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Minnesota Secretary of State:

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    Since the 2020 election, voting – for various reasons – has soared to the top of the public’s focus. “Voting is fraudulent or too prone to fraud,” “Voting is difficult or too Jim Crow-like,” are some of the varying arguments. Regardless of the merits of these positions and those in between, this focus on voting has jolted the once sleepy races for secretary of state into higher prominence than years past. Here in Minnesota, a popular secretary state, twice elected, won his 2018 race with 52.25% of the vote. If he loses in his third running, what are the opportunities for major changes to voting in Minnesota? The answer depends on who controls the legislature and the governor’s seat. In addition to Minnesota gaining a new secretary of state, we could also see a new governor and either a legislature with single-party control, or the continued moderating influence of a split legislature. These political variations are important to keep in mind because the secretary of state alone can’t pass law, and a new secretary of state would be limited in...
    The Minnesota campaign drawing the most national attention – and the most national money – isn’t the race for governor or the 2nd Congressional District. Instead, it is the race to determine whether DFLer Steve Simon wins a third term as secretary of state.  Simon was among a handful of elections officials on the cover of Time magazine who were depicted as “The Defenders: Inside the Fight to Save America’s Elections.” He faces GOP nominee Kim Crockett, who wants to curtail early voting and limit absentee ballots. This usually sleepy, down-ballot contest is this year one of a handful of secretary of state races across the U.S. testing whether the Donald Trump-led denial of the 2020 election results has political potency.  “The Real Winner of GOP’s 2022 Primaries Was Denial of 2020 Election,” read one headline from Bloomberg. “Dems light up airwaves in key secretary of state races,” was the headline in Politico. Both include the Minnesota race among those being targeted. Article continues after advertisement And it’s not just about national news stories. But the same campaigns making headlines,...
    by Anthony Gockowski   The top candidates for Minnesota secretary of state squared off in their first debate Sunday night on WCCO Radio and the gloves came off almost immediately. “My mission as secretary of state has been to protect the freedom to vote for every eligible Minnesotan. I’ve been proud to do that work with fairness, impartiality, and integrity, leading to results that we can all be really proud of,” said Secretary Steve Simon, a Democrat seeking a third term as Minnesota’s chief elections official. He attacked his opponent, Republican Kim Crockett, for having a “darker vision for our democracy,” saying she is motivated by “disturbing hyper-partisanship and increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories.” “Her extremism is unfortunate and it is disqualifying,” he continued, criticizing her doubts about the 2020 election. Crockett responded by calling for a debate on policy, not personalities. “Instead of talking about policy differences, the media and partisans demonize differences of opinion. As a result, many people tune out politics as angry and divisive, and few things are more divisive than the topic of elections,” she...
    This Tuesday, August 9, Republican voters in Minnesota will nominate a secretary of state candidate — and the far-right MAGA Republican endorsed by the Minnesota GOP is Kim Crockett, former vice president and general counsel of the think tank Center of the American Experiment. Crockett has been controversial for a variety of reasons, including questioning whether or not the disabled should have the right to vote. HuffPost recently unearthed some audio from 2020 in which Crockett told a talk show host, “The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that indeed, you can help an unlimited number of people vote if they are disabled or can’t read or speak English — which raises the question: Should they be voting? Um, we can talk about that another time.” In response to an article by HuffPost’s Travis Waldron published on August 5, Crockett denied she was questioning whether or not the disabled should be allowed to vote during that 2020 interview. Crockett, on August 6, tweeted that her remarks were “completely taken out of context.” READ MORE: A far-right 'Stop the Steal' Republican may...
    Welcome to the Glean, MinnPost’s twice-daily roundup of Minnesota news. For the AP Todd Richmond and Christina Cassidy write, “Wisconsin’s secretary of state has no role in elections, but that could change if Republicans are able to flip the seat this year and pass a law that would empower the office with far more responsibilities. All three GOP candidates competing for the nomination in Tuesday’s primary support the shift and echo former President Donald Trump’s false claims that fraud cost him the 2020 election. … In Minnesota, the leading Republican candidate has called the 2020 election ‘rigged’ and has faced criticism for a video attacking three prominent Jewish Democrats, including the current secretary of state, Democrat Steve Simon, who is seeking reelection.” In the New York Times editorial writer Michelle Cottle writes, “Of all the political quandaries and questions of the 2022 midterms, one burns especially bright: How is it that Senator Ron Johnson, the two-term Republican from Wisconsin, remains a remotely viable candidate for re-election? The Trump era has given us so many … let’s say, colorful … characters....
    Republicans at the GOP state party convention in Rochester did most of what they planned to do Friday — and avoided some hurdles along the way. After defeating moves to require paper balloting instead of using electronic counting and heading off a move to deny delegates to party affiliate groups — including gay Republicans — the 2,200 delegates endorsed candidates for auditor, secretary of state and attorney general. Kim Crockett, an attorney who has been active in challenging the results of the 2020 election, was endorsed for secretary of state. Jim Schultz won the endorsement for attorney general. And Ryan Wilson, the only candidate seeking the party endorsement for state auditor, was endorsed as well. Endorsement requires winning 60 percent support from the 2,200 convention delegates.  Article continues after advertisement Unlike the DFL, which has nominated non-endorsed candidates for governor in 2010 and 2018, Republican primary voters give great weight to the endorsements. In the last thirty years, just once has a non-endorsed Republican candidate for statewide office won the party’s primary. The same convention is set to endorse a...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon is the latest public official in the state to test positive for COVID-19. His office announced Tuesday evening that he tested positive for the virus. READ MORE: After Noting Need In North Minneapolis, Group Takes Testing Matters Into Their Own Hands“I took a PCR test on Saturday, and have been quarantining since then in an abundance of caution. I feel fine, probably because I’m fully vaccinated and boosted. At this point, I will continue to quarantine for the full ten-day period recommended in state and federal guidelines. I’ll keep working during that time, as I’ve been doing so far this week,” he said, in a statement. Simon urged Minnesotans to get vaccinated, as health experts say the vaccines significantly lessen the likelihood of severe illness. READ MORE: 'Plan Accordingly': Minnesotans Told To Expect More Disruptions As Omicron SpreadsMinnesota and the nation are currently experiencing a surge in cases linked to the Omicron variant. Earlier on Tuesday, state health officials announced that the state’s average positivity rate is now...
    NEW YORK (AP/WCCO) — Major League Baseball announced Friday it was moving this summer’s All-Star Game from Atlanta’s Truist Park, a response to Georgia enacting a new law last month restricting voting rights. MLB had awarded the game to Atlanta in May 2019 and the game was scheduled for July 13 as part of baseball’s midsummer break that includes the Futures Game on July 11 and Home Run Derby the following night. READ MORE: Paige Bueckers, Aari McDonald Propel UConn And Arizona To Final Four Commissioner Rob Manfred made the decision to move the All-Star events and the amateur draft, which had been scheduled to be held in Atlanta for the first time. A new ballpark for this year’s events wasn’t immediately revealed. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Steve Simon tweeted Friday afternoon that MLB officials should consider Minnesota as the substitute host for the game, saying the state has “pro-voter election laws, and the #1 voter turnout in the nation.” Hey @MLB, we in Minnesota would welcome the All-Star Game! Bonus: We have pro-voter election laws, and the #1 voter...
    MinnPost photo by Peter CallaghanSecretary of State Steve Simon, center, has battled with state Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer over election administration, especially on the issues of Voter ID  and provisional ballots.It would be the hottest ticket in St. Paul, if you had to buy tickets for legislative committee hearings held via teleconferencing: the Senate Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee whenever Secretary of State Steve Simon appears before Committee Chair Mary Kiffmeyer. The two have never been close. Kiffmeyer, a Republican from Big Lake, used to have Simon’s job, serving two terms before she was defeated by DFLer Mark Ritchie in 2006. After Ritchie chose not to run in 2014, fellow DFLer Simon took up the job. Both Ritchie and Simon battled with Kiffmeyer over election administration, especially on the issues of Voter ID  and provisional ballots. But what had been a tense-but-civil relationship has become one of open antagonism — for the same reason much of state and national politics has: the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.  ‘A shame that will never, ever wash off’ The result of...
    Just another day in this totally normal election year. KARE’s Emily Haavik reports: “The Department of Justice (DOJ) plans to send staff to Minneapolis to monitor voting compliance, but Minnesota’s Secretary of State said those agents will not be allowed into polling places without an invitation. … The DOJ announced Monday that it will monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws on Election Day in 44 jurisdictions, including Minneapolis. … Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said on a briefing with reporters Monday morning that he had just learned of the DOJ’s plans.” That is a lot of early votes. The Star Tribune’s Stephen Montemayor reports: “Staring down an election without precedent, Minnesota officials entered the final push to ensure all voters’ ballots could be counted amid a historic surge in mail voting, legal challenges, federal monitors and elevated fears of conflict at polling places. … Secretary of State Steve Simon said Monday that a record 1,716,575 absentee ballots had been returned and accepted as of the morning — 58% of the total turnout for 2016. Another 338,944 requested absentee...
    A federal appeals court has upended Minnesota Democratic Secretary of State Steve Simon's plan to extend the state's vote counting deadline by seven days. In a 2-1 decision Thursday, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Republican state representative and GOP activist could challenge Simon's order to extend the deadline and ordered that all ballots received after election day must be separated "to be removed from vote totals in the event a final order is entered by a court of competent jurisdiction determining such votes to be invalid or unlawfully counted." "However well-intentioned and appropriate from a policy perspective in the context of a pandemic during a presidential election, it is not the province of a state executive official to re-write the state's election code," the decision added. "There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution." Reuters reported that while Minnesota law requires absentee ballots be received by Election Day, the deadline had been extended by Simon through a settlement reached with a citizens group which sued earlier in the year. Under the settlement, mail-in...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Nearly 1.2 million Minnesotans have already cast their ballots — that is about one-third of the expected number that will be cast. Minnesota is one of the states that will be counting votes not just on Election Day but after. Here in Minnesota and across the country, the biggest early voting numbers are coming from traditionally Democratic areas. And that’s not surprising considering Democrats have been pushing early voting by mail for months, while President Trump has raised concerns about mail-in voting. Minnesota is one of the states that will keep counting ballots that arrive after Election Day, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. Minnesota will count ballots for seven days until Nov. 10. Other states will count postmarked ballots for a shorter number of days, but some states won’t count anything that arrives after Nov. 3. Some analysts believe this could lead to voter confusion. Secretary of State Steve Simon was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning. “Well only confusion in the sense that someone who is paying attention to what the deadlines...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With just over a month away from Election Day, Minnesota’s Secretary of State is reassuring voters not to question the integrity of the election, following comments made by President Donald Trump at a rally in Duluth Wednesday night. “Did you see in New York today? A hundred thousand fraudulent ballots,” Trump said. “This is crazy what is going on, this is crazy. From St. Paul to St. Cloud, from Minneapolis to Minnetonka.” While New York City is scrambling to send out 100,000 corrected ballots, there is no such problem in Minnesota. More than a million voters in this state have requested absentee ballots. “We have had this since World War I. This is not new, unique or radical; it’s time-tested, and we have three layers of security in Minnesota,” Secretary of State Steve Simon said. Those three absentee ballot security measures are requiring social security or driver’s license numbers on returned ballots, individualized bar codes on each ballot, and requiring signatures on each returned ballot. At least 12 Democratic governors have vowed “every ballot will be counted.”...
              Minnesota’s Secretary of State Steve Simon is sending letters telling those who haven’t requested an absentee ballot to vote from home. An estimated 2.3 million voters will receive the letter and an absentee ballot application. The letter asserts that staying safe and keeping other citizens healthy “means voting from home.” “During a pandemic, we have to view this election as a public health challenge. In a normal year, the appeal of voting from home is a comfort and a convenience,” Simon stated in the press release. “But this year, it’s also a public service – because every person who votes from home is making the polling place a little bit safer for voters who need or prefer to vote in person. This mailing is all about making sure Minnesota voters know that voting from home is easy, safe, and secure.” The United States Postal Service (USPS) sent a letter in May warning election officials nationwide that the surge of mail-in ballots surrounding election dates may result in delayed deliveries impacting voting deadlines. “[T]he Postal Service cannot...
    Roger Sollenberger August 15, 2020 2:29AM (UTC) Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said he is "worried" about a "coordinated effort at the federal level" to scare voters from using mail-in ballots after the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) warned his state that its vote-by-mail deadline might be too tight for the agency's "delivery standards."  Forty-five more states have reportedly been warned of potential voter disenfranchisement resulting from delays in delivering mail-in ballots. : "The letters have everyone a little unsettled," Simon told Salon in a call. "We don't know what to make of it." The warnings come amid a flurry of attacks from President Donald Trump against the practice of voting by mail, including a public threat this week to block new funding from the USPS in an apparent effort to sabotage plans to expand the practice ahead of Election Day. "They need that money in order to have the Post Office work, so it can take all of these millions of ballots," Trump told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo on Thursday. "If they don't get those two items, that means you can't have universal mail-in voting. Because they're not equipped."...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This year’s primary was, of course, unlike any other in recent times. The pandemic pushed many to vote by mail. As of Tuesday night, the state had accepted 500,000 absentee ballots. This year’s mail-in ballots surpass the total number of people who voted in the entire 2016 primary — and that’s not counting people who voted in person. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon says potentially tens of thousands of absentee ballots will be counted in the next day or two. Simon visited polling places Tuesday and based on what he viewed and heard from election judges, the election went well. He called it a successful dress rehearsal for the general election. “We’re on pace to shatter a bunch of records when it comes to people voting from home as well,” Simon said. “So, generally, I think high turnout, high interest, high energy, high intensity, what you’d expect in a presidential year in Minnesota.”
    MinnPost file photo by Briana BierschbachSecretary of State Steve Simon stipulated to claims made in two different lawsuits that Minnesota’s witness requirement could endanger primary voters who are self-isolating to avoid infection from the coronavirus.Minnesota voters choosing to cast ballots by mail this summer will not have to find another registered voter to witness their signatures, the result of agreements between the Minnesota secretary of state and groups challenging the requirement in court. Whether the witness requirement will be required for the November general election is still pending before state and federal courts. Secretary of State Steve Simon stipulated to claims made in two different lawsuits that Minnesota’s witness requirement could endanger primary voters who are self-isolating to avoid infection from the coronavirus. On Wednesday, a Ramsey County judge signed off on the agreement in the case of Minnesota Alliance for Retired Americans v. Simon.  On Thursday, a hearing will be held before U.S. District Judge Eric C. Tostrud on a proposed agreement in another case, League of Women Voters Education Fund v. Simon. In addition to waiving the witness...
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