Incumbent Secretary of State's View: Minnesota elections are fair, accurate, honest, secure
From the column: "Minnesotans vote in such high numbers because they have a basic level of confidence in our system."
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 make Minnesota the envy of the nation. I want to do even more to strengthen our democracy.
We have overcome challenges, and we’ve thrived. In 2020, despite the uncertainty and anxiety of a once-in-a-century pandemic, we led the nation in voter turnout for the third time in a row. Nearly 80% of our eligible voters stood up, leaned in, and cast a ballot. Turnout was up in rural and metro areas alike. That amazing achievement was no accident. It happened because we pulled in the same direction across political party lines, removed obstacles from the paths of voters, and made sure through absentee balloting that no Minnesotan had to choose between their health and their freedom to vote.
The success of Minnesota’s elections stems from strong laws and rules, enacted over many years by both Republicans and Democrats — and focused on access for everyday eligible voters. I’ve worked hard to expand that access. I helped pass the law to ensure people get time off from work to vote. I expanded voting protections for members of our National Guard, and I’ve made voter registration easier for our military veterans.
I have proudly overseen multiple layers of review and accountability. Tabulation equipment must pass state certification and local accuracy tests that are open to the public. Votes are verified by dedicated election workers at counties and cities in thousands of polling locations across our state.
When others unfairly attack the integrity of our elections, they are often attacking those poll workers — our friends, neighbors, and fellow Minnesotans who are proud to ensure our elections are sound. Their work is subject to post-election reviews and audits at the county and state level, all in public view. Minnesotans vote in such high numbers because they have a basic level of confidence in our system.
We should be proud of our successes, but we can’t be complacent. We face big threats like the wave of disinformation about our election system that’s designed for political purposes to undermine faith in our democracy. It’s wrong and dangerous. It inspired a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol and attacks on the freedom to vote throughout the country.
Here’s the truth: Minnesota elections are fundamentally fair, accurate, honest, and secure. There were 17 instances of proven voter misconduct since the 2020 election. We all want the number to be zero, but with 3.3 million voters, that number is microscopic. Our system is clean.
My opponent has a darker vision of our democracy, motivated by disturbing hyper partisanship and increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories. She called the 2020 election “rigged” and vowed to “starve” our absentee-ballot system. She made national news for publicly questioning whether voters with disabilities who need help in the polling place should even be voting at all. She has even suggested that postal workers are a risk to ballot security. Her extremism is unfortunate and disqualifying.
I want to build on Minnesota’s success story. Going forward, we can find common ground on bipartisan reforms like automatic voter registration, pre-registration for high school students, and restoring the vote to those who have left prison behind.
In Minnesota, we care about protecting the freedom to vote. We believe every eligible voter should have a say, regardless of politics, zip code, or background. It’s who we are. If I’m re-elected as Minnesota secretary of state, it’s who we’ll continue to be.
Steve Simon of Hopkins is the incumbent DFL secretary of state in Minnesota. He wrote this for the News Tribune at the invitation of the Opinion page.