“When Dan Severson makes baseless allegations, we’re going to respond in kind,” said Ken Martin, DFL State Chair. He was responding an announcement from Dan Severson GOP endorsed candidate for Minnesota Secretary of State to allow military personnel to vote on-line using their military ID.
Severson accused the current Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie and the Dayton administration of systematically discriminating against overseas military personnel and thus severely reducing the number allowed to vote. He further claimed that the new “no-excuse” absentee ballot legislation which allows any registered voter to absentee vote without an excuse specifically excludes military personnel from this privilege, requiring them to provide an excuse. He further said that the current process of mail ballot applications and mailed blank ballots further reduces the opportunity for overseas military personnel to vote.
According to David Maeda, Minnetonka City Clerk and supervisor of city elections there is no requirement for military personnel to provide an excuse for an absentee ballot, they are covered by the same law as current residents. Further, the city is allowed to email an email application for an absentee ballot which can be emailed back. The county is permitted to email a ballot with appropriate instructions. The completed ballot must be returned by mail.
The secretary of state’s office agrees with Maeda, telling the Star Tribune:
military personnel and their dependents and citizens temporarily living overseas can already vote in federal, state and local elections. Only citizens who live overseas permanently are restricted to just voting on federal offices.
The Star Tribune also reports that the secretary of state’s office is questioning Severson’s qualifications for office:
“Every military person that’s overseas has to put an excuse on the ballot,” Severson said.
Not so, according to Nathan Bowie, spokesman for the secretary of state.
“That is simply not true. It is inaccurate. And that very inaccuracy … calls into question [Severson’s] qualifications for this office,” said Simon.
Severson also claimed there has been extensive voter fraud in past Minnesota elections.
Ken Martin, DFL State chairman, claimed that Severson has built a campaign around suppressing voting to solve unfounded election corruption allegations. Martin claimed Serverson has said he wants to make voting as easy as possible and at the same time has said he doesn’t support non-excuse absentee balloting or same day registration.
Severson stood up after Martin had finished and extended his previous remarks about voter fraud.