Secretary of State Steve Simon wants to make Minnesota No. 1 again — in voter turnout, that is. Simon, the state’s top elections official, has been barnstorming the state in recent months, promoting his voting effort so that Minnesota can reclaim its top spot nationally for civic engagement. For nearly 10 elections in a row, Minnesota had bragging rights, ranking first among all states for its voter turnout rate. That was until 2014. About half of eligible voters cast ballots that year, making Minnesota No. 6, falling behind states like Wisconsin, Maine and Oregon. In 2012 — during President Obama’s re-election — more than 75 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.
“For nine elections in a row, we were No. 1 in the country, and we slipped a bit in 2014 … which is still very decent but not quite up to our usual Minnesota standards,” Simon said. “What I’ve done is issue a challenge for all of us to try to get back to No. 1. We can’t do it alone.”
Simon, a former state legislator who specialized in elections law, has even enlisted the help of some well-known professional athletes.