“My passion is to make it as easy as possible to vote.”
Detroit Lakes Tribune: Big turnout in November? Simon strives to improve voting process
By Nathan Bowe
Look for a big turnout for the Nov. 8 general election, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said in Detroit Lakes Wednesday.
He doesn’t subscribe to the theory that unpopular presidential candidates with the two major parties will tamp down turnout among voters, who might be tempted to say “a pox on both their houses.”
For one thing, it’s an open-seat presidential election year, and those events tend to draw a big turnout.
“We also have two major party nominees who inspire strong feelings, so we’re probably going to see even more turnout than we would on a regular open-seat presidential year,” he said at a public forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Detroit Lakes Area and held at Emmanuel nursing home in Detroit Lakes.
“I’m predicting high turnout, not depressed turnout,” Simon said.
Minnesota is known for its civic-minded voters, he said. For nine elections in a row, Minnesota had the best voter turnout in the nation, but in the election of 2014, “we fell to No. 6,” he said. “My goal this year is to help get us back to No. 1 – but my office can’t do it on our own, we have to reach out to all kinds of organizations.”
Legislative action is also needed for the state to get back to No. 1.
“We have to make sure we pass and maintain laws that encourage voting and participation,” he said.
For example, Minnesota is one of only 11 states that allow same-day registration, allowing people to register and vote at the same time.
That needs to be preserved, and overly-strict voter identification laws must continue to be rejected, he said.
Minnesotans can register online and request an absentee ballot, among other things, at MNvotes.org.
On the site, you can learn how to vote early by absentee ballot, vote from the military, or abroad, and how to vote in a mail ballot precinct.
On the plus side, Minnesota now has no-excuses absentee voting, he said.