Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake. Photo by Tony Webster/Minnesota Reformer.
A Senate committee on Thursday heard testimony about how candidates and lawmakers verify their addresses when they file for office, exploring a new law to prevent lawmakers from living outside of districts they represent.
State Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, convened a hearing to review current law and processes for candidates who file for office.
The hearing comes a few months after state Rep. John Thompson, DFL-St. Paul, generated weeks of controversy after questions arose about whether he lives outside of his district following a July 4 traffic stop in St. Paul. The stop revealed Thompson had a Wisconsin driver’s license.
Thompson was recently expelled from the House DFL caucus after allegations of domestic abuse were unearthed after his traffic stop.
Election officials do not physically vet whether a candidate lives at the address they registered when they filed for office. Officials said they typically only verify that the address provided is within the district of the office a candidate is running for.
Minnesota Senate Counsel Alexis Stangl said that if there are questions about whether a candidate lives in their district, anyone can file a so-called errors and omissions petition with the state Supreme Court for a statewide or federal office or at a local district court for a local office.
The court would then review the matter in a hearing to determine if a candidate lives in the district. In 2016, for instance, the Supreme Court ruled that state Rep. Bob Barrett, a Republican who represented District 32B, did not live in the district and was ineligible for reelection.
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