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Election Denier Monae Johnson Boots Talented Election Runner Kea Warne

I don’t know how much actual skill well-connected Republican Joan Adam brought to her job as Secretary of Health, but I do know that Kea Warne brought loads of talent and knowledge to her job as Election Division Director under the Secretary of State.

That’s probably why former SOS receptionist, now election-denying Secretary of State Monae Johnson is firing Warne:

Kea Warne will no longer be with the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office, after 24 years of service.

Warne confirmed the news to Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory in a statement Monday.

“On Friday I was informed that they would not be offering me a position with their administration,” Warne said [Austin Goss, “Kea Warne Out at Secretary of State’s Office,” KSFY, 2022.12.19].

I’ve butted heads with Kea Warne about bad interpretations of petition law from her previous boss, Steve Barnett, but Warne has always been an honest arbiter of election issues. Warne’s honesty was a central reason that the state lost to me in federal court (though appeal is pending!) over the Legislature’s egregiously burdensome restrictions on ballot measure petitions: brought to the stand by the Attorney General to support the state’s case that petition deadlines have to be at least a year before the election, Warne said no, actually, her office was always able to process petitions much later and closer to election dates.

That kind of honest competence has no place in an elections office run by a radical right-wing Secretary who accepts lies about the 2020 election and who wants to undermine democracy with less accurate methods of counting votes. And in place of honesty and competence, Dakota War College reports Johnson may be bringing fellow election denier and election-law violator Logan Manhart into the elections office.

Kea Warne chose to sit out the last time we elected an idiot as Secretary of State. This time the new idiot has booted the best talent she has in the office.


  1. Donald Pay 2022-12-20 08:48

    I haven’t been in SD for 21 years, but I remember Warne exactly as you portray. Honest. I would add that she was efficient. She with assistance from the entire SOS office, of course, were doing that job before the Legislature moved around the deadline dates on initiative petitions, and at a time when they had to go over every signature, not just a representative sample. So, when she testified at the hearing, she knew that the SOS office could do the job without the added time.

  2. Mark Anderson 2022-12-20 10:01

    It won’t be long before Monae Johnson won’t belong. Even Republican’s can’t put up with total BS.

  3. 96Tears 2022-12-20 10:32

    While Marty Jackley can be as big a partisan hack as anyone, he doesn’t suffer fools. The front line of defense of democracy is no long the Secretary of State. It’s now the Attorney General. Despite the experience with Jason Gant and his greedy subordinates, voters elected another crook.

    Based on previous experience, she’s burrowed in like a tick for four years. She won’t be renominated.

  4. Frank J Kloucek 2022-12-20 10:55

    Kea Warne was outstanding in the SOS office. She will be greatly missed.

  5. O 2022-12-20 14:16

    Mark Anderson writes: “Even Republican’s can’t put up with total BS.”

    I’m not sure I can agree with that anymore. Partisan hack positions and hypocrisy has always existed, but this is a new era. The Tea Party elevated it; the MAGA perfected it. Republican is whatever the cult of personality leader says in the moment, and the rank-and-file not only fall into line, but also become true believers. Mark, these ain’t the Republicans we once knew.

  6. Jake 2022-12-20 14:25

    O-you are so correct! The ‘Grinch-like’ attitude of today’s Republicans is foreboding of nasty days ahead. When mean governors like Desantis are front-runners (ahead of trump) it shows they have sunk to new lows. They look at the former guy, M T Greene & Bobert and try to ‘out-right’ them, pushing the Republican brand further and further off the cliff.

    I expect that soon, even old George Will will be headed to the exits…

  7. Curtis Price 2022-12-20 17:35

    I remember what a sigh of relief when Kea Warne returned. She was absolutely dedicated to her job. One year we invited her to come talk about the process to our 501c3/c4 Equality South Dakota Pierre Summit and she was so helpful and on track.

    Yet another huge loss for good government in South Dakota.

  8. Bob Newland 2022-12-20 20:05

    Well, how about a pool of some sort on how many days Monae stays in office? I suspect that she’ll resign in less than 18 months.

  9. grudznick 2022-12-20 20:12

    grudznick’s comments on this general topic have been banned by Mr. PP. Go figure.

  10. Dicta 2022-12-21 07:58

    This is just the start. Her tenure is going to be a trainwreck.

  11. bearcreekbat 2022-12-21 11:19

    Cory deleted the comment that I linked in my above 2022-12-20 17:48 comment, most likely because it was too far off topic on that particular post. Sorry about that Cory, mea culpa.

  12. e platypus onion 2022-12-21 11:42

    George Will has voiced his displeasure with magat antics on numerous occasions in the recent past. I think he may have sidelined hisownself from this suicide in slow motion.

  13. Mark Anderson 2022-12-21 19:18

    Well George Will has been a cubs fan forever. Who knows, he used to be a center norm according to himself. He’s been a helper for the crazies who have made him leave. What does he have now?

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