Minnesota Secretary Of State - Secretary Simon Statement on Elections amid COVID-19 Pandemic
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Secretary Simon Statement on Elections amid COVID-19 Pandemic

March 26, 2020

SAINT PAUL — Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon today issued the following statement and video address about the current COVID-19 pandemic and the Office's work to safeguard Minnesota's upcoming elections:

"The current public health crisis has been a serious test for all Minnesotans. It has also been a test for our democracy. I've heard from many Minnesotans who wonder how, or even if, we will vote in this high-stakes election year. My answer is clear: The 2020 statewide elections should go on as scheduled.

It is important that we be prepared for a different kind of election than we're used to. There are many options available, and which one we use will depend on what our world looks like on Election Day."

Some of the pandemic election options Secretary Simon is exploring include:

  • Statewide mail ballots: Under this option, each registered voter is mailed a ballot to be completed at home, and returned by mail.
  • Expanded absentee voting: Minnesotans would be encouraged to vote absentee under our current system. An expanded absentee plan might include:
    • Reducing the number of polling places
    • Limiting polling places to centralized locations
    • Moving polling places out of vulnerable areas, such as senior care facilities

"Whatever option we use, we'll do this thoughtfully and carefully. No one should have to choose between their health and their right to vote. There are a number of costs, variables, and trade-offs to consider, and planning at all levels of government will be crucial. I am actively having conversations with counties, cities, and other partners to explore how we might proceed.

There are also debates happening in Congress right now about whether, and to what extent, to help states with the cost of increased voting by mail. Whatever the outcome of those discussions, rest assured that we in Minnesota are working on an election plan now. My mission is the same, even amid a pandemic: to make voting as easy as possible for all eligible Minnesotans."

On March 16, 2020, The Office of the Secretary of State announced temporary changes to operations, in accordance with recommendations from Gov. Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health, aimed at reducing transmission of COVID-19. Find more information and updates on the COVID-19 Response page.