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Minnesota’s online voter registration site sees record numbers

Plus: body of missing Winona State student recovered; Prince siblings dispute claims by two people claiming to be heirs; could a sun storm hit Minnesota?; and more

Cue the usual cries of voter fraud. At MPR, Brian Bakst says, “Minnesota voters used an online registration site in record numbers as Tuesday’s deadline for advance sign-up arrived. Secretary of State Steve Simon’s office said that 73,478 voters signed up through the site in a 24-hour period on Monday. That was almost three times the prior one-day record for new or updated registrations, which was about 27,000.”

“Rigged,” he says? At the Strib, Jon Tevlin says, “Investigations over fraudulent or rigged elections have repeatedly found that they don’t happen. One study by a Loyola professor, for example, found 31 known cases of impersonation fraud among 5 million votes. [Doug Chapin, director of the Program for Excellence in Election Administration at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota] said the notion of widespread, coordinated national voter fraud is not even logical for several reasons. Voting is decentralized by state (31 of state governors are Republican), it’s done in public and it’s overseen by professionals and volunteers.” 

Body found. The AP says, “Authorities have recovered the body of a missing Winona State University student from the Mississippi River. Winona County Sheriff Ron Ganrude says divers recovered the body of 19-year-old Chukwudi Benjamin Onyeaghala of White Bear Lake from the river south of Winona on Tuesday morning. KAGE Radio reports the body was taken to the Olmsted County Medical Center in Rochester for an autopsy. Onyeaghala was last seen near the Winona State campus on Oct. 7.”

Acknowledged. MPR says, “Mike Tekeste received the 2016 Award for Excellence from the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department on Monday for helping save a woman’s life. Tekeste is the owner of Red Sea Market, a convenience store in downtown St. Paul. That’s where MPR News host Tom Crann met up with him earlier today. His shop seems to be a neighborhood hub in downtown St. Paul — and he knows most customers by name. Between selling lottery tickets, cigarettes and gum, he told Crann about the events of Aug. 9, when he saw a woman on the side of the Wabasha Street Bridge.”

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This is so shocking. The AP says, “Prince’s siblings say a woman and girl purported to be the singer’s niece and grandniece have no genetic connection to Prince and should not be named as heirs to his estate. Attorneys for Prince’s siblings and half-siblings argued in documents made public Tuesday that Brianna Nelson and Victoria Nelson aren’t Prince’s heirs as a matter of law, and a judge should deny their claims. Potential hearings have been set for November.”

Who said, “out of control health care costs”? Another AP story says, “UnitedHealth Group has hiked its 2016 earnings forecast again after its profit swelled 23 percent to nearly $2 billion in the third quarter, helped by gains both in and outside its core insurance business. The nation’s largest health insurer also voiced optimism about next year, when UnitedHealth will have a much smaller presence on the Affordable Care Act’s public exchanges. Shares of the insurer soared close to an all-time high Tuesday.”

Ed Morrissey, for the conservative HotAir website, is saying: “Last night, Survey USA released a new poll from the Congressional district that shows Paulsen up by double digits — and Trump down by a slightly larger amount in the same sample. Paulsen leads 49/38 with 13 percent undecided, which SUSA describes as ‘comfortably ahead’.  … That explains much about the overall Congressional race, too. Trump has actively distanced himself from the Republican Party, at times going to war with its leadership and with House Speaker Paul Ryan in particular. Voters have followed suit, and seem to be treating Trump as a sui generis candidate. Ticket-splitting is the natural result, especially among independent voters. If MN-03 is the canary in the coal mine, then House Republicans may not have a bad night on November 8th.”

Some Halloween costume ideas from Kara Nesvig at City Pages: “Minnesota Tinder guy. Create the Tinder window, then get a toy fish and pose with it. Swipe left.”

Still moving pretty well. The Forum News Service says, “A pregnant Kandiyohi County Jail inmate, briefly hospitalized at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar  for a labor scare, reportedly escaped out the door and out of the hospital Sunday, running down the street from authorities in her hospital gown. Stephanie Barbara Pederson, 26, was about to be released from the hospital and transported back to the jail, where she was being held pending court appearances in several felony, gross misdemeanor and misdemeanor criminal cases.”

What kind of Vikings season would it be without a DWI story? The PiPress story by Chris Thomasson says, “Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in May and pleaded guilty in August to a misdemeanor charge of careless driving, court records show. The Pioneer Press learned of the arrest Tuesday. In a statement, the Vikings said Edwards notified the team immediately of his arrest and that ‘he was significantly disciplined by the Vikings.’ The Vikings did not say what punishment Edwards incurred.”

Our Minnesota Twins couldn’t be further from October play-off excitement. But Mike Berardino of the PiPress collects some kind of recent thinking from new baseball boss Derek Falvey on building a winner.  Sample: “On pitching mechanics and the draft: ‘I think for each guy it’s a little bit of a sliding scale. It depends on the player, depends on the quality of talent, depends on what our scout feels about the player. I think there’s a lot of industry information out there about mechanics and deliveries and (American Sports Medicine Institute) and the work they’ve done. I think teams to some degree apply it differently.’” Well, that gives a guy plenty of wiggle room.

Are you prepared for the next solar apocalypse? Mike Mullen at City Pages writes, “ … the sort of sun storm we’re talking about is fairly rare: The last really big one hit in 1989, knocking out power for 6 million people across the Quebec province for nine hours. Major events such as that one are largely unstudied, because scientists didn’t have the tools to study them — and regular people didn’t notice that their electricity went out, because they didn’t have it in the first place. But the most likely place(s) in America to get whacked with the next one are Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which recently studied factors that contribute to elevated risk to American power grids. As northerly states, we’re closer to one of the planet’s magnetic poles; another factor increasing an area’s risk is what sort of rock it’s sitting on.” So maybe that’s why Cheeseheads are piling cans of cheap beer on top of themselves?