Ramsey County elections manager criticized for plan to speak on voting amendment

Joe Mansky, the elections manager in Ramsey County, has been attending meetings around the state explaining what might happen if the voting amendment is approved in November.

Now he’s being criticized by some St. Paul Republicans who say he’s taking an advocate’s role.

The voting amendment, if approved, would require voters to produce a government-issued ID before casting a ballot. It would also make other changes to the state’s voting mechanism, likely changing same-day registration and creating a provisional vote apparatus.

Last week, Mansky was scheduled to attend an event held  by a group opposing the amendment, His Works United, a coalition of African-American churches in the metro area.

And that galled Greg Copeland, chairman of the St. Paul Republican City Committee, who sent emails calling for Mansky to step down because of “ethics violations.”

Copeland asked in the email to county board members and activists:

How can we possibly trust the man who is supposed to oversee the fair and accurate counting of the votes on the Voter ID Amendment when he is out campaigning against it?

There’s clearly a conflict of interest here. Mansky cannot be campaigning against a ballot initiative and yet be responsible for impartiality administering Ramsey County elections.

Mansky didn’t attend the event, and the Pioneer Press reports that Ramsey County Manager Heather Worthington wrote to county board members that Mansky thought the rally was a community meeting, but it apparently later became a “vote no” rally.

Both the organizers and the opponents “mischaracterized” Mansky’s role, she said.

“He agreed to attend the meeting to provide factual information, but not to take a position for or against the amendment, because the county board has not taken a formal position on this ballot measure,” she wrote.

The paper said Worthington has asked Mansky to refrain from speaking at future public events related to the amendment to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Chris Farmer-Lies on 09/18/2012 - 01:33 pm.

    All this really highlights is a growing chasm, not between Democrats and Republicans or liberalism and conservatism, but between conservative Republicans and reality. There is frankly no way for even a halfway competent elections official to talk about this amendment without making it sound like poorly-conceived nonsense. This is not due to bias on their part, but the fact that the Voter ID amendment is completely indefensible unless you lie about it.

    Honest people can’t even talk about it in a neutral way without making it sound bad, because it is objectively bad.

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