Minnesota mental health professionals are reportedly under investigation for cases of voter fraud involving their mentally disabled patients. According to local news accounts, one Brainerd resident, Montgomery Jensen, filed a complaint Monday alleging a large group of mentally handicapped patients had been told whom to vote for and ballots had been improperly filled out by staff without the patients' input. Local KSAX reports:
Jensen said he came to the Crow Wing County Auditor's Office in Brainerd at approximately 4:40 p.m. Friday to fill out an absentee ballot, because he wouldn't have time to vote there on Nov. 2. During that time, Jensen said he and his significant other noticed a "large and disorganized" crowd that "appeared to be mentally incapacitated." Jensen claimed that "these individuals had no idea that they were at the court house, let alone they were there to vote." He said staff members told the disabled to vote for Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidates.
Jensen said he then noticed "a staff member from a facility trying to coerce a mentally incapacitated individual back to the voting booth without success, so the staff member proceeded to fill out the ballot without the mentally incapacitated voter." After filling out the ballot, Jensen said the staff member retrieved the handicapped voter and guided him to the county auditors counter to cast the vote.
Jensen further stated while he was in his voting booth, he overheard the same staff member telling another handicapped person which candidate to select as if she was "instructing a young child on how to stay between the lines when coloring." Jensen said he then looked over and saw the staff member physically filling in the ballot.
Jensen also claimed that when an employee of the county auditor's office went to take the ballot from the handicapped person, he refused and "thought it was his to keep. He had no idea where he was, let alone that he was voting for future elected offices."
According to Minnesota law, there is no restriction on a person's ability to vote based on mental capacity and assisting disabled voters is allowed. However, the law prohibits "an election judge or other individual assisting a voter" from attempting to persuade the voter to vote a certain way.
Some workers assisting voters at the polls denied Jensens' claims, and some are even dismissing Jensen's report as being "politically motivated." Jensen denies being affiliated with any party, though he has been listed as a member of tea party-affiliated groups and is a member of a group working to prevent voter fraud.
County election officials and the sheriff's office were reportedly notified of Jensen's concerns and Crow Wing County Attorney Donald Ryan told KSAX that he expects an "expeditious investigation."