Candidates face off in MN Secretary of State race

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is leaving office after spending eight years administering elections, registering businesses and keeping track of new laws.

With only a week before Election Day, candidates faced off in a debate Tuesday night hosted by The League of Women Voters.

All four candidates were asked questions about everything from ranked choice voting to whether non-violent felons should get their voting rights back. And each one ultimately got to speak about something key to their candidacy.

For Democrat Steve Simon it was early voting.

"Thirty three states have done it. Red states have done it, blue states have done it, and it's been tremendously successful," he said. "It's just another overlay on the great system that we already have to make Minnesota's first in the nation and best in the nation system even better, and that's what I'm committed to."

Republican Challenger Dan Severson spoke about military voting and express lane voting on Election Day.

"Freeing up the lines for those people who want to voluntarily use photo ID they can go to half of the designated lines which are designated for that purpose and the other conventional, the other lines would be dedicated to the conventional way we do it now."

As the Independence Party choice, Bob Hellend says his focus would be on the business services aspect of the Secretary's job.

"If I don't perceive leadership on this issue. I have to become the leadership on the issue, and that's why I'm in the race today, because I think I can make a difference and the fact that this issue is getting that much more acknowledgement than it has in the past is really critical," said Hellend.

And Libertarian Bob Odden talked about closing the racial disparity gap between white and non-white voters by offering more than just two party choices.

"If you know there's only going to be Coke or Pepsi on the ballot you're going to go oh, hum, um, kinda boring. You need something to liven it up. You need something like a root beer or a Doctor Pepper or maybe even Mountain Dew."

To learn more about each of the candidates, visit their websites here:

Dan Severson

Steve Simon

Bob Hellend

Bob Odden


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