Vote NOW for Westonka school board!

This school board election is one of the most important votes you will ever cast and will determine the curriculum and values taught to our students for years to come.

There is literally NO EXCUSE not to vote. You can vote any weekday between now and the official “election day” of November 2 by going to the school district offices (doesn’t matter what precinct you’re in) at 5902 Sunnyfield Rd. E, Minnetrista. Bring an ID with you because technically this is absentee voting, but it’s “no excuse absentee voting”. Between Oct. 26 and election day the process is a bit more simple and voters can feed their ballot directly into the voting machine intead of putting it in a sealed envelope to be processed by the absentee ballot board.

Challengers to the school board incumbents are:

Rachael Myers: https://www.facebook.com/RachaelMyersforWestonka email: rachm82@hotmail.com
Dr. Gregory Snyder: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100073424764260 email: greg@snyderemail.com
Kathleen Olesinski: https://www.facebook.com/Kathleen-Olesinski-for-Westonka-School-Board-108677431555264
Katie Holt: https://www.facebook.com/holt4westonka/

The above challengers are focused on education, not politics, and making sure our students get the skills they need to become productive adults in our communities. In my opinion any of them would be preferrable to the incumbents below. GET OUT AND VOTE!

Current school board incumbent candidates (running again) are:

Brian Carlson: Unable to locate candidate FB page or website at time of publishing
Loren Davis: Unable to locate candidate FB page or website at time of publishing
Gary Wollner: Unable to locate candidate FB page or website at time of publishing

Update: Westonka absentee ballot board will include election judges

Approximately an hour after yesterday’s blog post was published regarding the school board’s improper resolution appointing school employees to its ballot board, the school sent a letter to election judges inviting them to serve on the absentee ballot board for the school board election.

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.

Westonka school board violating MN election law

The Westonka school board is planning to appoint people to their absentee ballot board at their school board meeting scheduled for Monday, October 4, 2021, 7pm, 5905 Sunnyfield Road, in the Performing Arts Center, Minnetrista, MN.

The school board packet shows they are appointing only “deputy clerks” (five of them!) to their absentee ballot board, which is in charge of accepting and rejecting all the district’s absentee ballots in the upcoming school board election, for which absentee voting has already begun. Their resolution shows they intend to appoint five deputy clerks and no election judges to their ballot board.

Minnesota Statutes (203B.121 – see below) require that school districts establish an absentee ballot board that must consist of a sufficient number of election judges…” and the school district is either ignorant of Minnesota election law or has chosen to ignore it.

Chapter 203B.121 goes on to say that a ballot board “may” include deputy city clerks. That means a deputy city clerk, of which the city of Minnetrista has only one, not five, and her name is not on the list of persons to be appointed. There is simply no statutory provision for school districts to appoint school district employees, as the board is planning, to their absentee ballot board and arbitrarily call them “deputy clerks” to get around appointing election judges.

You won’t hear the incumbent school board candidates calling out this election law violation. Who wouldn’t want their school district friends in charge of the ballots?

If the Westonka school district wants the electorate to have confidence in the outcome of the school board election this is no way to go about it. If you care about fair elections and believe your school district should follow state election laws please attend the school board meeting Monday night and let your voice be heard.

203B.121 BALLOT BOARDS.
Subdivision 1.Establishment; applicable laws.

(a) The governing body of each county, municipality, and school district with responsibility to accept and reject absentee ballots must, by ordinance or resolution, establish a ballot board. The board must consist of a sufficient number of election judges trained in the handling of absentee ballots and appointed as provided in sections 204B.19 to 204B.22. The board may include deputy county auditors or deputy city clerks who have received training in the processing and counting of absentee ballots.

(b) Each jurisdiction must pay a reasonable compensation to each member of that jurisdiction’s ballot board for services rendered during an election.

(c) Except as otherwise provided by this section, all provisions of the Minnesota Election Law apply to a ballot board.