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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Council backs reprimand over election fiasco

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 10/3/18

TOWER— The city council here has approved giving a letter of reprimand to Tower City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith and requiring her to pay any fines stemming from the mishandling of the Aug. 14 …

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Council backs reprimand over election fiasco


TOWER— The city council here has approved giving a letter of reprimand to Tower City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith and requiring her to pay any fines stemming from the mishandling of the Aug. 14 primary election in Tower.

The council’s action came in the wake of a closed session at the city council meeting last Wednesday, Sept. 26, during which the council was set to discuss possible disciplinary action over the incident. Before going into closed session, the council had finally discussed an Aug. 24 letter from Phil Chapman, the chief elections supervisor for St. Louis County, which outlined several significant errors in the city’s election process during the primary election. The council went through each of the seven errors cited by Chapman (which were previously reported in the Timberjay) and heard explanations from City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith, who administers the city’s election, about each of them. Keith’s explanations didn’t necessarily sit well with some of the council members.

“The one issue I’ve got just going over them, is that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Linda say ‘we screwed up,’” said Councilor Lance Dougherty. “It was always, well, they sent in a plastic bag or ‘we’ve always done it this way in the past.’ Honestly, I think that after seven dings from the county, there was obviously some major screw-ups that happened that day. I hope that you and [deputy clerk] Terri have gotten them figured out here before the general election.”

Keith and the deputy clerk, Terri Joki-Martin, both spent a day in Duluth last week undergoing election re-training that the county had ordered following the problems with the primary election. In addition, Mayor Josh Carlson said that the city had requested that the county review the city’s election process in November. The city will be submitting a formal letter requesting the special review.


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  • jlbunkhill

    It is up to the City to choose to have an election monitored, this is not a county issue. In a recent to the St. Louis County Attorney's office, I was given the following responses.

    City of Tower Election Fraud Complaint

    Email to, is your staff doing about these serious election violations that are happening in our Nice little town? The Statue is quite clear on this issue. t would be nice if you would kindly take the time to respond to this public request and take ACTION on this very serious issue. Waiting your reply, I Am....

    EM response-

    Nora Sandstad

    Wed, Sep 26, 11:25 AM (8 days ago)

    to me Mr. Hill- The St. Louis County Auditor's staff received your email, below, which they forwarded to me. The email lack sufficient detail for us to address the question you pose. Nora C. Sandstad Assistant St. Louis County Attorney 100 North 5th Avenue West, #501 Duluth, Minnesota 55802 (218) 726-2325

    Jeff Hill

    Sep 26, 2018, 12:11 PM (8 days ago)

    to SandstadN

    Thank you for your reply. Here is an article published by the Timberjay Front Page NEws on September 12, 2018.

    I think it would be best at this time to assign St. Louis County Deputy to investigate this matter. I had contacted The Breitung Police Dept with a complaint, and it never received a reply from Chief of Police Dan Nylan.

    After weeks had passed, I approached Chief Nyalan when I saw him in Tower and Asked if he had seen my complaint. His response was, "That is County Matter and his office is not following up on it." So Then I asked Chief Nylan, "So then are you saying that you are going to Recuse your self because of a conflict of interest?" He replied YES. (The City of Tower contracts With Breitung Twp for police protection) Please have a Deputy from your department contact me ASAP, so I can share the information I have been trying to get investigated for past 2 years. Thank you for your Time, Waiting for your reply I am.

    SLC Atty Response-

    Nora Sandstad

    Fri, Sep 28, 10:50 AM (6 days ago)

    to me

    Mr. Hill-

    As the article, you've included states, the St. Louis County Auditor's Office investigated the primary election concerns in Tower and issued its conclusions to the Mayor of Tower. It is not clear to me what you wish investigated at this time. Nora C. Sandstad

    My Response-Jeff Hill

    Sep 28, 2018, 12:25 PM (6 days ago)

    to SandstadN

    Thank you for your response, It is clear to me that SLC is not interested in running a fair election or having an investigator contact me. I have jumped through all the Government handoffs I have been given not once not twice but 3 times now.

    I find it difficult if not impossible to file a formal complaint that warrants an investigation. What have we become? I will put this to rest for now, until after the Nov. 6 General Election. I would not want to get THIS construed into the meddling process that took place during the last election.

    Hopefully, we can have a fair election this time around. But I have my doubts, Time will tell.


    Jeffrey L. Hill



    Thursday, October 4, 2018 Report this