Rep. Phyllis Kahn on Seward voting lines: "Someone at the city should be executed"
Rep. Kahn's hyperbole rankled Minneapolis officials.
Minneapolis officials have demanded an apology from Democratic state Rep. Phyllis Kahn for a remark she made on election day.
Kahn, frustrated about long voting lines in the Seward neighborhood that had some voters waiting in the rain for hours, told the Star Tribune: "I don't believe in the death penalty, but someone at the city should be executed."
The Strib provides some context about why the lines were Florida-esque at the Seward Square polling place:
There is plenty of frustration at the long waits in Minneapolis' Seward neighborhood. Residents of the Seward Tower East, 2910 E. Franklin Av., had a polling place (Ward 2, Precinct 9) in their own building. But they were told they were actually supposed to vote at Seward [Square] (Ward 6, Precinct 2), a polling location nine blocks away at 2121 9th St. S.
"It's a mess, but there is a reason," said Wayland Noland, an election judge. The precinct changes came after the city redrew its election districts.
Minneapolis City Clerk Casey Carl said the overload of voters at Seward [Square] was an unexpected result of the combination of redistricting and language barriers. He said that the long wait was not the result of a flood of voters from Seward Tower East, because the number of voters in that building is only a small fraction of voters in the precinct.
Carl said one goal of redistricting in Minneapolis was to create "minority opportunity" precincts in which people from certain groups would be concentrated. He said that the city couldn't anticipate how redistricting would crowd some polling places and not others.
Even though she doesn't even live in the Seward Square precinct, Kahn said she heard about the long lines and went there on Tuesday to see if there was anything she could do. When she saw people waiting in the rain, she asked election judges to open another entrance to the building so people could wait inside before offering up her 'someone should be executed' remark.
Wednesday, Mayor Rybak, Council President Barbara Johnson, Council VP Robert Lilligren, and Councilor Elizabeth Glidden wrote a letter to Kahn demanding an apology. Here it is:
But Kahn says city officials shouldn't hold their breath.
"My language was not strong enough," she told the Strib in a follow-up report. "None of [the letter-writing city officials] ever looked at what was going on there."
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