Republican candidate Kim Crockett (left) and DFL Secretary of State Steve Simon (right). Credit: MPR News

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The current Minnesota secretary of state is Steve Simon, a Democrat was elected to the office in 2014 and before that served in the Minnesota House of Representatives. His challenger is Kim Crockett, a Republican and attorney who has never held public office.

The candidates for have largely focused their public comments and debates on election integrity and generally avoided other hot-button issues that the office does not have influence over, such as abortion and crime.

Here are some highlights of each candidate’s stance on voting rights and election integrity.  

The 2020 election

Kim Crockett (R): She has said the 2020 election was “rigged.” In a January interview about the 2020 election, she said “I don’t think the word ‘lawless’ is too strong.” When asked about a video where she called herself the “denier-in-chief” of the 2020 election, Crockett said she was taken out of context, and she was joking about how the media had characterized her. Still, she said many Minnesotans have legitimate concerns about election integrity.

Steve Simon (D): Simon said Minnesota’s elections are fair and people have so much confidence in them that the state routinely leads the nation in voter turnout. Simon also said on Twitter, “It’s dead wrong and deeply disturbing to suggest our elections are “rigged” and “lawless” – and to compare a change in election rules to the 9/11 terrorist attack on our nation,” referring to comments Crockett made.

This year’s midterm elections 

Crockett: When asked during a WCCO debate about whether she would accept the results of the upcoming election, Crockett declined to answer and instead said, “We aren’t there yet. We’re weeks out. And we’ll just have to see what happens between now and the certification of the election.” She later walked that back, saying “I will accept the result of the 2022 election, win or lose,” but added “As for my confidence in the administration of the 2022 election, that is a different question which I will answer after the election is held.”

Simon: “We’ve got a great team system in Minnesota. Our office, the office of secretary of state has a role to play,” Simon said in the debate. “But so too do local governments. We are teammates. We have to have each other’s backs and I’m in constant touch with our partners, our teammates at the county and city level to make sure that come what may, we are prepared just as we were in 2020.”

Voting rights and voter access 

Crockett: She told BallotPedia that she wants to “require photo ID and provisional ballots; reduce 46-day early voting period; clean up voter rolls; require party-balanced absentee ballot boards; ban drop boxes and ballot harvesting; review voting technology; require random post-election audits; require citizenship to vote.” In the WCCO debate, she said same-day voter registration, which Minnesota has credit as a factor in its high voter turnout, has “undermined our sense of fairness and confidence in the system for quite some time.” 

Simon: In the WCCO debate, Simon said a voter ID law in Minnesota is unnecessary and would disenfranchise eligible voters. Minnesotans rejected a constitutional amendment 10 years ago which would have required voter ID.

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Sarah Thamer

Sarah Thamer is a senior reporter for the MPR News Race, Class and Communities team.