Motion PASSED to Request Minnesota Secretary of State to Conduct a Forensic Audit in Crow Wing County

"When are we going to get a definitive answer on this stuff?" someone asked more than an hour into the Crow Wing County Regular County Board Meeting at the Historic Courthouse on December 28, 2021.

Moments later, Chair Steve Barrows said, "Think that will be coming here," and gave the floor to County Commissioner for District 4 Rosemary Franzen, who said:

"I think restoring people's faith in our elections is an important thing and I think we need to support that. I don't want us to just walk away from this concern. But, our county attorney (Don Ryan) has told us that we can't do anything about this. Minnesota State Statute MS204B.40 says that we have to keep these for 22 months but we can't open them, but the Secretary of State (Steve Simon) can. I think Ms. Dillon had a good thought. I would like all the citizens to have faith in the integrity of our elections. And I would like to offer a motion to direct staff to bring a resolution to the next meeting asking the Secretary of State to very strongly consider authorizing a request for a forensic audit to ensure the integrity of Crow Wing County's elections for 2020 and for all future elections."

The motion was then successfully passed to request the Secretary of State to conduct a forensic audit in Crow Wing County.

The staff was directed by the Chair Steve Barrows to "bring us a resolution at the next meeting, requesting the Secretary of State to look into, or considering, or whatever their process is, to conduct a forensic audit in Crow Wing County."

After brief applause the Chair went on to thank the citizens, who'd come that day and the previous four consecutive meetings, civilly and respectfully, to request a full forensic audit of Crow Wing County's 2020 election. These same people had also worked together to bring analyst Seth Keshel to speak at Searching for Truth at the Brainerd Exchange on December 9th where well over 300 people attended, many  from the local area. Before Mr. Keshel spoke, Rick Weible and Susan Shogren Smith detailed Minnesota's 2020 election timeline in the context of publicly accessible voter rolls and histories (blended from several dates into a database) and the state's current election related statutes, demonstrating as yet unanswered questions in how the process unfolded—in particular the mail-in ballot aspects—relative to Minnesota’s election laws. (View the slides from the first presentation here.)

One remedy to these questions could be a forensic audit which examines the machines, voting equipment, election databases, ballots and other procedures to show the people that nothing went awry in the 2020 election in a year with a record number of mail-in ballots and which is seeing anamolies arise in a citizen-led canvas of the county.

As a starting point, citizens in Crow Wing County sent a letter on same to the commissioners. Then, on October 26th, 2021 at the County Board Meeting citizen of Crow County Pastor Ben Davis asked formally for the audit.

Many waited for the commissioners to respond and expressed disappointment that none of the commissioners attended the event at the Brainerd Exchange. However, the motion passed yesterday could be an important step toward Minnesota’s first forensic audit of the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, Minnesotans are learning that the statutes on the books seem to impede their county commissioners from entering into an investigation on elections run in their own county without first receiving the go-ahead from the Secretary of State. Indeed, Minnesota Statute 204B.40 was referenced by Rosemary Franzen for District 4 when she offered the motion.

With that motion passed, which other of Minnesota’s 87 counties will ask the same of Steve Simon, Minnesota’s Secretary of State? What will he do once asked? Will there be follow through to restore faith in elections?

Want to attend future meetings in person to hear about progress on the resolution? County Board meetings are held the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month beginning at 9:00 AM in the County Board Room located on the 3rd floor of the Historic Courthouse, 326 Laurel St, Brainerd.

If you can't get involved directly, please subscribe for updates as the story develops in Crow Wing County and throughout the state of Minnesota.

Crow Wing County Regular County Board Meeting, December 28th, 2021

County Board

Crow Wing County Meetings

December 28, 2021 Meeting Video

December 28, 2021 Meeting Video (YouTube)

2021 Minnesota Statues


Searching for Truth at the Brainerd Exchange, December 9th, 2021

Rick Weible and Susan Shogren Smith - local leaders, 74 Slides

Seth Keshel - national speaker in 46 states, 46 slides

3+ hour Livestream of 'Searching for Truth' featuring Rick Weible and Susan Shogren Smith and Seth Keshel

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