A few thousand votes in swing-state Minnesota may decide November's presidential election. In this crucial swing state, one Democratic candidate came forward in July, in a largely unnoticed and untranslated video, to allege that the state's DFL machine was buying votes in Minneapolis' Somali-American community.
In recent years, multiple Somali-Americans living in Minneapolis-St. Paul have come forward to describe vote-buying, ballot-harvesting, and intimidation operations of historic scope in the Democratic Party-controlled area. Some have brought evidence to state and federal law enforcement, though little action has been taken. These whistleblowers explicitly name Rep. Ilhan Omar, her campaign director Ali Isse, and other Democratic Party members as being involved.
This year, local political activist and Democratic Party member Saciido Shaie ran for the Minneapolis City Council seat in Ward 6. She has a long political resume. Shaie has been appointed to several state boards by Minnesota's governor and has also served as the Minneapolis DFL (Democratic Party) fundraising director.
On July 6, Saciido Shaie released a 15-minute video of herself speaking in Somali. She announced that she was not suspending her campaign — but she would no longer be campaigning door-to-door.
She spoke about how upset she was by how many voters she encountered who expected her to pay $200 for a vote.
She was angry that local Democrats had taken advantage of so many elderly Somali-American refugees, who, she said, sincerely do not know that vote-buying is a serious federal crime in the United States.
Shaie also specifically described two incidents she had witnessed.
She added that anyone who thinks she is a "snitch" needs to understand that law enforcement and others "already know." That everyone involved could eventually get turned in by friends and family, presumably if law enforcement finally shows up with evidence and leverage. Shaie also stated that these "terrible things" simply need to stop, because they will destroy the Somali-American community and their children's hopes for a future in America.
As of this article's publication, Saciido Shaie's July 6 video is still live on her campaign page. The full video can be viewed below (relevant portion begins at the 5-minute mark) and is followed by an English translation of her video, provided to us by a native Somali-language speaker and verified by a second independent translator. Please watch the video as well — Shaie's emotion and demeanor show her to be an American patriot.
Shaie did not respond to a request for additional comment on this story.
As you are well-aware, we are going through elections in Minneapolis. The people of Ward 6, I would like to tell them that the campaign is going well and that early voting has started, and it has started on the 26th.
Somalis, by the way, it seems they are not done with fraud and corruption.
There are a lot of things ethically, culturally, and religiously that are not good for us and happening on the side of campaigns. A lot of people are doing things that eventually will bring a lot of problems for the Somali community. A lot of people are doing things that could possibly bring a lot of problems for the Somali community.
The reason being, what we have clearly seen, we have seen first of all the seniors are being confused about the time of the campaign, and how [voting] is supposed to be done in the traditional American system of voting.
We are doing the opposite. In fact we are doing it like Somalia, and even worse, is how the campaigns are being done.
You will see people who are saying "if you need my vote, give me money." Terrible things.
In reality, the person should choose a person on quality, education, and work performance and even being Somali, but instead the people are fighting over "who will give [me] money is who I will give my vote." That is what was going on in Somalia.
Truly, I didn't want to talk about this. But I feel it's become unavoidable to speak out about it.
You remember recently Somalis were caught in the daycare fraud issue? And they were all closed. It was a terrible thing and all these businesses, day cares, home cares were closed. And people were arrested in the city. Because they did things they were not supposed to do. Money being exchanged, people were choosing money over quality and qualifications, religion, culture, ethics, dignity.
Which is exactly what is going on in our campaigns now. People being told "give me your vote for money."
The old men or women, when you go to them to ask for their vote, they respond "I can't vote for you unless you pay."
Recently I sent a van from my campaign to give a ride to voters who promised to vote for my campaign, mostly older women, we picked up eight people. When the driver and the eight people arrived at the voting center the voters told the driver "na af garta" which means "sort us out." So the driver called me and said this is what they are saying. I asked, "What does that mean?"
They responded, "It means our vote is worth $200 a person, we are being promised that amount, but because you are a nice young lady and we like you and how hard you are working, we will take $100 a vote instead."
What I did was I instructed the driver to turn around and take them all back home.
I will only get my votes based on my qualifications, record, personality, and platform. I will not get involved in that. As long as they want money for a vote, tell them to go back to the people who promised them the $200, and vote for them.
This is the truth and it is clear. And we all know each other. It is the truth and it is a fact.
Truthfully I want to tell Somalis that these issues will come to light, and it's not good. This is a country of laws and systems. And this is what has destroyed our Somali community. Our culture, our religion, and our livelihoods being threatened? It is because of these issues. And why we are disliked — it is because of these terrible things.
We must know that the young children we have, we want to leave a future in this country, and we are hoping to be an example in America or elsewhere. But any person who is here sees all these problems we are having within the community and the corruption at all levels, from daycare to seniors, should be aware.
After seeing all these problems — add "corrupting seniors" to all these problems. It's a shame.
Also be aware that there are Somalis working with government, or outsiders who are living among us, who are reporting all these things. Be aware that we need to end these shameful things.
We were used to "clanism," which was part of our culture, and choosing a person from your clan was always part of this community. That won't change because it's always been there, voting for their clan member. But what is terrible is taking bakshish (bribe) and money for a vote.
For sale to a person who will probably do nothing for you, who will sell you tomorrow when they sit on that seat.
I'm very sad and disappointed about this issue. Dear Somalis, I'm advising you today is a day, and tomorrow is a day. Today, the advice I'm giving you, a lot of people will say, "Why? Has she gone crazy? Why would she snitch, why is she telling?"
I am responding that they already know. People are watching. What I'm saying is to heal and fix this community, the problem happening in our community.
An old man or woman in their 80s who are locked in a room here know nothing about the system, or the law you understand. You have misled them!
I met this woman and I asked her, "Have you voted?" She responded "yes."
I asked her, "Aunty, how, because the vote has not happened yet, it's on the 26th of this month this time." She responded, "I don't know."
I then asked, "Who did you vote for?" She responded, "Wallahi I don't know."
So I asked, "How did you know you voted?" She responded, "Someone came and forced me and took my ballot."
I responded, "OK, so what did he say or do?" She replied, "I don't know, he was a Somali man, I just gave it to him."
So please, you people who are running around, who we all know each other. Dear cousins, please stop these problems you are perpetrating on these poor old victims!
Do not put them in situations that will affect them, and their records. If this comes out, billahi, you will regret this one day.
You people who are educated, who know the system, to see people doing bad things and you support them? Be aware on earth and in heaven, it is bad for you. This is advice for you today and tomorrow. These issues will come to light, and people will report you.
Maybe even people who are your closest relatives. The truth will come out.
Everyone knows me. I will never and have never participated in a situation where members of my Somali community have been oppressed, whether it is by a Somali or outsiders. I can say today, as Saciido, I have stopped my [door-to-door] campaigning because of the ugliness that is ongoing.
But people have to know this ugliness. I am telling you I will continue to fight for my people. Since I was a teenager, I have done public service for years. I can't and won't participate before, now, or in the future — I will not sell or buy my people for a couple hundred dollars.
My campaign is on, and I'm urging people to vote for me because of all the work I've done. I need people to come and support my campaign, because I will work for you and do my best to represent you. Assalam aleikum.