Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Press Release
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Secretary Simon Calls on Legislature to Fix Flawed Timeline for Future Special Elections


February 7, 2019

Secretary of State Steve Simon today announced that he is working with the legislature to extend the time period for future special elections. Under current state law, the Governor must call for a special election when there is a legislative vacancy during the legislative session. A vacancy opened earlier this year in Senate District 11. As a result of that vacancy, on January 3, 2019, former Governor Mark Dayton called for a Special Election in Senate District 11. State Law allows only 35 days between the Governor’s issuance of a Writ of Special Election to the date of the General Election.

“I’ve been hearing from frustrated voters in Senate District 11 who are concerned their vote won’t be counted,” said Secretary Simon. “I share their frustration and that’s why I am working with the legislature to fix the timeline for carrying out future special elections. There is simply not enough time under the current law to hold a primary and general election, and to ensure the ease of voting that Minnesotans expect.”

SD11 encompasses parts of Carlton, Kanabec, Pine, and St. Louis Counties. Carlton and Pine counties include some mail-ballot only precincts. Because of the truncated timeline for this special election, some mail ballot voters were unable to return their ballots on or before Primary Election Day. Under Minnesota law, only ballots received on or before Election Day will be counted.

“I know that county elections officials are working hard to get ballots out to voters,” said Secretary Simon. “This is a bad situation and I trust the legislature is going to make necessary changes to prevent this from happening again. ”


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