ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Secretary of State Challenger's View: Minnesota in need of better election laws

From the column: "I’ve been labeled an 'election denier' and much worse because I am critical of election policy. ... My observations are not wild-eyed or irresponsible. They represent the views of everyday Minnesotans who want to know their vote counts."

Kim Crockett
Kim Crockett is a Republican candidate for Minnesota Secretary of State.
Submitted photo
We are part of The Trust Project.

Minnesota’s secretary of state race is getting a lot of attention.

This is good news if it sheds light on Minnesota’s election laws and leads to common-sense improvements that will boost everyone’s confidence about election results. Why? Because the fighting over “who won” is tearing our country apart. The only way to calm things down is to use your vote to elect leaders who will enact better laws.

From the column: "Minnesotans vote in such high numbers because they have a basic level of confidence in our system."

The Office of the Secretary of State oversees elections. The SOS race is partisan, but the secretary should never use his office to favor his own party.

You only have one vote. It is your most important civil right as a citizen. Your vote should never be canceled by fraud, partisanship, or carelessness. Shouldn’t we set a high bar for how votes are cast and counted?

Instead, incumbent Secretary Steve Simon emphasizes voter convenience and turnout at the expense of ballot security. He does this because it favors his Democratic party.

ADVERTISEMENT

I’ve been labeled an “election denier” and much worse because I am critical of election policy and Secretary Simon’s eight-year administration. My observations are not wild-eyed or irresponsible. They represent the views of everyday Minnesotans who want to know their vote counts.

A Sept. 18 poll revealed that only 56% of likely voters were very confident that the coming election will be counted accurately, and 42% were less than very confident or not sure. That is a stunning failure and suggests it is time for a change in leadership and an election-law upgrade.

Is Minnesota election law good enough for your one precious vote? You decide.

Thirty-five out of 50 states, Mexico, and all of Europe (except the UK) require IDs to vote, but Minnesota does not. We have same-day voter registration, but unlike 47 other states, we do not use provisional ballots to be sure the voter was eligible. We even allow other voters to “vouch” for the eligibility of someone with no identification. I call that the “Ole and Lena Rule.” Would TSA agents let you on a plane because someone in line “vouched” for you?

This means Minnesota counts ballots before the eligibility of a voter has been verified; if the voter is discovered to have been ineligible to vote, it is too late. The damage is done.

We also rely on voting equipment requiring skills and expertise that may exceed what can consistently be administered by local election officials.

Most European nations strictly limit absentee ballots because of fraud. But Secretary Simon, the chief architect of election policy, has moved Minnesota away from in-person voting to six long weeks of less-secure early absentee voting that depends on a mail system experiencing significant performance problems.

In 2020, under the cover of COVID-19, Secretary Simon allowed Mark Zuckerberg’s nonprofit to spend $7.1 million to “assist” the election process in mostly Democratic strongholds. Simon extended the date absentee ballots could be counted and agreed to waive important security protections without permission from the Legislature.

ADVERTISEMENT

Simon’s actions were declared “unconstitutional” by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court had to remind Simon he lacked authority to make or change laws, stating, "There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution."

The Democratic Party has controlled the secretary of state’s office for almost 16 years in Minnesota and has dominated legislative policy for decades. Over that time, voting may have become easier, but opportunities for fraud and mistakes have multiplied.

We can boost confidence and even voter turnout with better election laws, like requiring photo IDs at polling places. Then our elected leaders can work more effectively together to solve big things that affect our daily lives, like chaos in our schools, inflation, and skyrocketing crime.

Kim Crockett of Excelsior is the Republican candidate for Minnesota secretary of state. She wrote this for the News Tribune at the invitation of the Opinion page.

Related Topics: ELECTION 2022
What to read next
From the column: "It is being sold as a device to aid the less fortunate, but it is really a transfer of tax dollars from lower-income earners to higher-income earners."
From the column: "The system is broken and must be fixed. Biden’s plan to cancel student debt is a first step."
From the column: "For nearly 80 years, the specter of nuclear war has loomed over humanity. We may try to deny it, to ignore it, to bury it under distractions, but nuclear weapons are a real threat to all children."
From the column: "What if we all, especially post-boomers, focus on communicating directly with each other starting earlier in life, and not just on social media?"