MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Democratic state Rep. Steve Simon has been elected secretary of state, defeating Republican former state Rep. Dan Severson.

Simon will take over as Minnesota’s chief elections officer from Democrat Mark Ritchie, who chose not to run again.

Simon, a private practice lawyer who represents Hopkins and St. Louis Park, served as chairman of the House Elections Committee and authored a law that makes it easier to vote early. He also supported making it easier for felons to regain voting rights and opposed a proposed voter ID requirement.

Severson, a former Navy fighter pilot, unsuccessfully ran against Ritchie four years ago. He campaigned for creating express lanes at the polls for voters who voluntarily show photo IDs.

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