Steve Simon, the DFL-endorsed candidate for Secretary of State, is feigning outrage at Rep. Severson’s Express Lane voting initiative. Here’s Simon’s thoughts in his own words:
I know of no other place in the country that has introduced or talked about Express Lane voting plans so all I have to go on are Dan Severson’s own words. And here’s what he said on a TEA Party activist’s TV show last April: “Quote. If you don’t want to do it, be my guest and go over to the other side and wait 2 hours in the cold. That’s fine.” To me, and all I have to go on are his words, it’s a way to marginalize and ostracize and exclude people who don’t have the type of ID that he and others like him think they should have. I think this is a warmed over version of the Voter ID proposal that Minnesotans have rejected. Poll books are fine and I pushed poll books to expand and allow participation in poll book pilot projects. I really think that could be the wave of the future but to segregate people into two separate lines and to caustically and sarcastically talk about people waiting outside in the cold for a couple hours, I think has no place in this election or in the office of Secretary of State.
First, it’s worth noting that the DFL consistently refer to Republicans as “TEA Party” Republicans.
Next, it’s frightening to hear Rep. Simon say that he thinks Rep. Severson’s statements about standing in a slower moving lane “and waiting in the cold” is an attempt to “segregate people into two separate lines.” It’s also demeaning to Minnesotans in that Rep. Simon apparently thinks that Minnesotans can’t figure it out that moving into a faster moving lane benefits them.
It’s doubtful that Rep. Simon thinks this initiative, to use his own words, “has no place in this election or in the office of Secretary of State.” That’s a highly scripted answer. The entire response, in fact, is scripted, starting with “TEA Party activist’s TV show.”
It’s most likely that Rep. Simon wasn’t prepared for a substantive debate of ideas. Rep. Severson caught him by surprise with this initiative. That led to Rep. Simon’s reflexive response that a) TEA Party activists are evil, b) voter ID is tantamount to government-sanctioned oppression and c) people aren’t smart enough to figure it out that Express Lane voting benefits them.
It’s apparent that Rep. Simon is intent on running against the DFL’s caricature of a Republican, not against Rep. Severson. That indicates a partisan attitude.
The office of Minnesota’s Secretary of State doesn’t need blind partisanship. It needs a thoughtful public servant who puts service ahead of partisanship.