Minnesota Democrats are seeking to circumvent state law that requires mail-in ballots be delivered by Election Day. The plaintiffs in LaRose v. Simon include Robert LaRose, Teresa Maples, Mary Samson, Gary Severson, and Minnesota Alliance for Retired Americans Educational Fund, with Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon acting as defendant. The National Redistricting Foundation, which is supporting the plaintiffs, claims that the state's absentee voting restrictions "unjustifiably burden the voting rights of Minnesota voters."
They add that their request is especially urgent because of the coronavirus's impact on upcoming elections.
In 2018 alone, Minnesota discarded over 3,500 absentee ballots — 47% of all rejected ballots — simply because they arrived after the Election Day Receipt Deadline. As COVID-19 sweeps through the country with no clear end in sight, the reliance on absentee vote by mail is certain to increase. One plaintiff in the case, Rob LaRose of Waconia, attempted to vote by mail while attending college away from his home in 2016, only to receive notice weeks later that his vote was not counted. He fears he may be disenfranchised in the future as a result of the Election Day Receipt Deadline.
“Minnesota has an opportunity to act now — the state should take the necessary steps to ensure that voters aren’t faced with unnecessary hurdles and obstacles on the way to the ballot box,” said LaRose. “We don’t want to look back on this November’s election and realize that the state’s voting process kept Minnesotans from exercising their right to vote. It’s especially important to consider that there will be many who are voting by mail for the first time — they deserve every opportunity to stay safe while participating in our democracy.”
The Republican National Committee calls this lawsuit "a blatant attempt to severely weaken the integrity of the electoral process in Minnesota." They highlighted several problems that will arise should the Democrats win their case. For one, forcing the state to count ballots that arrive after Election Day will require county election offices to verify ballots for weeks after the election, "potentially delaying the outcome of the election and opening the door for fraud and unnecessary litigation."
"Democrats continue to try to redesign our entire election system mere months before November to fit their partisan agenda," RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel reacted. "We have an Election Day for a reason. A system that allows for troves of late-arriving ballots is ripe for fraud and weeks of prolonged litigation, and that does nothing but undermine Americans' confidence in our elections."
Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said the time to act is now.
"From ballot harvesting to eliminating deadlines to allow Democrats to 'find' ballots, it's imperative that we act now to prevent election interference and intimidation," Carnahan noted. "Once again, Democrats are attempting to try to win the election through the courts rather than on the ballot as they know they will be unable to defeat President Trump and our Republican candidates in November. This is why it's so imperative for us to join the Republican National Committee to intervene and prevent these liberal tactics."
Republicans have intervened more than a few times to protect the integrity of Minnesota's elections, as they highlighted in a recent press release.
- In March, the RNC and Republican Party of Minnesota intervened in two lawsuits to defend common-sense laws that have been enforced by officials from both parties in the past.
- The first suit sought to defend Minnesota’s Ballot Harvesting Ban, protecting voters from the large-scale harvesting of absentee ballots by political operatives.
- The second sought to defend Minnesota’s Voter Protection Law, which protects voters from attempts to unduly influence them when casting their ballot.
In fact, the RNC has called out election inconsistencies all across the country as of late. For instance, in May, McDaniel demanded an investigation into the Nevada Democratic Party's backroom deal to enact election changes. Meanwhile, in Washington, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been pushing her agenda to enact mass mail-in voting.