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'Lapse of judgment' caused issue with Minnesota primary poll finder page, Secretary of State says

The progressive website was linked in error after traffic maxed out capacity on the Minnesota Secretary of State's poll finder ...

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Secretary of State's website on Tuesday, March 3, temporarily prompted voters seeking information about their presidential primary polling locations on to a progressive website supportive of Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

The issue with the webpage came as Minnesotans go to the polls for the state's partisan presidential contests. And Secretary of State Steve Simon on Tuesday said it stemmed from a "serious lapse of judgment" by a staff member who linked the partisan website.

Typically users would be sent to Google's nonpartisan Voting Information Project, Simon said in a statement. The link was live for 17 minutes before it was corrected, the secretary of state said. Simon in a statement apologized for the error.

"Anyone who knows me knows that I place the highest possible value on the nonpartisanship of this office, and I deeply regret this error," he said. "Every Minnesota voter deserves a voting experience free of partisan influence, and I am committed to providing exactly that."

While the link prompted some to access a nonpartisan tool aimed at helping voters figure out where they can vote, others reported that the link sent them to boldprogressives.org after a webpage reporting high traffic to the site said it would send users to an external page. Simon said there was no evidence of hacking or interference.


Republican lawmakers on Tuesday morning were quick to flag the issue and call on Simon to explain how it occurred. Minnesota senators planned a 1 p.m. hearing to ask Simon about the issue but the secretary ultimately didn't attend. And the chair of that committee said she was dissatisfied with the secretary's answer in lieu of an in-person appearance.

"It doesn't answer questions," Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, told reporters. "It makes me have more questions."

Several lawmakers questioned the decision by a secretary of state staff member to link a partisan webpage and said they'd pursue more answers about the issue.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon

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