Voter Fraud: The Issue They’d Rather You Didn’t Talk About

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On October 22, Center of the American Experiment will conduct a program on ballot security. I will moderate, and panelists will include Andy Cilek, President of the Minnesota Voters’ Alliance, and Matthew Tyrmand, a Director of Project Veritas. We have also extended an invitation to Minnesota’s Secretary of State, Steve Simon, and will keep a seat open for him. We may be adding another national panelist, to be announced soon.

We announced the event on Monday. Within eight hours after we sent out the first email publicizing the event, we got an email from an Assistant Attorney General in Keith Ellison’s office, inquiring as to whether we were violating Minnesota’s COVID guidelines. This is the email exchange that I had with him:

From: Noah Lewellen
Sent: Monday, October 05, 2020 4:07 PM
To: Peter Zeller Subject: Attorney General Contact: COVID Plan Request for “Will My Vote Count?”

Hello:

I am an Assistant Attorney General with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. This Office has received a report that you are planning on hosting an event that may exceed the gathering limit currently in place under Executive Order 20-74, or that might exceed the capacity limits imposed by industry-specific guidance. I’m reaching out to request your COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.

Executive Order 20-74 requires venues like yours to establish and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan using the guidance for its specific industry. EO 20-74 can be found here. Specific industry guidance for entertainment venues can be found here. If you have not yet established a Plan, you can use the State’s suggested Plan template, which can be found here. That template document can be useful in structuring your own Plan. If you do use the template, you should make sure that you refer to the guidance, linked above, and ensure that your Plan accounts for the mandates contained within the guidance. For example, the Template does not contain calculations for venue capacity, while the guidance does. It’s important that a venue’s Plan discuss the venue’s capacity, and moreover, discuss how it reached that capacity calculation (e.g., using a state-provided capacity, or using an area calculation discussed on page 12 of the guidance). You may believe that your event falls under a difference clause or different guidance than that which I’ve linked here. If so, please let me know which you believe applies and why.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Depending on the Plan, it may be useful for us to have a conference call with relevant State and local officials to discuss your planned events. If you’d like to have that meeting anyway, to get guidance from the State regarding your Plan or for any other reason, please let me know. These calls can be helpful to organizations because it gives them a chance to connect with the Minnesota Department of Health and Department of Labor & Industry and ask any questions they have regarding compliance.

I appreciate your attention to this matter. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call.

Thank you,

___________________
Noah Lewellen
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Minnesota Attorney General
445 Minnesota St., Suite #1200
St. Paul, MN 55101

Mr. Lewellen:

In response to your email, I have attached the D’Amico Catering COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and the D’Amico Catering Venue Detail for International Market Square. If you have any further questions, please contact me directly.

I have a question for you: what, in yesterday’s email announcing our event, caused you to think that it “may exceed the gathering limit currently in place under Executive Order 20-74…,” given that the capacity limit under that order is 250, which is the number of guests we intend to accommodate, as stated in the email?

I look forward to your response.

John Hinderaker
President
Center of the American Experiment

Mr. Hinderaker,

Thank you for this response. I assume from this response that it’s your intention to follow D’Amico’s Plan? If so, please confirm that that’s so. I have no further questions about this Plan.

Regarding your question, the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act protects information submitted to this Office about businesses as confidential, so I cannot give you specific details about the information received by the Office about your event. Generally speaking, however, while 250 is a maximum capacity for a venue of sufficient size, some venues have more limited capacities and are unable to accommodate 250 patrons under Executive Order 20-74 and applicable guidance. I hope this helps answer your question.

Best,

___________________
Noah Lewellen
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Minnesota Attorney General
445 Minnesota St., Suite #1200
St. Paul, MN 55101

Mr. Lewellen:

Yes, we and D’Amico will be following their plan.

I am troubled by your suggestion that some unknown person apparently sent you a “tip” that you should investigate our event. I assume that person’s motivation was political. On its face, our event does not involve an excessive number of people, and you must know that International Market Square is a huge venue. The Event Brite page clearly states that we will be following elaborate COVID protocols:

“Please arrive early, as check-in will require a brief health screening. … Attendees will be assigned seating at tables of four, or tables of six if they are from the same household. If you would like to request seating next to other attendees, we will happily do our best to accommodate you. …

All tables will be six or more feet apart.

Masks will be required unless seated at a table, or actively eating or drinking.

Per state guidelines, we are only able to take 250 attendees for this event.”

So it is hard for me to understand why you thought our event was something that needed to be looked into.

In the future, if you have questions about any of our events, please contact me directly.

John H.

I will have more to say about this in days to come, but for now I will leave it there. Meanwhile, if you live close enough to be interested in attending the event, it will be at International Market Square in Minneapolis, on October 22. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the program will run from 6 to 7. Food and drink will be available throughout. You can register here.



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