ST. PAUL, MN – Senator Mary Kiffmeyer (R- Big Lake) today requested Secretary of State Steve Simon to explain the process for verifying Representative John Thompson’s residency when he filed for candidacy last year.
“Minnesotans have a right to know what the Secretary of State did to determine Representative Thompson was eligible to seek office in House District 67A,” Kiffmeyer said. “The public normally is able to view candidate filings to hold them accountable for living where they are running. In the absence of a public filing, it’s important to know what, if any steps, the Secretary of State took to ensure a candidate using narrow privacy protections actually lived in the district they are required to live in.
“If there is a change needed in the law to fix this, the legislature should act swiftly to make sure voters can be confident that all candidates facing election are meeting the requirements necessary to serve in that role. Elected officials are held to a higher standard to maintain the trust of the public, and we need to be sure there is absolutely no favoritism or exceptions being provided for DFL legislators by a DFL Secretary of State.”
The text of the letter to Simon follows:
Dear Secretary of State Simon,
As I am sure you are aware, in the past week concerns regarding the residency of Representative John Thompson, representing Minnesota House District 67A, have brought into question the process in place for verifying the candidacy of our elected officials.
Media reports have highlighted Mr. Thompson’s use of a little-known provision to keep a candidate’s address private for security reasons. Additional reporting suggests your office would not release the secondary document Mr. Thompson used to verify his address.
In the absence of a public verification process, which may be Mr. Thompson’s right, can you provide in detail the steps you took to confirm Mr. Thompson’s address was accurate? What is the form he provided to your office? What, if any, additional documents were requested and/or presented by Mr. Thompson to verify his residence? What tools or resources did you utilize to verify the address was in House District 67A, since the public cannot perform this simple fact check on their own? What, if any, documents were requested and presented by Mr. Thompson to verify his residence?
As it is your office’s responsibility to implement the election laws passed by the legislature and to provide trust, clarity, and security in the process, answering these questions in a timely manner will help us all better understand the process that goes into residency verification.