Minnesota Secretary of State election, 2014

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Minnesota Secretary of State Election

Primary Date:
August 12, 2014

General Election Date:
November 4, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Steve Simon Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Mark Ritchie Democratic Party
Mark Ritchie 1.jpg

Minnesota State Executive Elections
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The Minnesota Secretary of State election took place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Mark Ritchie (D) was first elected in 2006 and won re-election in 2010. Although eligible for re-election in 2014, Ritchie said in a June 2013 statement that he would not run for a third term.[1]

The race to replace Ritchie featured Democratic candidate Steve Simon, Republican candidate Dan Severson, Libertarian Party candidate Bob Odden and Independence Party candidate Bob Helland. Severson ran unsuccessfully against Ritchie in 2010, though Ritchie won less than 50 percent of the overall vote. Simon won election to a four-year term.

Minnesota is one of 14 states that uses an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.[2][3][4]


General election

Democratic Party Steve Simon Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Dan Severson
Libertarian Party Bob Odden
Independence Party of America Bob Helland

Did not file

Democratic Party Mark Ritchie - Incumbent

Defeated in the primary

Democratic Party Dick Franson
Democratic Party Gregg A. Iverson
Independence Party of America David A. Singleton


General election

Secretary of State of Minnesota, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngSteve Simon 47% 901,450
     Republican Dan Severson 45.9% 879,022
     Independence Bob Helland 4.9% 94,065
     Libertarian Bob Odden 2.1% 40,729
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.1% 1,134
Total Votes 1,916,400
Election Results via Minnesota Secretary of State.

Primary election

Democratic primary

Minnesota Secretary of State, Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngSteve Simon 42.7% 65,634
Dick Franson 29.1% 44,700
Gregg A. Iverson 28.3% 43,478
Total Votes 153,812
Election Results Via:Minnesota Secretary of State.

Republican primary

Dan Severson was unopposed for the Republican nomination.

Independence Party primary

Minnesota Secretary of State, Independence Party Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBob Helland 51.5% 3,059
David A. Singleton 48.5% 2,879
Total Votes 5,938
Election Results Via:Minnesota Secretary of State.

Campaign themes

All four candidates for Minnesota Secretary of State expressed their views about issues facing Minnesota voters. The following sections quote public statements verbatim from candidate websites.

Bob Helland

What I believe we need and don't need in Minnesota:

  • We need access to the polls for everyone who is eligible to vote and wants to do it.
  • We need cost-effective solutions for fighting voter fraud and increasing voter awareness.
  • We don't need unnecessarily restrictive voter access measures like photo identification.
  • We need a technology candidate for critical state needs in elections, business services and other functions.
  • We need a business services candidate for the busiest part of the office's role and for state economic growth.
  • We need a fair and independent chief elections officer.
  • We need to educate our young citizens by providing education resources that meet them on their platforms.
  • We need modernization in state government systems and processes.
  • We need positive relationships with federal, state, local, nongovernmental and private sector partners.
  • We need independent politicians who execute their constitutional and statutory roles.
  • We don't need partisan political agendas interfering with responsibilities to serve.
  • We need civil discourse and citizen participation in campaigns for political office.
  • We need young people to become involved in civics and participate in public and private sector leadership.
  • We need to reconsider the institutionalization of political parties and consider ranked choice voting.
  • We need to lighten up and have a little more fun!


—Bob Helland's campaign website, (2014), [6]

Bob Odden

Victimless Crimes
Eliminate taking away individual voting rights for being convicted of a felony for a victimless crime.

Eliminate the removal of a persons voting rights for being convicted of a felony involving a victimless crime. This would include non-violent marijuana convictions. This would significantly reduce the number of minorities that can't vote.

Military Personnel Votes
Ensure that military personnel get to vote

Get ballots to out of state military personnel in time and back again so they are not disenfranchised. Presently, only a small percentage of the military get to have their vote count.

SOS Office Security
Increase SOS office security

As SOS I will carry a side arm on the capital grounds. I will also encourage staff members to do so as well. The basis for all human rights is property, with your most important possession being yourself. If you own yourself, and I believe you do, then you have a right to defend yourself. I want to help people to understand this.

SOS Business Side
Make the SOS office more business friendly

Set up or encourage through the SOS office online forums so people who have gone through the process can help others who are going through the process for the first time. Have an online improvement suggestion box for the public to make comments to.

Changes to SOS
Require SOS to be more responsive to public

Require the SOS to respond within a certain time frame on allegations concerning voter fraud. Require the SOS to work with individual/organizations making the allegations until the matter is cleared up. Require the SOS to be nonpartisan on all ballot issues. [5]

—Bob Odden's campaign website, (2014), [7]

Dan Severson

First One Hundred Days

  • Call for an audit of the voting system by the Legislative Auditor.
  • Call for a legal compliance audit to investigate why the Secretary Of State office had three court-adjudicated legal violations over the last 3 years.
  • Institute a panel of County Attorneys that review voting complaints and delegate to a review board for further processing, assigning for prosecution when appropriate.
  • Establish a private sector panel of business leaders and small business owners tasked with identifying barriers to fledgling businesses. Promote legislation to remove those barriers.
  • Increase the military vote participation from 5% in 2010 to 80% or more like the rest of Minnesota.
  • Promote poll books and voluntary Photo ID at the polls to make voting quicker and easier.
  • Support legislation for enacting Provisional Ballots to validate eligibility prior to casting a vote that is included in the count as required by the Minnesota State Constitution.


—Dan Severson's campaign website, (2014), [8]

Steve Simon

Steve Simon has a plan for improving the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office. Learn more about how he stands on issues relevant to the office.

Expand access to voting

If you’re an eligible voter in Minnesota, it should be as easy as possible to vote. That’s why Steve supports early voting and other efforts to increase participation.

Remove barriers to voting

Some people want to make it harder to vote. Steve will be a strong voice against those efforts. That’s why he opposes all initiatives to end same-day registration. And it’s why he supports an easier path for voter registration.

Modernize business services

Steve believes that businesses small and large need a Secretary of State’s office that uses technology to ease the creation of new businesses and new jobs. Making the Secretary of State’s technology platform more “business friendly” will be a top priority for Steve.

Strengthen protection for victims of domestic violence

The “Safe at Home” program, which the Secretary of State administers, is an address confidentiality program for domestic abuse victims. As a legislator, Steve has made the program stronger. As Secretary of State, he’ll defend those hard-won gains.

Most importantly, be a Secretary of State for ALL Minnesotans

The Office of the Secretary of State should be dedicated to serving Minnesotans of all backgrounds and affiliations. Steve believes that fairness and integrity matter most; not political advantage. [5]

—Steve Simon's campaign website, (2014), [9]

Campaign media

Bob Helland

Bob Helland ad: The Independents

Past elections


2010 Race for Secretary of State - General Election[10]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Mark Ritchie 49.1%
     Republican Party Dan Severson 45.6%
     Independent Jual Carlson 5.2%
     Write-In 0.1%
Total Votes 2,035,365


2006 Race for Secretary of State - General Election[11]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Mark Ritchie 49.1%
     Republican Party Mary Kiffmeyer 44.2%
     Independent Bruce Kennedy 3.7%
     American Independent Party Joel Spoonheim 3.0%
Total Votes 2,137,643

Key deadlines

Deadline Event
May 20, 2014 First day of candidate filing period
June 3, 2014 Last day of candidate filing period
August 12, 2014 Primary election
November 4, 2014 General election
November 25, 2014 State Canvassing Board meeting to certify election results
January 5, 2015 Inauguration day for state executive officials in general election[12]

Ballotpedia reports

To learn more about developments in these races, check out the following news articles from Ballotpedia:

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