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Severson and Simon clash over new voting rules

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The Republican candidate for Minnesota Secretary of State is proposing an online, absentee voting option for military personnel.

Dan Severson said today that too few soldiers and family members are participating in Minnesota elections, and he believes they’re being “systematically discriminated against.” He also said too many military absentee ballots are getting rejected. During a news conference, Severson accused Democrats of not caring about the military.

“It’s disenfranchisement of patriots who sacrifice on a daily basis so that we can enjoy the blessings of liberty,” Severson said. “It is time to fix this persistent injustice”

Severson claimed that state election law changes passed this year did not provide any benefit to military voters. He said soldiers were “conspicuously excluded” from the new no-excuses absentee voting law, which was sponsored by his DFL opponent in the secretary of state race.

Severson is wrong about the changes to absentee voting rules,  Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-Hopkins, said.

“Anyone who says that members of the military are somehow left out of the new no-excuses absentee voting law either has a total ignorance of the law or is trying to accomplish some other aim,” Simon said. "The point is they absolutely are included."

In addition, lawmakers authorized a new online voter registration system this year that allows military personal to more easily apply for absentee ballots.

Secretary of state is the only open statewide contest this year.

IP candidate Bob Helland and Bob Otten of the Libertarian Party are also on the ballot.