ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- As early voting begins in Minnesota for the presidential primary local elections officials are reassuring you that our elections are secure.

Stearns County Elections Supervisor Roxanne Gerads says they've worked with the sheriff's office and the Department of Homeland Security on assessments of the voting locations. She says the doors only have keycard access with a limited number of people who can access the machines.

They get a list weekly from the Department of Health and Human Services with updated death records so they can update the state voter registration system.

She says if you vote by absentee ballot and later decide to vote in person there is a check and balance in place to make sure you don't get multiple votes.

If you decide to come in in person, we have that in our system so we need to spoil that before we can even issue you a new ballot in person. There's no way that someone can vote twice if they request one at home then then decide to come in.  Because if you go home and decide to send that original ballot in we will see that we spoiled it and reject it.

Gerads says if a voter hasn't voted in two election cycles they are automatically removed from the registration system. So, if it has been a few years since you voted last you will need to re-register.

The state’s chief elections officer said at a news conference Thursday that his office is prepared to face the challenges of disinformation, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and physical threats and intimidation against poll workers.

Secretary of State Steve Simon listed new election security laws, multiple layers of security for voting from home, public testing of the accuracy of voting machines, and a large corps of volunteer election judges.

He says the spread of disinformation about the system will likely be the biggest challenge for 2024.

Early voting for the Presidential Primary is underway with the election day set for Tuesday, March 5th.  Minnesota is part of what is known as Super Tuesday.


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