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Minnesota Supreme Court says secretary of state can withhold some voter data

The chambers of the Minnesota Supreme Court were closed.
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
The chambers of the Minnesota Supreme Court
The Associated Press reports: “The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the secretary of state can withhold some voter information from a conservative election watchdog group. In a 5-2 decision, the high court reversed a lower court ruling that favored the Minnesota Voters Alliance. That group sued to obtain data on millions of voters that Secretary of State Steve Simon’s office contends should be kept private.”

In the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Carrigan Miller writes: “Sleep Number will furlough nearly 40 percent of its employees, or as many as 1,790 people, the company announced Wednesday. The furloughs are in response to financial hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. … Minneapolis-based Sleep Number has closed the majority of its 611 retail stores in keeping with state orders closing non-essential businesses; it has also largely stopped making home deliveries of its mattresses.”

Reports KSTP-TV’s Richard Reeve:The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) says traffic volume in the Twin Cities has dropped 47%. Statewide, the number of cars on the roads has dropped in half. But authorities say there is a frightening flip side. ‘Speed is a huge issue, and people driving in a reckless or careless manner,’ says OTS Director Mike Hanson. The result: Traffic fatalities are up, even though there are fewer vehicles on the roads.

This also from the AP, “The union representing employees at a Smithfield pork processing plant in South Dakota said workers were induced to report to work through company bonuses as a rash of coronavirus infections broke out at the facility. The Sioux Falls, S.D., plant, which employees about 2,800 people in the state’s largest city, has emerged as a hot spot of infections, accounting for at least 1 in 5 confirmed cases in South Dakota. Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says over 80 employees have tested positive according to data from Tuesday.”

In the Star Tribune, Tim Harlow says, “Twin Cities transit agencies are using slower times brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic to tackle a long list of needed maintenance and to accelerate major capital projects. Besides keeping buses, trains and platforms clean, Metro Transit is remodeling a north suburban transit station. The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) is bringing a deteriorating bus garage into a ‘State of Good Repair.’ SouthWest Transit is finishing a garage expansion and facility improvement.”

In the West Central Tribune, Tom Cherveny says, “Tim Mattheisen likes to joke that he has a ‘few bags of groceries under this belt,’ having started working at the Do-Mat’s Family Foods store in Benson in June 1960 and becoming its owner on April 1, 1972. ‘Nothing like this. Nothing even close to this. This is the wildest I’ve ever seen,’ said Mattheisen of what the last few weeks in the store have been like. Sales have soared to record levels at grocery stores throughout west central Minnesota as people have stocked up in response to stay-at-home orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘A snowstorm on steroids’ is how Brett Almich, of Almich’s Market in Granite Falls and Clara City, initially described the surge in sales.”

At Inc., Kevin Ryan reports, “High demand for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) has led to important changes limiting the size of the payouts for some small business owners. While small business owners across America line up to get their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans — a process that has been a bit chaotic —the Treasury Department has touted the EIDL as a stopgap option. Small businesses that apply for EIDLs can request an advance of up to $10,000. Now, there are some caveats. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Massachusetts District Office announced in a bulletin on April 6 that, nationwide, the SBA has decided to implement a $1,000 cap per employee on the advance, up to a maximum of $10,000. So a business with three employees, for example, would only be eligible to receive $3,000 up front, as opposed to the originally stated $10,000.”

Also for the AP, Todd Richmond writes: “The Legislature’s finance committee would have carte-blanche power to reduce state spending as part of a sweeping bill Wisconsin Republicans have proposed to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signaled in an interview that he would veto the bill if Republicans don’t remove the language. That would delay other benefits in the bill, including eliminating the waiting period for unemployment checks and suspending interest on property taxes.”

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by BK Anderson on 04/09/2020 - 08:25 am.

    Another attempt at a (likely unconstitutional) power grab by the conservative movement in WI. A hallmark of fascism is contempt for democratic rules and entrenchment of its power once that power has been obtained.

    Of course, with a completely partisan rightwing state supreme court to back their every move (ala the Pandemic Election just forced on the state), WI Repubs likely can pull whatever they like, relying on their state-wide gerrymander and endless election-gaming to keep them in power.

    • Submitted by Michael Qualy on 04/09/2020 - 09:44 am.

      A Power Grab?
      Wisconsin Statewide Offices Democrat 5 Republican 0
      State Senate 19 Rep-14 Dem
      State House 63 Rep -36 Dem
      Fed Senate 1 Rep- 1 Dem
      Fed House 5 Rep – 3 Dem

      It seems as if Rep control Senate and House, Governor is Dem. Balance of power is equal.

      Elections have consequences.

      Courts decide differences, overlooked by FEDERAL SUPREME COURT.

      The Governor tried to use dictatorial powers he did not have, the legislature brought a lawsuit and won. The three legged stool worked in Wisconsin.

      Executive, Legislative, Judicial.

      What more can you ask,
      (except for everything to go YOUR way with no oversight)

      The system worked.

      • Submitted by BK Anderson on 04/09/2020 - 10:50 am.

        Well, the (Dem) governor used a law granting him extraordinary power in an (admitted) emergency, the (Repub) legislature brought a lawsuit and the (Repub-controlled) supreme court agreed with the Repub legislature. Not sure that shows the three legged stool “worked” in WI.

        The bigger question is why you approve of forcing an election to be held in the midst of an acknowledged pandemic, unnecessarily putting voters health at risk? Any why you applaud Repub efforts to do so.

  2. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/09/2020 - 11:43 am.

    The Republican Party, in the upper Midwest and nationally, is so desperate to suppress real voting numbers in any election that they will insist on jeopardizing voters’ health to force a primary during a pandemic. As they did in Wisconsin yesterday.

    In Minnesota, the GOP is insisting that there be no accommodation for the pandemic in our voting this November–not likely to be at all controlled by November with its peak perhaps in July: no voting by mail, absolutely.

    And the GOP-affiliated group that lost a court battle yesterday, on demanding tons of private voter information? The party and its friends continue to allege voter fraud, when in reality all they want is to diminish the numbers of Democrats who vote, by putting up barriers all over the place. So tiresome and so unimaginative, as they repeat their game state by state, same rules, same fake goals.

    Boring!

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 04/10/2020 - 09:00 am.

      I’m not sure that the word “boring” adequately condemns a deliberate nationwide scheme to suppress voting by Dem demographics. What we are dealing with here is an American fascist movement that is seeking to entrench itself in power through anti-democratic means.

      Reform is impossible absent the political destruction of the current (democracy-hating) Repub party.

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