(credit: CBS)

Welcome to WCCO.com’s 2018 political guide!

We reached out to all Minnesota candidates running for U.S Senate, Governor, U.S Congress, Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Auditor this fall. Candidates were asked to provide a two-minute video discussing their platform as well as answer a set of our viewer’s questions.

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Above is the video and below are the answers Steve Simon provided. This is not a paid advertisement nor does WCCO endorse any candidate.

Responses from Steve Simon, DFL candidate for Secretary of State:

Do you believe there is voter fraud in Minnesota?

In our last statewide election we had nearly three million votes cast. So far, eleven of those ballots—out of almost three million—were found to be the result of fraud. There isn’t an election system on the face of the earth that will guarantee you an error rate of absolute zero, but the good news is that ours is 0.00037 percent, which is considered very, very good. You have a much greater chance of being struck by lightning on your way to the polls than you do of witnessing voter fraud once you get there. Our election system is among the cleanest and most honest in the nation. That’s because Minnesota has rigorous checks and balances before, during, and after balloting that ensure integrity.

Do you agree with President Trump that “millions of illegal immigrants” voted in the 2016 presidential election, including Minnesota?

No. The President’s claim is baseless and irresponsible.

Should Minnesota voters be required to show identification before they cast a ballot?

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No. The people of Minnesota have spoken on this exact question – we even voted it down when it was a statewide ballot question. To say to millions of Minnesotans, “From now on, you can’t exercise your right to vote unless you provide us with some government-issued ID card” – that’s going to shut out thousands and thousands of people who we know are eligible to vote. That makes no sense. It would be like saying, “A couple of Minnesotans died last year because they got struck by lightning, so from now on everyone needs to buy a government-issued lightning rod that they can attach to their car.” At some point the cure gets to be worse than the disease, which is probably why Minnesotans have made it clear, time and time again, that this so-called “solution” is just not something we want or need

Should Minnesota consider online or by-mail voting options?

I would only support actual online voting once we can guarantee the security of the vote, but I’m afraid we’re many years away from that. I’ve been a strong supporter of vote-by-mail options. I wrote our “no excuses absentee law,” which allows every eligible voter to vote from home and return their ballot by mail. As a result, nearly 23 percent of Minnesotans now use and enjoy the convenience of voting before election day on their own timetable. I also wrote the law allowing for online voter registration, a huge convenience for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans who can now log on to mnvotes.org and register in a couple of minutes.

Should ranked choice voting be instituted for statewide elections?

Whether a city uses ranked-choice voting should be a decision for each city. If voters in a city like ranked choice voting, they should be allowed to try it and keep it. If voters don’t like it, then cities should have the authority to ditch it. Although I’m not ready to endorse ranked choice for statewide elections, I’ve been a strong supporter of allowing more cities to experiment with RCV. The current system makes it hard for many cities to try it out. That’s unfair. Ranked choice voting is a fascinating experiment that has the potential promise to provide more candidate options for voters.

What is the most important challenge facing Minnesota’s voting system in the next 10 years?

The number one threat to the integrity of our election system nationally and in Minnesota is the danger of a cyber-attack by outside forces trying to destabilize our democracy. Minnesota was one of the 21 states targeted by Russian hackers in 2016. Fortunately, we passed the test and kept out all intruders. But election cybersecurity is a race without a finish line. We have to stay focused on it and not be distracted by other issues. That kind of focus has required time, attention, and resources. I’ve spent much of the past year working on a bipartisan and cooperative basis with members of Congress like Senator Amy Klobuchar, state legislators, county election administrators, and federal intelligence officials to make our strong system even more secure.

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