By Matthew Vadum
An election integrity group filed a legal complaint under the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) against Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon for failing to remove duplicate names from the state’s voter roll as federal law requires.
An analysis by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), which filed the complaint (pdf), found 586 duplicate registrants, meaning the same person has been registered twice. HAVA requires states to implement a computerized statewide voter registration list that is “accurate and updated regularly” where “duplicate names are eliminated from the computerized list.”
HAVA was signed by President George W. Bush in October 2002. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the statute created a new federal agency, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, to serve as a clearinghouse for election administration information; provided funding to states to improve election administration and replace outdated voting systems; and created minimum standards for states to follow in several key areas of election administration.
“This is the first time a voter list maintenance complaint has been filed under HAVA,” said PILF President J. Christian Adams.
“This is an innovative approach to clean voter rolls and improve election integrity. PILF is leading the way in cutting-edge legal strategy to protect free and fair elections. This complaint will result in removing the duplicate registrants from Minnesota’s voter roll.”
PILF, a nonprofit, describes itself as “the nation’s only public interest law firm dedicated wholly to election integrity.” PILF “exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections.” The group states that it has brought lawsuits and won victories in Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and across the United States.
In the complaint, PILF is seeking a hearing before the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) in St. Paul. PILF’s attorney in the case is Charlotte Davis.
Specifically, PILF seeks an order compelling Simon, a Democrat, “to immediately and thoroughly investigate the duplicated registration records identified by the Foundation and remove or merge confirmed duplicated records from the official list of eligible voters.”
PILF also seeks an order “to implement and follow a reasonable and effective list maintenance program to cure the violations identified herein and bring the state’s voter registration list into compliance with” federal law.
Simon was criticized by Republicans in late 2020 for saying claims that fraud affected the outcome of that year’s presidential election was “foolish and irresponsible,” as local media reported.
Simon told State Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, a Republican who herself was previously Minnesota secretary of state, by letter that the election was fraud-free and was a “tremendous success” that resulted from an “unprecedented effort” by government officials to administer the election as the pandemic raged. Kiffmeyer had said there were “anecdotal reports of irregular election activity, questions on software, equipment malfunctions, and other concerns during this year’s election.”