Challenger Accuses Alondra Cano of “Jim Crow” Voter Suppression

Mohamed Farah believes incumbent Council Member Alondra Cano’s delegate challenges are made along racial lines.

MINNEAPOLIS – Minneapolis City Council candidate Mohamed Farah accused Incumbent Ward 9 City Council Member Alondra Cano of using “Jim Crow tactics” in her questioning of the credentials of many delegates elected in the Ninth’ Ward’s caucus earlier this month.

Cano’s campaign’s challenges with the Minneapolis DFL alleges that 101 delegates and alternates elected from the near south Minneapolis caucus did not sign in properly at the April 4 caucus at South High School, reports the Star Tribune. At least 27 delegates and alternates did not write down their addresses when they registered according to Cano’s campaign.

“We have identified at least 3 delegates who do not live in the precinct they were elected in,” reads another challenge.

Farah put out a no-holds-barred press release on Friday. In it he claims that of the 101 persons whose status Cano is challenging, 90 of them have East African surnames. Cano has also challenged Farah’s status, as well as that of her other primary opponent Gary Schiff.

“Council member Cano simply can’t tolerate the opinions of others,” Farah wrote in the press release, “At the start of this campaign, I was warned that Cano would stop at nothing to preserve her job. I’m utterly shocked at her tactics. Cano is using Jim Crow tactics. Her campaign is challenging the right to participate of nearly every East African, and even her fellow candidates.”

Cano has been a controversial figure in City Hall during her tenure. In September the rest of the City Council started an ethics investigation into her posting of critical constituents’ personal contact information, including names, emails, addresses, and phone numbers. The ethics charges were eventually dismissed. In February she was chastised by the Municipal Building Commission for going against security personnel’s instructions and enabling an after-hours anti-Dakota Access Pipeline protest in front of Sheriff Rich Stanek’s office. Protesters were unhappy with Stanek’s decision to send officers to North Dakota to help deal with the protests at the pipeline itself.

“Her action in challenging delegates is exactly what she did to constituents who questioned her conduct in emails and when she doxed them by publishing their names, email addresses, and  phone numbers,” Farah said. “Cano’s bottom line is that is that if you disagree with her, she will challenge you and try to take you down.”

Farah’s camp intends to defend all of the challenged delegates’ status, including those of Gary Schiff and his supporters.

“We had more than 800 people show up, and we want to make sure that people come back and show up again,” Cano told the Star Tribune. “There’s just like all kinds of stories about how people perceived that night, so we felt like we needed to do our due diligence and bring forward some of the more significant questions about the process.”

Roughly 260 delegates were chosen at the caucus. They will attempt to endorse a DFL candidate at the Ninth Ward’s convention on April 29. Cano’s challenges total nearly 40 percent of all of those elected to help make that decision.

Anders Koskinen