Friday, November 13, 2009

St Paul: Judge rules instant runoff voting campaign should go on trial

A judge ruled that there was probable cause that the St Paul Better Ballots Campaign broke the law when sending out endorsement claims in a campaign mailer promoting instant runoff voting. St Paul DFL activist Chuck Repke filed two separate complaints about the last minute mailers that likely affected the outcome of the election. The IRV ballot measure won by only 1%. The misleading mailer may have given the pro IRV group the 1% they needed to barely win.

St. Paul Politics/Judge rules instant-runoff campaign should go on trial
Vote-no group accuses vote-yes group of lying about endorsements

11/08/2009 A judge ruled Friday that there is probably cause to believe an allegation the campaign behind the successful instant-runoff voting ballot question in St. Paul broke state laws by claiming endorsements of President Barack Obama, the state Democratic Party and the St. Paul League of Women Voters.

The ruling by Administrative Law Judge Kathleen Sheehy sends the matter to a three-judge panel, which will hear arguments similar to a trial.
Chuck Repke, a St. Paul activist who filed a complaint shortly before the election with the state Office of Administrative Hearings, has another take. "This campaign won by lying about it and I think they knew it," he said.

Repke, the leader of the vote-no No Bad Ballots group, accused the Better Ballot Campaign of knowingly making false statements on pre-election mailings that claimed the endorsements of Obama, the state Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and the St. Paul League of Women Voters.

State law says candidate literature cannot carry endorsements of someone without the expressed written consent of purported endorser, and Repke said the Better Ballot group lacked such permission — at least, as it applied specifically to Tuesday's St. Paul ballot.

MN: Court documents from that Friday hearing:
St Paul Better Ballots can't claim an endorsement unless they have written permission to do so, according to 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
St Paul Better Ballots was specifically asked to quit claiming the endorsement of St Paul League of Women Voters, but the pro IRV group ignored that request.
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

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