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Rochester woman launches bid for Minnesota secretary of state

Rachel Larson Bohman, Secretary of State candidate.

A Rochester woman is the first candidate to officially toss her hat in the ring to succeed DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.

Within a half an hour of Ritchie's announcement that he would not seek a third term, Rachel Larson Bohman announced she would seek the DFL endorsement for the post. Bohman recently resigned her post as elections manager for Hennepin County, where she oversaw the 2010 gubernatorial recount. She also previously served as recount director in 2008 for Anoka County and worked in the Secretary of State's office under Democrat Joan Growe and Republican Mary Kiffmeyer.

"I just really decided this would be an excellent opportunity and really a way for me to serve the voters in the best way that I can and know how to," Bohman said.

If elected, she said a chief priority would be taking advantage of technology to improve the election system. That includes incorporating electronic poll books into the process and linking the voter registration database to other state databases.

"Voting technology is really important for increasing voter integrity. It's important for keeping our voting technology strong and it's really a great tool to make election day easier for voters and election administrators," she said.


Bohman plans to file for office on Thursday. It is expected she will have plenty of competition from fellow Democrats and Republicans interested in the seat.

In a released statement, Ritchie said his decision to step down was a difficult one, "but after months of thought and discussion with my family, I concluded that January 2015 will be the right time for me to step aside — making way for the next generation of talented leadership in the Office of the Secretary of State."

Ritchie is perhaps best known as having overseen two statewide recounts. The first was the 2008 U.S. Senate race where Democrat Al Franken narrowly beat Republican Norm Coleman. Two years later, he saw another recount in the gubernatorial race, where DFL Gov. Mark Dayton beat Republican Tom Emmer.

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