ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Secretary of State Steve Simon says Minnesota’s election security safeguards are in “very good shape” heading into the 2018 elections even though he’s been unable to tap federal money for a long-term upgrade project.
Simon says his office has worked with federal and local officials to strengthen the system and minimize any risks. He says officials now know more about efforts by “elements associated with the Russian government” to hack the state’s election system in 2016, and how to prevent them again.
But Simon will have to wait until next year for legislative authorization to get a share of the $6.6 billion in federal cybersecurity money. That clearance fell victim to partisan wrangling last session.
Simon wants to use the money for upgrading the software for the state’s 14-year-old Statewide Voter Registration System.
Polls are open to voters in Minnesota’s primary election. State elections officials are reminding voters that they can only vote for candidates in one party. If you vote for candidates in both, your ballot won’t count.
Minnesota has an open primary, so you don’t have to register as a member of one political party or another to vote. There are nonpartisan offices on the back of the ballot which include local races. Since they aren’t partisan, you can vote for any candidate. The two candidates with the most votes in those races move on to the general election.
The polls will close at 8 p.m.
Minnesota voters are confronting their busiest primary election in recent memory, with races for governor, both Senate seats and three congressional seats all on the ballot.
The biggest unsettled question may be the Democratic primary to succeed Gov. Mark Dayton. U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, Attorney General Lori Swanson and state Rep. Erin Murphy all had a path to victory.
On the Republican side, former two-term Gov. Tim Pawlenty carried big advantages in money and name recognition against Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson. County Commissioner Jeff Johnson was the party’s endorsed candidate.
Other key races include Senate appointee Tina Smith trying to nail down the nomination to finish the last two years of Al Franken’s term. And Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress, is leaving to try for attorney general.
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)