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Secretary of State Ritchie proposes changes in election laws

Minnesota’s never had a problem with election day turnout. It leads the nation in most nation elections.

However, that’s not good enough for Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. He’s backing changes in the state’s election laws that would increase turnout (if that’s possible) and create efficiencies while saving the state of Minnesota money.

Who can argue with that?

No arguments are coming from Crow Wing County Deputy Auditor Deborah Erickson, who just happens to be co-chair of the Minnesota Association of County Officers (MACO) Elections Committee. She indicated that MACO supports early, no excuse absentee voting.

Why? It saves money. Everyone is trying to save money.

Erickson said MACO is on board with the notion of increasing the ability of townships to use all-mail balloting.

Ritchie has the support of MACO which would give the secretary of state more information from the judicial system and Minnesota Department of Corrections in order to determine who is a felon. That certainly makes sense.

Get this, MACO also supports changing the threshold for vote margins for publicly funded recounts. Ritchie said the vote margins for recounts would move from 1/2 of 1 percent to 1/4 of 1 percent of total votes counted. That could decrease the number of recounts, which could be less expensive. However, it has merit.

Deputy Auditor Erickson indicated that MACO is in support of a bill that would “clean up administrative issues, delete obsolete references and realize savings by reducing newspaper publication requirements regarding ballots by directing people to a website.”

Now, that I would definitely take exception to without hesitation. Not all folks living in greater Minnesota have access to computers and the website referred to by Erickson.

Keith Hansen


If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times.

Mark Twain