Secretary of state says Minnesota needs new voting machines

Secretary of State Steve Simon
MinnPost file photo by James Nord
Secretary of State Steve Simon

Will Diebold get the contract? In the Pioneer Press, Bill Salisbury writes: “Minnesota’s aging voting machines are wearing out and will soon need to be replaced. That’s the message Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said he heard ‘loud and clear’ from local officials during his recently completed tour of all 87 Minnesota counties. Most cities, counties and townships use electronic election equipment that is at least 10 years old and getting close to its ‘10- to 15-year useful lifespan — and 15 is sort of a stretch,’ Simon said in a recent interview. There’s a growing risk the voting machines will fail or crash, resulting in lost votes or long lines at polling places.” So maybe the aged machines are responsible for the rampant voter fraud I keep hearing so much about?

If anyone’s interested, I have a half dozen other names I’d like added to this. WCCO-TV says, “The St. Paul City Council is set to vote Wednesday on a resolution that says Donald Trump is not welcome in the city of St. Paul. The intent of the resolution is to condemn Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims and immigrants. The resolution was proposed by Ward 1 Councilmember Dai Thao and is merely symbolic. The St. Paul City Council has no authority over who can or cannot enter the city limits. Trump has also not announced any plans to visit Minnesota.”

Meanwhile both Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz will be in town this week. But probably not together. Says Rachel Stassen-Berger in the Pioneer Press: “Clinton will visit Minnesota on Tuesday to discuss homegrown terrorism and hold a fundraiser, featuring Prairie Home Companion’s Garrison Keillor. On Thursday, rising Republican candidate Ted Cruz will rally supporters in St. Paul. … Cruz’s campaign said he would rally his supporters at 6:00 p.m. Thursday in St. Paul. The Minnesota stop is part of Cruz’s 12 city tour in states that, like Minnesota, will hold presidential caucuses or primaries on March 1.”

Extended. The Forum News Service says, “The deadline for enrolling in Minnesota’s health insurance exchange for coverage starting Jan. 1 has been extended. Minnesotans now have until Dec. 28 to enroll through MNsure and have their plan take effect at the start of the new year. The announcement was made Saturday.”

Now on the list of things to worry about: Rock snot. says John Myers in the Duluth News Tribune, “For many lakes and rivers around the world, too much phosphorus is a crisis, super-fertilizing aquatic ecosystems and spurring unusually high algae blooms, weed growth and other problems. … Scientists have determined that, unlike most algae that thrive in high phosphorus levels, didymosphenia — didymo for short, often called rock snot — thrives only in very low phosphorus conditions in clear, infertile waters. But Bothwell thinks something else is happening to Lake Superior, too, something global, combining with low phosphorus and spurring the unusual algae to pop up.”

Do you clean up well, have good teeth and truly hope for peace on earth? The Austin Daily Herald says, “The Miss Minnesota Pageant is seeking women to compete for the crown of 2016 Miss Mower County, and subsequently Miss Minnesota. Women who are single, never been married and never given birth between the ages of 19 and 30 can apply to represent Mower County at the Miss Minnesota pageant, which will be March 12, 2016, in St. Cloud’s Ritsche Auditorium. The young lady chosen as Miss Mower County will become an ambassador for the county and will receive an official title and sash. The young lady chosen as Miss Minnesota will receive a prize package worth $7,000 and the chance to represent Minnesota at the 2016 Miss International pageant held in Jacksonville, Florida.” Hmm. So no moms can be a “Miss”?

The other face of terror. For the Forum News Service, Sarah Volpenheim, following the firebombing of a Somali restaurant in East Grand Forks says, “It is still not clear what the motive behind the attack was, but some residents are counting Grand Forks among the U.S. cities where Muslims recently have been the targets of religiously-motivated attacks amid a political climate that has become increasingly uneasy toward Muslims and migrants in the past several weeks. … Locally, anti-Muslim sentiment has been fueled by several visits from Usama Dakdok, an anti-Islam speaker who calls the Abrahamic religion a ‘cult’ and ‘disease.’ Dakdok has spoken in Grand Forks three times this year about his beliefs on Islam, at times calling it dangerous.”

Sad news. In the Pioneer Press, Marino Eccher says, “A Bethel University professor and contributor to Twin Cities Public Television’s ‘Almanac’ died Wednesday after a battle with breast cancer. Stacey Hunter Hecht, 47, had been at Bethel in Arden Hills since 1997. She was an associate professor and chair of the political science department. In addition to teaching, the American politics and government expert regularly served on a panel of political scientists on ‘Almanac,’ TPT’s weekly news and public affairs show.”

If you are (like me) one of those unimaginative dolts who hand out gift cards instead of slogging the malls for an actual present, well, we’ve all been supporting Minnesota businesses it seems. Stribber John Ewoldt reports, “The Twin Cities area is home to numerous gift card designers, printers and distributors, including Archway Marketing in Rogers, Diamond Graphics in Ramsey, and CPI Card Group in Roseville. One of the country’s largest gift card manufacturers, Travel Tags in Inver Grove Heights, produced 1 billion gift cards last year, more than 25 percent of the North American market. … Travel Tags — owned by Mankato businessman Glen Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune — lists Nordstrom, Macy’s, PF Chang’s, DSW shoes, Bebe and Aeropostale as clients.”  

KMSP-TV reports: “A University of Minnesota police officer was injured while on duty when his squad car was struck by a drunk driver early Saturday morning. The officer was outside his squad car talking to the driver of another vehicle who he had stopped on Highway 280 at University Avenue at 12:41 a.m. when the drunk driver rear-ended his vehicle, pushing it into the other car.”

The mayor of Winona wants LGA funding back. In the Winona Daily News, Mark Peterson writes, “As mayor of Winona, I am asking the Minnesota House Republicans to reverse their position and fund a program important to our city and property taxpayers: Local Government Aid. In the last legislative session, House Republicans voted to make arbitrary and massive cuts in LGA to Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth, and to freeze total LGA funding for all other cities. The House proposal puts the entire LGA program at risk. In Winona, LGA helps pay for numerous needs such as street maintenance, infrastructure repairs, library services, and police and fire protection, while also helping to restrain local property taxes. LGA funding makes up 26 percent of our general fund budget … .”

Word is seniors like smaller dogs. In the Strib Jackie Crosby says, “More than half of U.S. households own a dog that weighs less than 25 pounds, according to the marketing research firm Packaged Facts. The trend toward pint-size pooches has been documented since 2000, but has accelerated in recent years in part because of an aging population of baby boomers … many senior high-rises and assisted-living communities have size restrictions, which make it difficult to bring larger breeds with you if you need — or want — to move.” I think of my guy as the Joe Pesci of dogs.

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 12/14/2015 - 07:23 am.

    New Voting Machines

    When Minnesota begins to replace it’s voting machines, I’d suggest that five strong considerations be kept in mind,…

    1) that new machines continue to use paper ballots that are machine counted (the current bubble-sheets are ideal), so that random checks of machine-reported totals and accurate hand recounts continue to be possible,…

    2) that the new machines NOT have USB ports, or use thumb drives or other commonly-available memory cards for reporting totals or updating programming,…

    3) that the entire system be free of back doors and heavily encrypted, with encryption keys devised and kept ONLY in the hands of a very small number of top-level Minnesota Secretary of State office personnel (unless recounts or anomalous totals make court-ordered decryption necessary),…

    4) that the programming used by the machines be made COMPLETELY available to the Secretary of State’s office for evaluation by third-party experts to ensure the lack of back doors, security holes, and other possible ways of altering or inaccurately reporting vote totals (none of the “you can’t see the programming because it’s secrecy is necessary to our business model – i.e. it’s ‘proprietary’ B.S.),…

    and

    5) that any company hired to supply these new machines, together with the management of that company and its chief investors NOT have a record of large, one-sided political contributions and/or very cozy relationships with political operatives of one political party as opposed to all others.

    • Submitted by Leon Webster on 12/14/2015 - 11:56 am.

      I agree

      There should be a paper ballot that can later be counted by hand if need be to check the results from the machine. And Diebold’s security problems, and political leanings should disqualify them from consideration.

  2. Submitted by Jim Million on 12/14/2015 - 10:26 am.

    Dogette

    If old guys generally die before old gals do, how many widows finally get to have that Yorkie they always wanted? Might have something to do with all this.

  3. Submitted by Clete Erickson on 12/14/2015 - 12:05 pm.

    LGA

    Why is it only about half of cities in Minnesota get LGA (local government aid)? Winona says it wants it nearly $10M LGA as it is 25% of it’s budget but why does Winona get nearly $10M while half of the cities in MN get nothing? How is that fair for the rest of those who get nothing? In Winona’s case, with LGA being 25% of their budget, it means the rest of MN picks up the tab for services just for Winona? If we are going to continue with LGA that each city should get their portion so all cities are treated equally. Thank you.

  4. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/14/2015 - 12:20 pm.

    Counterproductive

    The utterly symbolic vote to ban Donald Trump from St. Paul is not just pointless. It is something he would turn to his advantage. This would be further proof that the “losers” who run a city government are afraid of him. Those gullible enough to be his supporters will eat that line up like candy.

    Just ignore him.

    • Submitted by Phil Dech on 12/14/2015 - 02:57 pm.

      As a left leaning guy,

      I have to agree. He has the 1st amendment right to spew off as much as he wants to, and if he wants to do it here that is fine by me.

  5. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 12/14/2015 - 12:35 pm.

    Voting Machines

    We replaced out voting machine in St Louis Park a couple of years ago. I had assumed that all the other cities in Hennepin County had done likewise. They swapped us out on an off-year so there weren’t a lot of races or turnout so the judges and city staff could go through a couple of election cycles and get used to them.

    As it sits, we’re all good to go for the general election next year.

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