Rep. Phyllis Kahn’s re-election campaign won a legal victory on Tuesday after a Supreme Court order affirmed that an election judge accused of attempting to sway voters toward Kahn’s opponent, Mohamud Noor, should no longer interact with voters.
Kahn and Noor are competing for Minneapolis’ House District 60B, an area Kahn has represented for 42 years, in an August primary election. Fadumo Yusuf, who had worked as an election judge at Minneapolis City Hall was put on clerical duty, according to the Supreme Court order. The Kahn campaign alleged that Yusuf, who has denied the accusations, asked voters whether they wanted to cast a ballot for “our Somali brother” or “the old Jewish lady.”
Those are references to Noor and Kahn. The Noor campaign has distanced itself from the controversy.
“The allegations of wrongful conduct by an election judge raise serious, and sobering, concerns,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea wrote in the order released on Tuesday. “We acknowledge that substantial disputes exist as to the precise details of the election judge’s comments and conduct. Nonetheless, “[t]he foundation upon which an election system rests is the confidence which the electorate places in that system.”
The City of Minneapolis is currently investigating what happened that day on June 27, when no-excuse absentee voting started. Somali activist Omar Jamal, who is representing Yusuf, told PIM last week: “[Yusuf’s] categorically denying that.”
This is the second legal petition related to the Kahn campaign in the tight race for House District 60B. The initial legal challenge was about unlawful voter registration at a Cedar Riverside neighborhood mailbox location. Kahn campaign attorney Brian Rice scaled back his petition regarding the voting address to remove allegations that the Noor campaign was engaged in a coordinated effort to unlawfully register voters at the address during a hearing last week. County officials at the Thursday meeting found no wrongdoing by Noor, but said the mailbox location isn’t a valid address for voter registration.