League of Women Voters calls on Minnesota state leaders to condemn election lies | INFORUM

Local News 19-1-2021 IN FORUM 32

ST. PAUL — The League of Women Voters of Minnesota has ventured from its typically apolitical tone and written a letter to bipartisan state leaders calling on them to hold accountable legislators who perpetuated lies about the security and fairness of the 2020 general election for political reasons.

The League is a decades-old, nonpartisan group that works to educate voters and expand access to the polls. In their Thursday, Jan. 14 letter addressed to Minnesota's most powerful state House and Senate leaders, the League said state lawmakers of both parties have a responsibility to "stand up for the truth about our elections."

"We call upon you to hold accountable those legislators who continue to tell lies about a 'stolen election,' an election now certified by Democrats and Republicans alike," wrote President Laura Helmer and Executive Director Michelle Witte. "The ongoing use of the baseless claims of voter fraud and unlawful elections have fueled division and violence, and these lies disguised as dissent must be reckoned with immediately."

The letter comes after extremist supporters of President Donald Trump violently stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, in an attempt to disrupt Congress' certification of President-elect Joe Biden's win. Coinciding with the riot in D.C. was a demonstration called "Storm the Capitol" at Minnesota's state capitol building in St. Paul the same day — an event attended by several Republican state representatives.

The League wrote that "certain Republican legislators" have engaged in violent political rhetoric and spread disinformation, and those who haven't directly participated have failed to adequately condemn legislators who do.

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"No matter whether conservative or liberal, all Minnesotans value the importance of the truth. And we deserve the truth," the League wrote. "Republican legislators know the truth; they’ve just been denying it."

Last week's letter is addressed to Senator Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake), Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent (D-Woodbury), House Speaker Melissa Hortman (D-Brooklyn Park), House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D-Golden Valley) and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown), who publicly feuded days after the attack on the Capitol. All of the leaders have recognized that Biden is the President-elect, but state Republicans have sown doubt in the validity of the election since November.

In their letter, the League called that rhetoric "dangerous," and demanded party leadership require legislators who participated to "disavow those falsehoods or be sanctioned."

"Failure to disavow these lies is to ally oneself with domestic terrorism," they concluded.


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