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Monday, August 14, 2006

Mary Kiffmeyer Is a Very Unprofessional politician

From the Mark Ritchie campaign:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 14, 2006
Contact: James Haggar 612-229-1962
info@markritchie06.net
Minneapolis, MN – Mark Ritchie, the DFL endorsed candidate for Minnesota Secretary of State, released the following statement today: Minnesota voters may be denied the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice because Mary Kiffmeyer personally accepted Independence Party State House candidate Brian Smith's paperwork at the Secretary of State’s Office rather than referring him to Hennepin County Election’s Office as required by state statute. Mr. Smith is now appealing to the Minnesota Supreme Court in order to secure his right to be on the primary election ballot on September 12th.

This is not the first time a candidate has been thrown off the ballot due to Kiffmeyer's actions. In 2002, Green Party candidate Jason Samuels was removed from the ballot in Minneapolis, because he used incorrect information posted on the Secretary of State's website to determine his residency. In a concurring opinion in this case, Melendez v O'Connor, Supreme Court Justice Gilbert placed the blame squarely on Secretary Kiffmeyer's shoulders. He wrote: "The Secretary of State committed nonfeasance in not having accurate and timely redistricting information for candidates to rely on before the filing closed… The Secretary of State, as the chief election official of the state, held herself out to be an expert yet produced material misinformation… [T]his mishap occurred in large part because of the Secretary of State's actions and inactions."

These instances are just two examples that demonstrate how Mary Kiffmeyer has put partisanship above professionalism in the administration of elections. Instead of staffing the Elections Division with experienced civil servants, she has filled it with political appointees who don't have the skills or background necessary to do the job. The result is that Minnesota voters are not as well served as they should be or as they have been under previous Secretaries of State, both Democrats and Republicans.

It is time to stop playing politics with our elections. As Secretary of State, I will ensure that nonpartisanship is returned to the office. Minnesota's voters and political candidates will always be able to trust that decisions are based upon the law with an eye toward the best interest of Minnesota voters and that the information given to them is accurate.

Mark Ritchie, the founder of the national voter registration program NOVEMBER 2, is the DFL endorsed candidate for Secretary of State. Go to http://www.markritchie06.net for more information.

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This type of unprofessional behavior is a pattern for Mary Kiffmeyer.

This article really shows more unprofessional conduct by Kent Kaiser, her spokesman.

In the first message, Kaiser's assistant Shaun Denham writes to Strom, "David, Kent asked me to send you the citations on providing things of value for voter registration. 42 USC1973 Let me know if you have any other questions."

Five minutes later, Strom writes back: "I don't see any reference to providing things of value being prohibited. Could you show me? DS."

Denham replies: "It is under subchapter c," which he goes on to quote.

Besides conflicting with the claims of both Strom and Kaiser about how the matter first came to the attention of the secretary of state's office, the e-mail exchange may leave some other questions as well.

Could it possibly matter, for instance, from a legal or political standpoint whether it was Strom or Kaiser who raised the subject first? Yes. The same section of the federal code that Strom accused City Pages of "probably" violating has this to say as well: "No person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, shall...intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for urging or aiding any person to vote or attempt to vote." More plainly put, it is illegal to try to bully people into ceasing their lawful efforts to register people to vote. Statutes such as this seem rarely to be enforced, but the law remains the law.

Contacted about the seeming discrepancy in their memories, Strom and Kaiser both said they had forgotten speaking to each other about the matter before the press release was issued--even though their talk had occurred less than a week earlier, and had provided Strom with the statutory language that he subsequently quoted in his media alert.

In a cover note attached to the e-mail exchange, Kaiser wrote to reporter Paul Demko, "I had forgotten about a phone call that David Strom originally had made to inquire about the law--I passed along that inquiry to my assistant, Shaun Denham, and you can see the e-mail correspondence relevant to answering that inquiry."

Strom likewise told City Pages that he initiated the contact with the SoS's office, though his memory seemed less certain than Kaiser's: "I have to tell you this was a one-off thing for me. I think I called over there [the secretary of state's office] to confirm the law, because obviously I'm not a lawyer. I read the thing and it looked to me like there was a problem there. I called over, and said what's the law? I forget whether it was he [Kaiser] or someone else there that sent me something....

"I called him to get his advice on it, because after all he works for the secretary of state. At the end of the day, I don't know all the ins and outs of this stuff. He was a pretty natural guy to go to." But when reporter Mike Mosedale reminded Strom that he initially claimed the secretary of state's office must have learned of his complaint from the press release, he answered this way: "I might have called him up. He sure heard about it. I don't remember the specifics of it, to be perfectly blunt. This has not been the most significant moment in my life."


When you meet Kiffmeyer, she comes across as a pleasant person. Her actions in office have been appalling.

City Pages has reported on many of her greatest hits.

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