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As election season fast approaches, changes to the voting process are on the horizon.

Already there is a change to the primary balloting procedure. Secretary of State Steve Simon, using "consent decree," (an order by a judge), has changed a part of election law.

This new provision removes the necessity for a mail-in (absentee) ballot to have a witness signature. A previous limit of three witness signatures has been rescinded. This bypasses the Legislative process and allows the judiciary to decide what is in the public's best interest."

Primary election day is Aug. 11 with "early voting" starting June 26. Primary ballots are already printed and will not reflect the change. Who will validate ballots without a witness signature?

In 2016, Simon wrote Administrative Rule 8210.2450 which effectively removed the authority of election judges from deciding to accept or reject an absentee ballot.

Simon, a staunch supporter of early voting and mail-in ballots, is not finished. Plans are in the works to send absentee ballots to all registered Minnesota voters for the Nov. 3 general election, regardless if they requested one. The concern over COVID-19 is conveniently being used to liberalize voting opportunities.

Everyone should be concerned with the integrity of voting because it is our fundamental way to change the course of government. Without the deliberative process of the state legislature, fully vetting election law changes cannot occur.

Other states have even implemented or are experimenting with voting by phone and computer. Cybersecurity firms, along with the University of Michigan & Massachusetts Institute of Technology have issued research findings warning of the high probability of voter hacking. The technique called "ballot harvesting" is a free-for-all and has already reversed political party strongholds in California.

As a hybrid version, Minnesota allows for "agent delivery" in certain circumstances if you have a pre-existing relationship with the person. Sufficiently vague and easily abused.

Legal remedies are being pursued. This should not be a partisan issue. Our concern over "foreign intervention" to our elections should be redirected to what is happening domestically.

A high voter turnout isn't optimal if it uses mass mailings and unaccountable schemes to generate ballots. Get informed and speak out in favor of an electoral process that has a high level of integrity.

Joe Polunc

Cologne

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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