Complaint threatened over Mapleview polling incident
MAPLEVIEW — The first voting complaint in Mower County since at least 2003 is expected to be filed today for an incident that occurred Tuesday morning during polling in Mapleview.
According to Mapleview City Council member Kris Finley, whose re-election bid failed, her former husband was "badgered and harassed" by an election judge while trying to cast his ballot in the small town just north of Austin. Despite being a registered voter in the precinct and having participated in the previous two elections in that polling venue, Darin Finley was only grudgingly allowed to vote by a Mapleview election judge, she claims.
Darin Finley has lived in his ex-wife's basement for nearly three years after separating from his current wife, who lives in Blooming Prairie. He's going through a lengthy divorce process and his current driver's license still shows a Blooming Prairie address, which caused some confusion during the process, Kris Finley said.
"There was no disenfranchisement of a voter in Mapleview," said Mower County auditor/treasurer Doug Groh, adding that it's the first voter complaint filed in the county since he took office in 2003.
However, the Finleys took exception to the fact that the election judge asked where the ex-husband was sleeping and how often, along with making him show his ID, when trying to validate his residency. Kris Finley plans to file the complaint paperwork today, though Groh says it's unclear what the ramifications of that process could entail.
"When (the election judge) was actually questioning Darin, she asked if he slept there and how often," Kris Finley said. "What difference does that make? He's already registered to vote."
Kris Finley says Simon Hancock, who defeated Finley in the race for her city council seat, alerted the judges to the potential residency issue Tuesday prior to the polls opening. Kris Finley says Hancock gave a written warning to the judges before the polls opened at 7 a.m. Mayor Arnie Johnson says he has the paper in question in his possession, but that allegation was disputed by city clerk and head election judge Art Kuchera when reached by phone Tuesday evening.
Hancock defeated Finley 53-40 to unseat the incumbent, while Johnson defeated challenger Larry Naatz for the third straight mayoral race. The mayoral race was decided by just four votes.