Two weeks into his term as Minnesota’s new secretary of state, Steve Simon has a goal to make voting as easy as possible for the state’s residents. Simon, a former DFL legislator from Hopkins, in 2014 helped bring about no-excuse absentee voting, which he said has been a huge success. He said there was a 55 percent increase in people utilizing absentee voting during the election in 2014 when compared to 2010, another non-presidential election year. With no-excuse absentee voting passed, he is now focusing on implementing what he calls “true early voting.” Simon said under absentee voting, voters place their vote in an envelope and either mail or bring it into the Freeborn County Courthouse, where it remains locked up until the election and is then counted.
Under early voting, people can go in to their county courthouse, and their vote is tabulated the same day, he said. A running tally of votes preceding the election would not be available to the public.
“It has the advantage for voter peace of mind and would save time and money,” he said.
He noted 32 states in the country have it, including all of the states surrounding Minnesota: North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin.