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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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Monday, July 23, 2012
ST. PAUL - State Representative Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) said Secretary of State Mark Ritchie owes Minnesotans an explanation after employing a woman who has been indicted on charges of welfare fraud, and has also been discovered to have committed voter fraud. On Monday, Oluremi George was specifically charged with five counts of Social Security fraud, four counts of making false statements, and one count of passport fraud. She's accused of using the name Victoria Ayoola, and its Social Security number, in order to obtain a drivers license and low income housing tax credits. Voter rolls also show "Victoria Ayoola" cast a ballot in the last election. Drazkowski said this is ironic since Secretary Ritchie, who has been an outspoken critic of the voter identification amendment ballot question this November, has consistently claimed no voter fraud exists. "Secretary Ritchie has repeatedly asked us to show him evidence of one person voting illegally in this state," Drazkowski said. "It's very troubling that one of his own has now become Exhibit A in the case for supporting the voter identification amendment. After being forced to acknowledge that he has been staring voter fraud directly in the face every day that he was in his office, will Ritchie still continue to tell Minnesotans that voter fraud doesn't exist?" After learning back in March that the Department of Public Safety (DPS) had identified 7,300 drivers licenses that were obtained fraudulently and subsequently revoked, Drazkowski authored a new law that directs DPS to share their findings with the Department of Human Services, so employees in that department can end the enrollment of people who are fraudulently obtaining welfare benefits and then report each of them to the county attorney. Drazkowski calls on Secretary Ritchie to match DPS data with the state voter database and remove the remaining fraudulent voters who have been identified by the DPS from our voter registration system. "It is his responsibility to identify those that have voted fraudulently in the past, and bring voter fraud charges against each one, beginning with the employee in his own office." "The arrogance being displayed by the Secretary of State's office on this issue is overwhelming," Drazkowski said. "What exactly is Mark Ritchie trying to hide? Does the alleged Ms. Ayoola maintain the state's voter database? It's time for Secretary Ritchie to do the right thing: Stop fighting against efforts to bring election integrity to our state and immediately begin using the tools that have been placed directly in front of him to clean up our voter registration file."
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