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Group that supported IRV in St. Paul fined for deceptive endorsements

The group that supported ranked voting in St. Paul has been fined $5,000 for making false claims of endorsements.

A ballot measure on Instant Runoff Voting passed by a slim margin in St. Paul Nov. 4, and the ranked-voting method is scheduled to go into effect for the 2011 city elections.

But three administrative law judges determined that the St. Paul Better Ballot Campaign deliberately made false claims of endorsement by certain people and groups, reports the Star Tribune.

The administrative law judges are Kathleen Sheehy, Cheryl LeClair-Sommer and Barbara Neilson.

In its literature, the Better Ballot group claimed endorsements from President Obama, Sen. John McCain and the League of Women Voters.

Attorney Jay Benanav, who represented the group, told the paper he was disappointed by the ruling:

"It's an unfortunate, technical violation," he said. Still, he added, it doesn't change the outcome that IRV will be implemented in 2011.

Chuck Repke, co-chair of the group that opposed the ballot measure and filed the complaint about the endorsements said:

"In a city that prides itself on the quality of our campaigns, it is beyond disappointing that these groups resorted to using a deception like this on an issue so important to the future of St. Paul. Unfortunately, it will not be sent to the county attorney for prosecution."

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