Yesterday morning, Sally Jo Sorensen, the best blogger in the state and one of its very best journalists, period, posted this piece tracking the ever-shifting timeline (from 2006 to 2008 to 2010) of the alleged incident described by the Beautiful Launderette story, a story that voter-suppression advocates have used to defend the amendment they had put on the state ballot.
As I told Sally Jo in the comments section for that post, “In my experience: If, in a story like this, major details, like the year in which it allegedly happened, keep changing — that’s a big red flag as to whether or not any of the story is at all true.”
Last night, Ms. Sorensen did a follow-up that called even more of the story into question:
Trying to sort through the conflicting narratives that had the incident happening in 2006, 2008 and 2010 , Bluestem noted in our earlier post that the county auditor filed a sworn statement in the federal lawsuit that he could not remember a speaker phone conversation with Mayor Smisson and member of council Olson on Election Night 2006, and if such a conversation had taken place, he would have instructed Mr. Smisson and Ms. Olson to fill out a challenge form. Election judges are trained to do this. But neither Mr. Smisson nor Ms. Olson filled out the paperwork in 2006.
The dismissed federal lawsuit states:
An election judge contacted Smisson about the events occurring at the polling place. Upon Smisson’s arrival, and in another room away from the polling place, he and another election judge were able to determine that certain individuals who completed registration applications actually lived in towns outside of Harris. Also present were Plaintiff Kathleen M. Olson and City Clerk Jennifer Wolhe. [...]
As Sally Jo notes, “Jennifer Wohle” appears to be a typo for Jennifer Wothe, who has indeed served as the City Clerk of Harris, Minnesota — but not until six weeks after Election Day 2006.
Ironically, the “laundromat” in question hasn’t been a laundromat since before 2006. It’s been a private residence for many years, but — just as we urban Minnesotans often still refer to the big downtown Minneapolis department store as “Dayton’s” and not “Macy’s”, our small-town cousins in Harris still refer to a certain residential property as “the laundromat”.
To sum up: The tellers of the Laundromat Story can’t get the year right, can’t get the names of the persons involved right, name the wrong persons in any event, have never filed any formal complaints to the proper authorities concerning the alleged incident that they keep claiming is so important, and can’t even get the true identity of the alleged laundromat right. Oh, and as Sally Jo mentions in her first post, the entire Launderette Story, the one so beloved of the anti-voter forces, was left out of the appeal made early last month of the dismissed lawsuit that originally contained the first iteration of this ever-changing tale.
What are the odds that the entire story is malarkey? Pretty high, in my opinion, and getting higher by the minute.