailer that wrongly claims LWV endorsement for the IRV issue that is on the Nov 3 ballot.

League of Women Voters to pro-IRV: Take our name off your lit
By City Hall Scoop on October 29, 2009

The co-presidents of the St. Paul League of Women Voters are asking instant-runoff voting supporters to "correct" an "error in their literature."

That lit would be mailers the Better Ballot Campaign has sent out that list the League under "endorsed by..." implying the League urges a vote of "yes" on Tuesday's ballot question of whether St. Paul should take up the alternate voting method.

"The League of Women Voters of St. Paul has no position on this issue," write Co-Presidents Sigrid Johnson and Phyllis Hollihan in a letter Johnson said she e-mailed to the PiPress editorial page.
So DFL activist Chuck Repke of No Bad Ballots filed an complaint about this:

No Bad Ballots Committee files campaign grievance
Paul Demko 10/30/09 ...Specifically at issue is a postcard mailed out by the St. Paul Better Ballot Campaign urging support for the change in voting systems. Among the individuals and organizations listed as backing the measure is the League of Women Voters of Minnesota and St. Paul.
Better Ballots tries to defend what they've done:

Fans, foes spar over instant-runoff voting decision in St. Paul
Pioneer Press Updated: 10/30/2009
The pro-IRV Better Ballot Campaign has mailed out literature claiming the "League of Women Voters of St. Paul and Minnesota" endorses their side.

On Thursday, the St. Paul league's co-presidents, Sigrid Johnson and Phyllis Hollihan, sent a public letter saying the St. Paul League has taken "no position" and asking the Better Ballot Campaign to correct its literature.

On Friday morning, the anti-IRV No Bad Ballots group filed a formal complaint with the state Office of Administrative Hearings, accusing the Better Ballot Campaign of knowingly making false statements.
Better Ballots can't claim an endorsement unless they have written permission to do so, according to Minnesota state law:

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.

If you look at the comments in the St Paul E-Democracy Forum you can see that no one likes to be tricked or misled in order to sell them something.

..."They have been asked to remove these erroneous, misleading, false claims
of support of Major Political Parties (in violation of Section 211B.02 of theMinnesota Statutes - State Campaign Laws) BUT THEY HAVE NOT. They CANNOT allege that a misunderstanding has culminated in this false claimof support of the St. Paul DFL.

They KNOW they lost at the 2009 CityConvention. They KNOW the DFL sample ballot does not endorse Vote Yes on the ballot question. When is this going to end? Maybe there needs to be another complaint and inquiry into the violation of State Campaign laws by BBC and itsemployees. Violations of many of our State Campaign Laws can be prosecuted ascrimes - this isn't merely a slap on the wrist. In addition, violations cancause a candidate/ballot question to be removed from a race or to Lose - evenif they have the votes to win. THIS IS SERIOUS STUFF !!!"

"Instant Run off Voting is a confusing, complicated voting system that if passed would do nothing to improve elections in Saint Paul. Free and fair elections are the hallmark of any democracy and voters need to know that their votes count and that voting for their candidate to win can only help that candidate, not hurt them. VOTE NO ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3rd" ~ No Bad Ballots group.
IF somehow the issue of adopting Instant Runoff Voting passes, it is ripe for court challenge.

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