Candidate's View: Minnesota's back to No. 1 — let's stay there

When I took office in 2015, I pledged to be a secretary for all Minnesotans. I promised to work with anyone of any political affiliation and from any part of our state.


When I took office in 2015, I pledged to be a secretary for all Minnesotans. I promised to work with anyone of any political affiliation and from any part of our state.

I'm proud to say I've kept my promise. Every year for the past four years, I've visited all 87 counties in Minnesota. One thing stands out from those visits: The best ideas come from all over Minnesota. Those ideas have led to outstanding results.

A big part of my job as secretary of state is overseeing our nation-leading election system. My mission is simple: to make voting as easy as possible for all eligible Minnesotans while upholding the integrity and security that have made us so successful. The positive outcomes speak for themselves. I'm particularly proud of my role in leading Minnesota back to No. 1 in voter turnout in America (up from No. 6). That achievement required creativity, innovation, and partnerships with people and organizations all over Minnesota. Together, we've created voter-outreach initiatives that other states copy.

I expanded voting opportunities for students, for military service members, for workers, and for new citizens. Those breakthroughs happened because I worked with legislators from both major political parties.

I successfully fought the federal government's attempt to collect sensitive personal information on millions of Minnesota voters. Privacy matters. Nobody who registers to vote in Minnesota should have to worry that their personal information will end up in the hands of outside agencies or groups with political agendas.


My office kept our election system safe and secure when the Russian government targeted Minnesota during the 2016 election. Since then, our team has worked internally and with federal intelligence officials to make our system as secure as possible.

I helped lead the successful effort to get millions of dollars from the Minnesota Legislature for counties and cities to purchase new and more-secure election equipment. I invited federal cybersecurity experts into our office to assess potential vulnerabilities. And I have been granted a "secret" level of federal security clearance that allows me to review classified intelligence information about security threats.

Going forward, I'll work to get automated voter registration, expanded early voting, pre-registration for high school students, redistricting reform, the restoration of voting rights for those who left prison behind, and transparency in our campaign-finance system.

As secretary of state, I also oversee a wide range of business-related filings. My office has made it easier to start and maintain a business in Minnesota. We've cut red tape and expanded online offerings. We've also provided valuable new resources like the Minnesota Business Snapshot, a short and voluntary survey for all new and existing businesses. More than 240,000 businesses have participated so far, and the resulting information is a resource not just for businesses but for individuals, journalists, academics, economic development authorities, and associations of all kinds.

Another critical function of my office is to administer Safe at Home, an address-confidentiality system for survivors of domestic violence, victims of stalking, and others who fear for their safety. The program saves lives, providing protection during the worst time in people's lives. It's a model for the rest of the nation. In fact, numerous states have enlisted us to help them start or expand their own programs. That's the highest compliment of all.

I respectfully ask for your vote. I want to continue to defend our democracy, to add even more valuable resources for small businesses, and to provide extra protection for the physically vulnerable.

As always, I'll be a secretary of state for all Minnesotans.

Steve Simon of Hopkins is the DFL Minnesota Secretary of State ( He wrote this at the invitation of the News Tribune Opinion page. Election Day is Nov. 6.

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