In Minnesota, conservatives pushed for a ballot initiative that would have required citizens present a photo ID to vote. In polls, 58 percent of voters supported the measure, and only 34 percent opposed it.
That’s when the Democratic candidate for secretary of state, state legislator Steve Simon, knew both voters and legislators needed to be educated. Simon helped lead the fight against the harsh voter ID law, debating its proponents six times. The measure was ultimately defeated.
Simon went on to author a groundbreaking “No Excuses” absentee voting law. Now, Minnesotans can use an absentee ballot without having to swear an oath that they will be out of town on Election Day. For the sick and the disabled, as well as those whose lives are simply busy, this is a major new reform.
Simon’s reform agenda also includes reforming special interest influence on elections.
Simon also championed reform of Minnesota’s motor voter registration law, authoring a bill that allows eligible Minnesotans who get a new driver’s license to be automatically registered to vote.
Why We Like Him: An outspoken critic of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, Simon supports legislation to require shareholder permission as a condition of direct corporate spending on elections.
On his primary goal as secretary of state of improving and maintaining ballot access, Simon said, “It’s about swinging the doors of participation wide open, keeping them open for all eligible Minnesota voters and not slamming doors in people’s faces.”