More than a hundred absentee voters who registered at the address of a mailbox center in Cedar-Riverside will have to re-register under their home addresses — a decision that follows a stir in the Somali community regarding legal voting practices. At an administrative hearing on Thursday, the Hennepin County Attorney’s office announced that the case of 141 improperly registered voters was not an intentional or organized effort, dismissing allegations of voter fraud. The hearing came about two weeks after the attorney’s office was prompted to investigate the incident by a petition filed by a lawyer for Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis.
Kahn is facing Somali challenger Mohamud Noor for re-election this November to continue her 42-year career as the State Representative for House District 60B, the seat that represents the West Bank, the University of Minnesota and other Minneapolis neighborhoods.
In a petition filed June 27, Brian Rice, Kahn’s attorney, said more than 140 absentee voters had registered 419 Cedar Avenue South as their residential address — what is actually a commercial space lacking apartments and dominated by Somali shops and money wiring services. Under Minnesota law, voters must register at their home address or face five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.