Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon apologized Tuesday after voters were briefly redirected from his office’s “pollfinder” tool to the website of a progressive organization that has endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for president.
“Due to heavy demand, you may be directed to a trusted external site to find your polling place information,” the Secretary of State’s website said before redirecting voters to boldprogressives.org, which provides its own tool for helping voters find their polling locations.
So the @MNSecofState website is redirecting people looking for their polling place to https://t.co/oVaUN78Owt (“trusted external site”) — an organization that has endorsed Elizabeth Warren. #mnleg #mnvotes pic.twitter.com/EMmkX1vn44
— Andrew Wagner (@andrewwagner) March 3, 2020
Becky Alery, the communications director for the Minnesota GOP, said the progressive site was asking voters for their names and email addresses before they could look up their polling places.
Democrats & Sect. Simon claim to worry about voter privacy & now are directing voters to a progressive site where voters have to put in their name and email (to list build for dems) before they can find out where they vote?! @MNSteveSimon, your partisanship is showing.
— Becky Alery (@aleryrl) March 3, 2020
“As many are now aware, our online pollfinder was inaccessible for a period of time earlier today. We have now restored service to that tool. We have no evidence that Minnesota’s voting systems were hacked or otherwise interfered with in any way,” Simon said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.“Our policy in the event of technical issues is that voters are redirected to find their information via the designated backup, Google’s nonpartisan Voting Information Project.”
Simon said that a staff person diverged from the office’s “emergency plan” and linked to a “partisan website that contained polling place information,” which he called a “serious lapse of judgment.”
“The moment this error was discovered, we corrected the link. The link in question was active for approximately 17 minutes,” he continued. “Anyone who knows me knows that I place the highest possible value on the nonpartisanship of this office, and I deeply regret this error.”
Simon said he canceled his scheduled activities at the state Legislature so he could work with his staff to make sure Super Tuesday voting “goes smoothly” and results are reported reliably.
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