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Phyllis Kahn cries foul when many Somali absentee voters register with the same mail center address

KSTP-TV news reports that state Rep. Phyllis Kahn’s election campaign wants an investigation of possible voter fraud, as many new Somali voters have registered to vote using the same address — that of a mail center in Minneapolis — as they use the state’s absentee ballot system for the Aug. 12 primary election.

Kahn, who has served 21 terms in the Legislature, is in the midst of a contentious reelection challenge in District 60B in Minneapolis from Somali activist Mohamud Noor. 

The story says:

According to voter registration records from the Secretary of State’s office and the DFL Voter Activation Network more than 140 people used 419 Cedar Avenue South in Minneapolis as their home address, when they registered to vote.

The address is for what’s called Cedar Mailbox Center.

Kahn’s campaign manager, Brian Rice, says:

“I think there is a coordinated effort to use this address to bring voters into the DFL primary election on August 12, that’s what I think is going on. It’s wrong, it violates Minnesota Law, it’s a crime.”

The mail center’s employees, though, say Somali immigrants have been using the mail center as their address for mail for many years.

Hennepin County election officials say they’re investigating the allegations.

Noor told the station that many Somalis are energized by his campaign and he says his campaign has done nothing wrong:

“I categorically deny any assertion of wrongdoing on the part of my campaign, and I welcome an investigation into the baseless allegations raised by Brian Rice. Allegations of fraud are serious and must be investigated thoroughly. My campaign is committed to a transparent and inclusive process for all voters and I am extremely proud of the work done by all of my campaign’s volunteers to further the goal of a free, fair, and safe election for everyone in the district. My campaign has focused on voter turnout and education; because of the high rate of participation by East Africans in elections, we have carried out no voter registration campaigns, contrary to the implications of Mr. Rice.”

Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 06/30/2014 - 10:35 am.

    Mr Kimball

    One side says the law has been broken, the other says it hasn’t. Wouldn’t it be relevant to tell us what the law in question says? No disrespect intended, but as written it’s just another pointless “he-said/he-said” piece.

    • Submitted by Justin Adams on 06/30/2014 - 01:45 pm.

      It’s just perjury…

      The alleged crime is perjury.

      The Oath on the Minnesota Voter Registration Application (also the oath affirmed by signing into a pre-registered roster book) reads, in part:

      “I certify that I maintain residence at the address given on the registration form.”

      The Kahn campaign is alleging that these voters do not in fact reside (which, for the purpose of MN election law generally means “sleep at”) at the mail center.

      The penalty for the crime is not more than 5 years or $10,000 or both.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 06/30/2014 - 11:34 am.

    We’re gonna need a lot of eggs to service all the faces needing coating on this one.

  3. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 06/30/2014 - 01:13 pm.


    Something to note here is that whether or not fraud is occurring, the issue raised here is not addressed by voter ID. Voter ID checks who people are, not where they live, or any other qualification they might have. As long as those folks are who they say they are, it matters not the slightest where they live or say they live.

  4. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 06/30/2014 - 02:47 pm.

    It seems that the reporting here leaves a lot to be desired.

    First, one can understand why voters applying for absentee ballots would have to supply their mailing address on the form; that’s where the ballot would be sent.

    But my guess (where’s the reporting on this?!?) is that Rice’s problem with these 140 people is that they somehow list their residence as a mail center. That can’t be, and he is totally justified in raising a stink. Does anyone know if the absentee ballot application form even envisions, and provides for writing down, both a mailing address and “where one sleeps”?

    Maybe this confusion has a lot to do with a failure of the application form. Which doesn’t envision a lot of new immigrants who are reluctant to receive mail where they actually live, and therefore assumes that mailing address and sleeping place are the same.

    Now THAT is interesting: why wouldn’t these East Africans (interesting that Noor would refer to them not as New Americans, but as East Africans) want to receive their ballots at the place where they live?

    • Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 07/01/2014 - 02:16 pm.

      It’s dreadful reporting

      Brian Rice made a charge of a coordinated campaign to commit fraud, with no evidence, and KSTP passed that along without checking into it. Reporting doesn’t get sloppier than than. The registration form doesn’t explain about registering using your current address rather than your permanent one, and a new voter could reasonably assume they should use their permanent address. That mistake is all that happened here. Once again, the claims of voter fraud are just made up.

  5. Submitted by Pat Fleetham on 06/30/2014 - 09:01 pm.

    Time for a Post Office Box ~ ? ~

    I guess it is time for me to get a P O Box @ 419 Cedar Avenue,
    Pat F
    Phillips Neighborhood

  6. Submitted by Mike Downing on 06/30/2014 - 09:48 pm.


    This is absolutely hilarious that a Democrat would be concerned about voting irregularities when our SOS Mark Ritchie said there were no voting irregularities in our fine state! What’s next, Phyliss Kahn suggesting we have Voter ID that verifies voter eligibility for a specific voting district?! 🙂

  7. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 07/01/2014 - 02:12 pm.

    I this is fraud

    then why didn’t they vote on election day, when their ballots would get mixed in with everyone else’s? They voted absentee, and on the first day, when there’s a month and a half to detect and stop the fraud. That’s a peculiar way to commit fraud.

  8. Submitted by Mike Tierney on 07/01/2014 - 04:41 pm.

    But how could this be?

    How on earth could this happen to Phyllis Kahn? Claims of voter fraud by a candidate against a candidate supported by a large number of black voters and claims of an unfair process because a few folks live at the same mailbox. Since Secretary of State Ritchie says there is no issue with DFL voter fraud in Minnesota shouldn’t Rep Kahn accept that and go back to pulling GOP candidates door hangers off of door knobs and let her opponent have no disenfranchisement due to her claims of voter fraud? I mean heck isn’t that vote suppression? I can’t believe Phyllis Kahn supports the same kind of voter suppression efforts that are used against others that live 140 to an address. I wonder do you suppose some of these folks lived in Coates at one time, swirling on stripper poles? Looks to me Rep Kahn as if you are being out Democratted in your own DFL stronghold.

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