1.) The judge handling a lawsuit against Secretary of State Mark Ritchie‘s online voter registration system hinted on Friday that he would prefer not to disqualify the thousands of voters who have already signed up using that website, according to the Associated Press. Ramsey County District Court Judge John Guthmann was less clear on how he is leaning on the registration program’s continued existence. A group of conservative elections advocates and GOP legislators brought the suit against Ritchie, arguing that the new system should have been enacted by the Legislature. Arguing for the plaintiffs, attorney Erick Kaardal said the misuse of taxpayer funds amounted to an ongoing “injury” to his clients. Ritchie’s side was represented by the Attorney General’s office, which argued that the program’s legality is provided for in a state law that puts electronic filings on equal footing with paper records. The judge did not indicate when he would rule on the case.
2.) A joint hearing of House and Senate elections committees is being held at 1:00 p.m. today to address inaccuracies and incomplete records kept by the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. The apparently systemic flaws in that agency’s files were exposed in a recent investigation by the Star Tribune. At the time of the initial reporting, executive director Gary Goldsmith seemed to welcome the revelations, saying the news exposed how under-staffed that board is in the face of an overwhelming flow of documents. According to the meeting agenda, the committees will take testimony from the League of Women Voters, which is pushing for a comprehensive upgrade of the campaign finance board website.
3.) A three-candidate forum held in Andover found few differences among entrants in the 6th Congressional District race, according to the Star Tribune. GOP candidates Tom Emmer, Rhonda Sivarajah and Sen. John Pederson, R-St. Cloud, were relatively polite and agreeable in their exchanges, choosing to save the harsh rhetoric for Washington, D.C. and congressional overspending. On the topic of transportation, each of the three contestants said they favor roads and bridges over light rail projects, which Sivarajah referred to as a “boondoggle.” Asked about auditing the Federal Reserve, Emmer said that should be just one of the entities under review, eventually endorsing an audit of “everything” at the federal level. Former legislator Phil Krinkie was not in attendance, having turned down the offer to appear in protest of the fact that the event was not free and open to the general public.
COMINGS & GOINGS