Minnesota secretary of state: Family has been target of harassment over 2020 election

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon says members of his family have been targets of harassment by people who believe "corrosive fantasies being fed to them by people with large megaphones."

Speaking at a Senate Elections committee hearing Tuesday morning, Simon said there were "zero credible reports" of voter misconduct or fraud in Minnesota. He said the hearing -- called by Senate Republicans -- is happening in the middle of "a national tidal wave of disinformation and politically inspired lies."

President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine the 2020 election by making unsubstantiated claims of fraud after losing to President-elect Joe Biden. Trump has been dealt dozens of defeats in courts across multiple states, and the Minnesota Supreme Court tossed a lawsuit brought by the president's allies. 

"Any member regardless of party or any testifier regardless of viewpoint who indulges that recklessness, who tolerates it, who encourages it or even hints at it is, I must say, coating themselves in a shame that will never ever wash off," Simon said.

The committee's chairwoman, state Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, called threats against Simon's family "reprehensible." But Kiffmeyer said she too faced threats as secretary of state from 1999 to 2007 and told Simon to "take it in stride."

"I think in a free country, in a free society, we are able to do our business and be able to ask those questions without being accused of nefarious things going on," Kiffmeyer told Simon.

Sen. Jeff Howe, R-Rockville, called for an independent forensic audit of Minnesota's election results to "put to rest" what he described as "innuendo" about the 2020 election results. Simon said he would talk to Howe privately about his request, and said Minnesota's current systems have found "precious little" fraud over the years.

For the third straight election, Minnesota led the country in voter turnout. In 2020, 58 percent of Minnesota voters cast absentee ballots, meaning just 42 percent chose to vote on Election Day, Simon told the committee.

Biden won Minnesota by 233,012 votes, or 7 percentage points.