Its funny that nobody gave a rip that Jim Oberstar lived in Maryland…but of course, he was a democrat and we all know the rules are different for “special snowflakes”.
Minnesota lawmaker doesn’t live in district, should be removed from ballot, judge rules
By DAVID MONTGOMERY | email@example.com
PUBLISHED: August 26, 2016 at 4:37 pm | UPDATED: August 28, 2016 at 3:58 pm
A state lawmaker may be kicked off the ballot after a judge found he doesn’t live in his legislative district.
The final decision on whether state Rep. Bob Barrett should be removed from the ballot will be made by the Minnesota Supreme Court, which will hear the case on Sept. 6.
But after reviewing evidence from Barrett and anti-Barrett activists, Judge George Stephenson ruled Friday that “clear and convincing evidence” suggests Barrett “did not reside in Legislative District 32B.”
“The evidence supports removing Candidate Barrett’s name from the ballot,” Stephenson wrote in his opinion.
Minnesota law requires candidates for state Legislature to live in the district where they’re running for at least six months before the election, which this year is Nov. 8.
Barrett downplayed Stephenson’s ruling.
“I look forward to taking this to the Supreme Court, and I am confident I will ultimately prevail,” Barrett said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Secretary of State Steve Simon, who is named in the case, declined to comment.
LAWMAKER HAS TWO HOMES
Map showing Taylors Falls, Minnesota, where state Rep. Bob Barrett’s official residence is, and Shafer, Minnesota, where Barrett owns a home. Shafer is located outside of District 32B, which Barrett represents.
Map showing Taylors Falls, where state Rep. Bob Barrett’s official residence is, and Shafer, where Barrett owns a home. Shafer is located outside of District 32B, which Barrett represents.
Barrett lists his formal address in Taylors Falls, which is in District 32B — the district Barrett has represented since the 2012 redistricting.
But he and his wife also own a home in Shafer, just outside the district.
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party-affiliated activists allege in a lawsuit that Barrett doesn’t actually live in the Taylors Falls rental home he lists as his official address. Tamara Monaghen, Timothy Kastelein, Denise Gerdes and Patrick Rich went to extreme lengths to prove their point, including visiting the home 30 times over 15 days, propping open the front door with a stick that would be disturbed if anyone entered and setting up a motion-activated trail camera to monitor the house’s driveway.
All this produced evidence that Barrett was almost never at the home during the crucial period when he needed to establish residency in the district. Judge Stephenson, reviewing the evidence and testimony, concluded that the evidence cleared the legal burden of proof.
Stephenson also rejected a claim from Barrett that the evidence should be thrown out because it was an “illegal invasion of his privacy.” He found the activists did not make a “surreptitious intrusion” onto the Taylors Falls property and that the camera was positioned on public property and focused on a public road.
This isn’t the first time Barrett’s residency in the district has been challenged. Another lawsuit in the 2014 election also alleged he didn’t live there. But the judge in that case found Barrett’s challengers didn’t offer credible proof. This time around, he ruled they did.
RULING COULD ANNUL ELECTION
Barrett, a Republican, is being challenged by Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate Laurie Warner.
But because it’s less than 80 days before the election, removing Barrett’s name from the ballot won’t be a simple process if the Supreme Court finds he isn’t a legal resident of his district.
Under state law, if a candidate is removed from the ballot this close to the election, the ballots aren’t reprinted. Instead, Barrett’s and Warner’s names will both appear on the ballot — but the results won’t count, no matter who gets more votes on Nov. 8.
Instead, the District 32B election will be invalid, and a special election will be held in February.
That’s unless the Supreme Court orders some other course of action.
Early voting in Minnesota doesn’t begin until Sept. 23.
Barrett beat Warner in 2014 with 55.7 percent of the vote to 44.2 percent for Warner. But he held his seat in 2012 by just 393 votes out of more than 20,000.