Westonka improper resolution set to undermine integrity of school board election

How to win an election in Minnetrista? Have your friends accept and reject all the absentee ballots and exclude statutorily required election judges from the process. Done.

Despite being informed on Monday of Minnesota’s election law requirements for establishing absentee ballot boards (203B.121) for school board elections, the Westonka school board voted unanimously at it’s Monday, October 4 meeting to ignore the law and appointed five school employees to the ballot board instead of election judges.

These five people are school employees, who are accountable to the school board for their employment, and will be accepting and rejecting all the absentee ballots (likely a majority of ballots cast) for the incumbent school board candidates that currently fund their jobs in Westonka schools. Somehow that conflict of interest appears just fine with the school board and the incumbent school board candidates running in the November election.

The video below is my testimony to the school board Monday evening.

The school board resolution and list of appointments that passed Monday is below.

“This matter, and how it is handled, will either show the district voters they can have confidence in the school board election outcome, or they cannot.”

Shannon Bruce

An election judge that was trained in the duties of an absentee ballot board in the 2020 election in Minnetrista spoke as well. She had requested to be on the ballot board but was not appointed. No reason given.

How do we expect our children, who attend Westonka schools, to abide by the law when their school leaders thumb their nose at election law and blatantly violate it with impunity for their own benefit.

I thought it was fair to give the school board a chance to do the right thing. However, they’ve made a choice that will undermine the confidence Westonka district voters have in the outcome of the school board election. It would’ve been a simple thing to appoint election judges and put the matter to rest.

Thank you, Westonka school board, for proliferating distrust in our government institutions. And thank you as well to the incumbent candidates on the school board for making sure the votes are counted by your friends. And we wonder why we can’t get good people to run for office anymore.

Westonka election judge and absentee ballot board appointments

The full recorded video of the school board meeting can be found here.

5 thoughts on “Westonka improper resolution set to undermine integrity of school board election

  1. EVEN IF the clerks have a bias, and EVEN IF they’re willing to break election law by acting on that bias by accepting or rejecting absentee ballots in accordance with that bias, the clerks have no way of knowing how an absentee ballot has been completed. They deliver the return envelopes, unopened, to the ballot board.

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    1. The problem is that absentee ballots could be accepted regardless of whether the signatures match or the ID#s match. It’s easy to get a bunch of absentee ballots, fill them out and return them without the matching information. Without party balanced election judge oversight there is no assurance that ANYONE is looking to make sure the ballots are legitimate.

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  2. Please explain how it’s a conflict of interest for school employees to be appointed as clerks. They’ll still be school employees after the election, even if all 3 incumbents up for re-election are replaced with challengers. Are you suggesting that the employees are in fear of losing their jobs if 3 of the 7 School Board members are replaced? Are you suggesting that the school employees would not be “friendly” with new board members? You do presume, perhaps inaccurately, that they’re friends of the current Board members.

    I, for one, don’t see an incentive for the clerks to favor any candidate over another. What I do see and appreciate is that the state legislature passed laws that allow for cost savings and efficient use of resources. The school district offices are a polling location, so the laws allow for people who are already at that location to process absentee ballots at that location. Since the costs of absentee voting are to be paid by the school district, I appreciate that additional staff does not have to be hired and paid.

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    1. There is an inherent employer-employee bias that shouldn’t exist on a ballot board. Don’t think that needs further explanation. The law does not say anything about allowing people that work at a polling location to be on a ballot board. The law requires that ballot boards “must be comprised” of election judges. There is no getting around that requirement…legally.

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