County Interferes with Haven Township's Decision to Hand Tabulate the Aug 9, 2022 Primary Election

County Interferes with Haven Township's Decision to Hand Tabulate the Aug 9, 2022 Primary Election
Photo by Luis Quintero on Unsplash

On the evening of Monday, August 15, 2022, a complaint was read to the Haven Township Board during their meeting.

Prior to the August 9, 2022 Primary Election, two Sherburne County townships, Haven Township and Baldwin Township, passed resolutions relating to hand-tabulating votes. But both did not hand tabulate after all.

Why not?

Today we focus on Haven Township, which appears to have been interfered with by the County despite the Townships resolution to both machine tabulate AND hand tabulate.

Very interesting because they would immediately be able to compare both methods and be transparent with the 369 voters in that township, hopefully demonstrating that the election was above board and that the machine tally was accurate and equivalent to the hand tally.

Since it was decided to hand tabulate, follow through on the resolution should absolutely be encouraged by the people of that township who are in favor of transparency of the process and results.

What follows focuses on an attendee-read complaint during yesterday’s August 15, 2022 meeting in Haven Township, regarding the failure to follow the resolution passed by the township board.

The complaint regards election laws that Haven Township appears to have violated on Primary Election day, and reads in part as follows:

On July 18, 2022 Haven Township Board passed a motion to hand-tabulate the races as well as use the Dominion voting system, so they could compare the number of votes for each candidate between the two methods to see if the results were equal. The head election judge, who had been hand-tabulating the individual races since the 1970s, agreed to the board’s directive. We all want to make sure Haven Township is accurate on all accounts…

On August 9, 2022, Primary Election Day, I arrived at town hall to observe the hand-tabulating process, but the doors were locked.

Minnesota Statute 206.86 subd.3, “…open to the public… under the direction of the official in charge of elections in each municipality where an electronic voting system is used…” subd 4., “…automatic tabulating equipment… The results… available to the public…”

Minnesota Statute 204C.19 Subd.1 “…hours for voting have ended and all voting has concluded… shall immediately county the votes cast at the election… at the polling place and shall be public…”

However, I witness no hand-tabulating of the races which violated the decision of the board. The Election Judge Guide of 2022 even explains the Hand-Count p.49-52. Since it is in the current Guide it must be an option. In addition, Head Election Judge denied me the right to view the unofficial race totals.

Minnesota Statute 206.58 clearly defines townships’ authority to either use or refuse the electronic voting system and the use of the machines was conditional on hand-counting (hand-tabulating) the votes in each race for comparision.

206.58 subd.1 MUNICIPALITIES. “The governing body of a municipality, at a regular meeting or…special meeting called for the purpose, may provide for the use of an electronic voting system…” subd3 “…The governing body of the municipality shall give approval before an electronic voting system may be… used in the municipality under the authority of this section.”

Upon the completion of this statement, the Chairman explained and the Head Election Judge later confirmed, that the County Auditor and County Attorney contacted the township attorney, chair of township board, and head election judge. In a conference call, and maybe an email, the County forbade the Township from exercising its statutory authority.

Is this interference going to be investigated by the County Sheriff who defends the people’s liberties?

A note on open meeting transparency:

By Zoom the author joined the in-progress meeting in person meeting in Haven but the host did not admit the author on Zoom. However one attendee noticed that the author had entered the waiting room in the Zoom client but that the town board supervisor chose not to admit him. Therefore even though the meeting was recorded the recording was not publicized or available and may have been deleted, a shame because the public deserves the right to know the truth at a relevant time so as to be able to react. Those in attendance were witness to the events to help the public learn the series of events leading to this pivotal moment where hand-tallying was decided upon and then interfered with in the lowest level of local government, the townships.