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Voting-related Litigation: Minnesota

1. Edwin Hahn, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al.

(Filed November 30, 2020, 14-CV-20-4033; Dismissed December 14, 2020, 14-CV-20-4033; Appeal dismissed February 8, 2021, A20-1654)

Seventh Judicial District: Edwin Hahn, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al., an Election Contest, was filed on November 30, 2020, in the Seventh Judicial District, Clay County, and alleged voting irregularities during the November 3, 2020, General Election. The Hon. Timothy Churchwell, a Democratic appointee, was assigned to the matter. On December 14, 2020, the judge dismissed the contest with prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.

Minnesota Supreme Court: On December 31, 2020, Plaintiffs filed an appeal of Judge Churchwell’s order in the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Seventh Judicial District: On January 8, 2021, Defendants were awarded costs and disbursements to be paid by Plaintiffs.

Minnesota Supreme Court: On February 8, 2021, the Hon. Lorie Gildea, Chief Justice, a Republican appointee, dismissed the appeal because it was not timely filed.

Seventh Judicial District: On March 30, 2021, Judge Churchwell approved the submitted costs and disbursements and ordered Plaintiff Edwin Hahn to be solely responsible for payment because none of the other named plaintiffs were represented by counsel nor did they act as pro se litigants.

Issues: Vote-by-mail (improperly handled); Election procedure (law violation); Voting machines (glitches, vote count anomalies)

Outcome: The Plaintiffs lost.

2. Jensen, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al.

(Filed December 1, 2020, 62-CV-20-5599; Dismissed with prejudice December 18, 2020, 62-CV-20-5599)

Second Judicial District: Jensen, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al., an Election Contest, was filed on December 1, 2020, in the Second Judicial District, Ramsey County, and alleged voting irregularities during the November 3, 2020, General Election. The Hon. Leonardo Castro, a Democratic-Farmer-Labor appointee, was assigned to the matter. On December 10, 2020, Judge Castro consolidated this case with three other Election Contests (Petersen, Redacted, and Redacted, below). On December 18, 2020, Judge Castro dismissed all four Election Contests with prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim, and released a separate document with the opinion. Defendants’ Application for Taxation of Costs and Disbursements was granted. On September 14, 2021, Judge Castro ordered two plaintiffs be dismissed from the case and their names redacted from court filings because they had never consented to being part of the contest.

Issues: Election procedure (law violation); Vote-by-mail (no witness required); Voting machines (glitches)

Outcome: The Plaintiff lost.

3. Robin Petersen, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al.

(Filed December 1, 2020, 62-CV-20-5600; Dismissed with prejudice December 18, 2020, 62-CV-20-5600)

Second Judicial District: Robin Petersen, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al., an Election Contest, was filed on December 1, 2020, in the Second Judicial District, Ramsey County, and alleged voting irregularities during the November 3, 2020, General Election. The Hon. Leonardo Castro, a Democratic-Farmer-Labor appointee, was assigned to the matter. On December 10, 2020, Judge Castro consolidated this case with three other Election Contests. On December 18, 2020, Judge Castro dismissed all four Election Contests with prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. One originally named plaintiff is no longer listed on the official electronic court docket and there is no public access to documents filed in the case. The filing attorney was Susan Smith Shogren. See Redacted, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al. 62-CV-20-5602.

Issues: Election procedure (law violation); Vote-by-mail (no witness required); Voting machines (glitches)

Outcome: The Plaintiffs lost.

4. PLAINTIFF REDACTED, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al.

(Filed December 1, 2020, 62-CV-20-5601; Dismissed with prejudice December 18, 2020, 62-CV-20-5601)

Second Judicial District: PLAINTIFF REDACTED, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al., an Election Contest, was filed on December 1, 2020, in the Second Judicial District, Ramsey County, and alleged voting irregularities during the November 3, 2020, General Election. The Hon. Leonardo Castro, a Democratic-Farmer-Labor appointee, was assigned to the matter. On December 10, 2020, Judge Castro consolidated this case with three other Election Contests. On December 18, 2020, Judge Castro dismissed all four Election Contests with prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. The originally-named plaintiffs are no longer listed on the official electronic court docket. However, the filing attorney, Susan Smith Shogren, has been substituted as the sole plaintiff, according to the electronic docket. See Redacted, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al. 62-CV-20-5602.

Issues: Election procedure (law violation); Vote-by-mail (no witness required); Voting machines (glitches)

Outcome: The substituted Plaintiff lost.

5. PLAINTIFF REDACTED, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al.

(Filed December 1, 2020, 62-CV-20-5602; Dismissed with prejudice December 18, 2020, 62-CV-20-5602; Sanctions order pending as of November 15, 2021)

Second Judicial District: PLAINTIFF REDACTED, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al., an Election Contest, was filed on December 1, 2020, in the Second Judicial District, Ramsey County, claiming that the suspension of the absentee ballot witness requirement for the November 3, 2020, General Election was a violation of voters’ Equal Protection Clause.  On December 10, 2020, Judge Leonardo Castro, a Democratic-Farmer-Labor appointee, consolidated four Election Contests. On December 18, 2020, Judge Castro granted Defendants’ motions and dismissed the four contests with prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failing to state a proper claim.

On January 29, 2021, the court awarded costs and disbursements to Defendants to be paid by Plaintiffs. In March 2021, three people named as Plaintiffs in this suit informed Judge Castro that they did not request or consent to be plaintiffs. On April 9, 2021, on the court’s own motion, the case caption was amended to reflect a single plaintiff, the filing attorney, Susan Shogren Smith. The three originally named persons were dismissed from the case; their names were redacted from official court filings. Also, the court sanctioned attorney Smith and ordered her to pay $10,000, finding that she perpetrated a fraud upon both the court and the persons she had claimed to represent. She was also made solely liable for the award of costs and disbursements to Defendants. Sanctions order pending as of November 15, 2021.

Issues: Election procedure (law violation); Vote-by-mail (no witness required); Voting machines (glitches)

Outcome: The Plaintiff lost.

6. Julie Quist, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al.

(Filed December 1, 2020, 62-CV-20-5598; Dismissed December 29, 2020, 62-CV-20-5598)

Second Judicial District: Julie Quist, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al., an Election Contest, was filed on December 1, 2020, in the Second Judicial District, Ramsey County, and alleged voting irregularities during the November 3, 2020, General Election. The Hon. Renee Worke, a Republican appointee, and the Hon. Denise D. Reilly, and the Hon. Jennifer Frisch, both Democratic appointees, were assigned to the matter.

On December 29, 2020, the court dismissed the contest with prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. On January 20, 2021, the panel awarded costs and disbursements to Defendants to be paid by Plaintiffs. On April 2, 2021, a person who was originally named in the contest informed the court that he did not ever request or consent to being a plaintiff. On June 22, 2021, the court entered an order which dismissed the person from the suit and directed the Court Clerk to redact the person’s name from all court filings. Additionally, the court sanctioned the filing attorney, Susan Shogren Smith, for committing a fraud upon the court. She was ordered to pay $15,000 and the matter was referred to the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board for potential disciplinary action.

Issues: Election procedure (law violation); Vote-by-mail (no witness required); Voting machines (glitches)

Outcome: The Plaintiffs lost.

7. Tyler Kistner, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al.

(Filed November 24, 2020, A20-1486; Dismissed December 4, 2020, A20-1486)

Minnesota Supreme Court: Tyler Kistner, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al., a Petition to Correct Errors and Omissions, was filed in Minnesota Supreme Court on November 24, 2020, by candidates for federal and state offices in both Minnesota and Michigan, claiming that the suspension of the witness requirement for absentee ballots for the November 3, 2020, General Election caused a constitutional violation. The petition sought to halt certification of election results until a statewide audit could be conducted. On December 4, 2020, the Hon. Lorie S. Gildea, a Republican appointee, granted Defendant’s motion and dismissed the untimely petition for being filed several months after the change in witness requirements.

Issues: Vote-by-mail (no witness required); Ballot counting (observers barred)

Outcome: The Plaintiffs lost.

8. Tyler Kistner, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al.

(Filed November 30, 2020, 19AV-CV-20-2183; Dismissed December 14, 2020, 19AV-CV-20-2183; Appeal voluntarily dismissed December 28, 2020, A20-1590)

First Judicial District Court: Tyler Kistner, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, et al., was filed in the First Judicial District Court, County of Dakota, on November 30, 2020, by 11 Republican candidates for federal and state offices, along with two Minnesota voters. As a challenge to the November 3, 2020, General Election, Plaintiffs claimed the suspension of the witness requirement for absentee ballots resulted in a constitutional violation and sought an audit. On December 14, 2020, the Hon. Judge McManus, a Republican appointee, granted Defendant’s motion and dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for the untimely complaint being filed several months after the change in witness requirement.

Minnesota Supreme Court: On December 18, 2020, Plaintiffs appealed Judge McManus’ decision. On December 28, 2020, Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their appeal with prejudice.

Issues: Election procedure (rules improperly changed); Voting machines (glitches); Vote-by-mail (no witness required)

Outcome: The Plaintiffs lost.

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