Minnesota Pollfinder Linked to Partisan Website Secretary of State Apologizes
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon apologized today for what he termed, "A serious lapse in judgement" by a staff person. The Secretary of State Office pollfinder tool usually is a great way to determine where you vote but for a period of time clicking on the pollfinder took voters to a partisan website.
Here is the statement by Secretary of State Steve Simon. "As many are now aware, our online pollfinder was inaccessible for a period of time earlier today. We have now restored service to that tool. We have no evidence that Minnesota's voting systems were hacked or otherwise interfered with in any way.
Our policy in the event of technical issues is that voters are redirected to find their information via the designated backup. Google's nonpartisan Voting Information Project.
In an urgent attempt to restore service, a staff person diverged from our emergency plan and, in a serious lapse of judgment, linked to a partisan website that contained polling place information. The moment this error was discovered, we corrected the link. The link in question was active for approximately 17 minutes.
Anyone who knows me knows that I place the highest possible value on the nonpartisanship of this office, and I deeply regret this error. Ever Minnesota voter deserves a voting experience free of partisan influence, and I am committed to providing exactly that."
I did venture to a couple of Precincts in Faribault and turnout was very light. Around 1:00 p.m. the 4 Faribault Precincts all had between 150 and 200 votes cast. Polling sites were:
- Precinct 1 Dean Curtis 4-H Building on Rice County Fairgrounds
- Precinct 2 Washington Community Center Faribault
- Precinct 3 Buckham Community Center Faribault
- Precinct 4 Our Savior's Lutheran Church Faribault
I did get an update from each of the precincts just before 4:30 p.m. and about 10% of Faribault registered voters had cast ballots. 1,072 total. There were just over 10,000 registered voters when the polls open today.
The Secretary of State website estimates cost to conduct the President Primary in Minnesota will be approximately $3,764,000.
Some of the judges I visited with did say some voters decided not to vote when they were told their political party choice would be recorded and disclosed to Chairs of each of the State's major political parties.
Eleven states have open primaries like Minnesota where a registered voter may vote in any party primary regardless of party affiliation but must choose one party ballot.
Presidential primaries in Minnesota have been rare. In 2016 the State Legislature passed legislation establishing a Presidential Primary beginning in 2020.
Presidential primaries have been held in 1916, 1952, 1956 and 1992 previous to this year.
A State Primary Election is scheduled for August 11, 2020 for offices other than President.
The General Election will be November 3, 2020.