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MN secretary of state ‘troubled’ by Trump election commission’s sweeping request for voter information

Plus: Minnesota is not No. 1 in voter turnout; crime dips to lowest rate in 50 years; Twin Cities suburbs aren’t sprawling like they once were; and more.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

Is this part of that “smaller government” thing we’re always hearing about? Erin Gulden of the Strib reports, “Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said Thursday that he’s ‘troubled’ by a sweeping request from President Donald Trump’s Election Integrity Commission for detailed information about every voter in all 50 states, and he made no guarantee he will comply with it. Simon said in an interview that his office is reviewing legal issues raised by the request for full voter roll data, including the name, address, party affiliation, last four digits of Social Security numbers and voting history back to 2006 of potentially every voter in every state.”

With the travel ban temporarily in effect the AP says, “Attorneys in the Twin Cities are preparing for the impact of the Trump administration’s revised travel ban, which requires new visa applicants from six mostly Muslim nations to have a close family or business tie to the U.S. St. Paul immigration attorney Kara Lynum is organizing an effort to monitor international flights to ensure no one is wrongfully denied entry when the ban takes effect … .”

Colorado? Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Pioneer Press breaks it to us: “The federal government came out with a new, 226-page report that surveyed on nearly everything you may want to know about the 2016 election. But here’s the one thing you need to know: It does NOT show Minnesota as No. 1 in voting turnout. … Nope, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s 2016 Election Administration and Voting Survey, Minnesota cannot wave the No. 1 foam finger around for its showing last year. Colorado takes the No. 1 spot for turnout as a percentage of voting age population, the report says.” Of course, they’re all stoned.

Important (but routinely ignored): Andy Mannix and C.J. Sinner of the Star Tribune report: “Crime across Minnesota dipped in 2016, hitting its lowest statewide rate in 50 years. The numbers, released by state police Thursday, show that a long trend of diminishing crime rates is continuing in Minnesota — even in urban areas — despite high-profile incidents of violence that have fueled concerns that crime could be on the rise.” Oddly, this is not the story the NRA is selling.

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Good news, IMHO. Eric Roper of the Strib writes, “The Twin Cities suburbs aren’t sprawling like they were before the recession. Instead, the seven-county metro area is growing taller and filling in, with new apartments and redevelopment of older buildings in more urban areas, according to a new Metropolitan Council aerial land-use survey.”

Riham Feshir of MPR reports, “One year after his death, the city where Philando Castile was shot will no longer be patrolled by the department responsible for the fatal shooting. The controversial switch in police services stems from the tragic police shooting that caused weeks of protests and led to what is believed to be the first-ever trial against a Minnesota law enforcement officer for a fatal shooting. … The city of St. Anthony initially intended to negotiate a new contract with Falcon Heights. But the new terms included a request to shift all liability to Falcon Heights, meaning Falcon Heights would be responsible for the actions of St. Anthony police officers if they happen within those borders.” You don’t need Earl Gray to tell you that’s a bad deal.

The AP says, “Jurors have found a Florida police chief not guilty of culpable negligence in the death of a former Minnesota woman who was accidentally shot during a citizens academy “shoot/don’t shoot” exercise. News outlets report that Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis was acquitted on Thursday. Authorities say former officer Lee Coel mistakenly shot and killed 73-year-old Mary Knowlton during a role-playing scenario last summer. Prosecutors had argued that Lewis, as Coel’s boss, was partially responsible.” Since when does responsibility matter?