Speaking With Dan Severson

State Rep. Dan Severson, R-Sauk Rapids, was in Worthington last week, but not as a candidate for re-election for his seat in the Minnesota House. Severson, who has served four terms in the House, is seeking to unseat DFLer Mark Ritchie as Secretary of State.

A major component of Severson’s campaign is his support of the Minnesota Voters Alliance’s Voter Protection Pledge, which has the goal of getting candidates for public office to pledge support of photo legislation requiring photo ID to access a ballaot and thus "protect the integrity and value of every Minnesotan’s vote," as Severson says. 

"Because the secretary of state is the chief election official in the state and because this measure has such overwhelming public support, I believe it was very important to sign this pledge," said Severson in a press release he gave me during his visit to the Daily Globe. "In poll after poll, the overwhelming majority of Democrats, Independents and Republicans support instituting a photo ID requirement to access a ballot – it’s a matter of having confidence in our election system. This is something the people want, but something that, so far, our elected officials have failed to give us."

Severson spent 21 years in the Navy – in which he was a fighter pilot – and retired in 2000. He was first elected to the House in 2002, and said he was contacted in 2008 by a constituent who was concerned with voter fraud. He explained that he was given 13 examples of voter fraud, which he subsequently sent to the secretary of state. "It’s not my problem," Severson said he was told.

Severson points out that Ritchie received what he feels to be considerable support in his 2006 election from the Secretary of State Project, which he decries for having a liberal political agenda on a national level (he also points to what he says are connections to the controversy-plagued ACORN). He believes Democrat Ritchie didn’t investigate alleged voter fraud enough because of the possibility it would cost Al Franken costly votes in his narrow recount win over incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman.

It’s the implemention of photo ID, though, that seems to be a greater priority for Severson, who cites a number of positive attributes of such a system.

"A quick swipe of a photo ID through a card reader could populate the data fields in the state’s voter registration system, thereby eliminating common data-entry mistakes that take place with the current pen-and-paper registraton system," he says. "It would also eliminate the ambiguities, duplication and other errors in the voters registration system that arise when it takes weeks or even months for county election administrators to get all the voter registration information data-entered. And, it would save county government tens of thousands of dollars in staff costs, because there would be no need to do data entry by hand anymore."

Click on this link for more about Severson and his candidacy.