The first three of several legal complaints have been filed against Minnesota county auditors who failed to remove duplicate voter registrations from the state system.
With the assistance of the Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC), the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a nationwide election integrity nonprofit, filed complaints against Nicollet County, Hennepin County, and Dakota County this week for failing to comply with the law in removing duplicate names from the Minnesota Statewide Voter Registration Service (SVRS).
According to the first complaint, Nicollet County duplicated four voter registrations without removing their previous entry. One of those registrants is a “mentally ill” and “dangerous” individual who was allegedly able to vote twice in the 2020 election.
“Damian Kingbird is a career criminal who has been adjudicated mentally ill and dangerous, and civilly committed to the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter,” the complaint reads. “His reported crimes include making terroristic threats, sexual assault, and even sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl.”
The SVRS allegedly contains two listings, “Damain Kingbird” and “Damian Kingbird,” with the same address and date of birth. Both of his votes were by absentee ballot, according to a press release.
“It is alarming that a career criminal like Damian Kingbird had the ability to vote twice in the 2020 election,” Public Interest Legal Foundation President J. Christian Adams said in a statement. “He only had that opportunity because Minnesota election officials were not removing duplicate registrations as required by federal law.”
UMLC senior trial counsel James Dickey told Alpha News that both this complaint and other impending complaints are being filed against the county auditors because the Secretary of State’s Office denied responsibility for removing voter registration duplicates in a previous case.
A complaint filed in May against Secretary of State Steve Simon said there are 586 duplicate registrations on Minnesota’s voter rolls.
In response to the complaint, Simon’s office said it does not have the “authority to modify counties’ voter records.” The secretary is required to implement procedures for removing duplicates, but the actual work of removing duplicates falls on the counties, his office said.
Dickey, however, believes that the office’s argument contradicts the Minnesota Statutes.
“The fact that the secretary can have ‘procedures’ for eliminating duplicates does not mean the secretary can avoid the responsibility of performing that duty at the state level,” he said.
Nonetheless, Dickey and the Public Interest Legal Foundation are now taking their case to the individual counties.
They also filed complaints against Hennepin County and Dakota County this week, which allegedly have 334 and 73 duplicate registrations, respectively. Hennepin County has the most duplicate registrations of any county in the state, according to the Public Interest Legal Foundation. They plan to file complaints against three additional counties in the coming days.
“Federal law requires that duplicate registrations are eliminated from the voter roll,” Adams said. “It is troubling that we are seeing duplicate registrants remain on the voter roll in Minnesota counties. Each duplicate registration allows for a person to vote more than once. Removing these duplicate registrations will make Minnesota’s elections more secure.”
The complaints are being filed under the Help America Vote Act, which requires the secretary of state to oversee the cases. He has 90 days to issue a decision, but Dickey said they will urge him to resolve the matter before Election Day.
“One of the most obvious ways in which a person can vote twice is if they have two registrations to their name. Not surprisingly, both federal and Minnesota laws require the removal of duplicate voter registrations,” Dickey said. “These lawsuits simply ask the county auditors to perform one of their most important functions and eliminate this avenue to double voting in Minnesota.”