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I read with interest the Jan. 9 article about the proposed vote recount in Crow Wing County ("In a Trump county, false election claims go micro"). I am absolutely in sync with the individual who said he felt in his heart that there had been election fraud.

I've felt in my heart for years that I should be voted People magazine's Sexiest Man in America. And yet, to this point it has not happened. Do I really need to spell out how this fraud was perpetrated? Follow the breadcrumbs, people. It's obvious.

On the other hand, I've been a county commissioner for 17 years, and I wonder if the 100 or so protesters (out of a population of 66,000 in Crow Wing County) are aware of what a profound insult their accusations are to the dedicated professionals who are responsible for local elections. Over the years I've had repeated discussions with our staff members about how to make sure the elections and vote counting are fair, honest and efficient. They put a lot of thought, not to mention blood, sweat and tears, into a job that very few people appreciate, and, apparently, that some don't even understand.

Something I've said many times is that even though I am the government, I understand why people hate the government. There is much about government at all levels that is maddening and inefficient.

But elections, in Minnesota? Find something else to complain about, people. The people doing the work are doing great work, and they have my thanks.

Brent Olson, Ortonville, Minn.

The writer is a member of the Big Stone County Board.


Sunday's article about Crow Wing County residents questioning their local election results makes me wonder about the resident who was in the U.S. Army and is quoted as saying "my heart is telling me there is something drastically wrong with this election." I don't think he was ever a soldier, and all the proof in the world will never make me believe he was. My heart says no.

Linda McGowan, Blaine


The article on Crow Wing County's claim of voter fraud was interesting but short on relevant facts. Here are the ones that I find compelling:

1) In 2016, with ES&S machines in use, 62.2% of Crow Wing voters voted for Donald Trump. His total was 22,287.

2) In 2020, with Dominion machines in use, 63.9% of Crow Wing voted for Trump. His total was 25,626.

3) For comparison, the U.S. representative vote in 2016 was 58.9% for the Republican candidate (Stewart Mills). He got 20,873 votes in Crow Wing County.

4) The U.S. representative vote in 2020 was 62.3% for the Republican candidate (Pete Stauber). He got 24,546 votes in Crow Wing County.

While Trump increased his total by 3,339 votes, the vote for U.S. representative increased by 3,673. This is nearly the same. Since Stauber won his race and Mills lost his, it is not surprising that Stauber's increase over the 2016 GOP vote was slightly higher than Trump's increase. This certainly doesn't raise any red flags about voter fraud in Crow Wing County. In fact, it helps to confirm that the Dominion machine had no problems accurately counting the vote in 2020.

Larry Day, Plymouth


As someone who believes that our democracy requires a minimum of two well-functioning parties, it was with dismay that I read three articles in the Jan. 9 issue of the Star Tribune.

"Pitching his plans, Walz faces big divide" highlighted the governor's desire to compromise, which is the heart of all good governance. But he is met with Republican anger and divisive Republican rhetoric.

Below that article was one on the Republicans of Crow Wing County continuing to push the false narrative of election fraud — a false narrative supported by every GOP candidate for governor.

Group all that with the fingerpointing and angry words of GOP state Sen. Warren Limmer, who accuses the DFL of "encouraging the violent crime wave we are suffering" as quoted in the third article ("Public safety hangs over 2022 session"). No nuance, no understanding of an issue's complexities, no reaching across the aisle for solutions.

We are all worn out and beaten down by this pandemic. We need leaders who offer hope, compromise, solutions and, above all else, civility and a recognition of facts. I'm not finding that in the GOP, so I will continue to vote DFL in 2022. Gov. Tim Walz is correct when he said that compromise on issues like taxes doesn't seem possible with people who won't admit the simple truth that President Joe Biden was legitimately elected.

Pauline Schottmuller, Newport


Ask candidates, others to spell out their explicit vision

Thoughts about democracy vs. autocracy have been festering in my mind for quite a while. It is time to share them. I am becoming more and more concerned about the people espousing the Republican ideas leading to autocracy. I wish to have them explain exactly what they desire in a government.

I spent five years living in Hungary under communism and eventually watched the people overthrow that method of government in favor of democracy. At that time, we watched Viktor Orban lead the Fidesz party to victory with hopes of a new beginning for the country. Unfortunately, that has completely turned around, and he now leads an autocratic country.

What will living under a dictatorship (or autocracy) mean for our citizenry? Everyone will most likely have to carry their necessary "papers" with them at all times. These will be scrutinized often by those in authority. Any minor misdemeanor will lead to arrests and little judicial justice. Need we look further than China and Russia to see what is ahead of us? Loyalty to the leader will become a necessity in order to rise in a business position. Conversations between friends will always be suspect and trust will erode. And, at all times, the "other" may be suspect. This is neither what I want nor what I envision for the future of the United States. We must stand together and fight this undermining of democracy that is eating away at us.

Ask what they want. When meeting all top-level politicians running for office, as well as friends, neighbors and local officials in the next few years, be sure to ask them explicitly what they want our country to look like in the future. Ask the "hard" questions, and don't settle for just negative comments about the present. We must all stand united in this fight for the preservation of our democracy!

Phyllis Porter, Eden Prairie


A story you should know

Clyde Bellecourt died on Tuesday ("AIM leader affirmed dignity of his people," obituary, Jan. 12). Among leaders like Cesar Chavez and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he brought to light the injustices and travesties visited on Native Americans over the past two centuries just in our benighted state of Minnesota.

If you want a triptych of Indian violation, read "Carnival Lights" by Chris Stark. It takes you back and forth through four generations of Ojibwe in northern Minnesota. You can't help but bleed for them reading this book.

Harald Eriksen, Brooklyn Park

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