MN Supreme Court Rules on House 7B Race Ballot Changes

By KBJR News 1

September 25, 2012 Updated Sep 25, 2012 at 10:53 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled to make ballot changes in the race for the Minnesota House District 7B seat.

The decision comes in several parts following the July sex scandal involving Representative Kerry Gauthier.

The Supreme Court has ordered the Saint Louis County Auditor to accept and file the affidavit of withdrawal of Kerry Gauthier as a candidate for the 7B seat.

With that move, comes an order to omit his name as the DFL candidate in the race. Instead, voters will see DFL-endorsed Erik Simonson's name on the ballot.

The ruling also orders the county auditor to accept and file the DFL party's nomination of Simonson.

Today's decision is the result of several weeks of petitions filed by various groups. St. Louis County Auditor Don Dicklich filed a number of petitions refusing to accept the withdrawal of Gauthier's name and the DFL nomination of Simonson.

Minnesotans voting absentee will get ballots with Gauthier's name on them. However, the Supreme Court decision today authorizes St. Louis County to throw out all those previously printed ballot and re-print ballots without Gauthier's name and with Simonson's name.

Those will be unofficial, but accepted ballots per Minnesota Statute.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court made no reference to Jay Fosle who petitioned the Secretary of State saying if Simonson's name appears on the ballot his should as well as neither of them went through the primary process.

Fosle will have to continue to run as write-in candidate.

The Minnesota DFL Chair, Ken Martin, released this statement:

"As we have said, our purpose in filing this petition was to ensuring a fair election for the voters in District 7B. We are glad to learn that the Minnesota Supreme Court agrees that Duluth voters should have a chance to choose between the endorsed candidates of the major parties -- a choice that Minnesotans in every other district in the state will have on Election Day."

Jay Fosle released the following statement: "This action should send a strong message to all the citizens as to how much our government is broken."

Both Fosle and Simonson face Republican Travis Silvers in the November race.

Silvers told the Northland's NewsCenter that' he's disappointed by the decision.

"I feel like this something that is going to encouraging us to worker harder," he said. "I think that this is still a competitive race, this is something we can still win."

Kevin Jacobsen
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