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In video, 4 Minnesota governors call for ‘civility’ around election


Four Minnesota governors of different political backgrounds joined forces this week to make a request:

Go vote, they asked residents. Then be patient.

Amid rising concerns about the process of casting and counting votes, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz reached out to his predecessors to create an unprecedented ad reassuring people about the integrity of the 2020 election.

In a video launched Wednesday, Walz, Democrat Mark Dayton, Republican Tim Pawlenty and Independent Jesse Ventura warn Minnesotans that the results could take longer than usual. They called this year “the most important election of our lifetime” and asked for “civility and decency” around the outcome.

In another signal to viewers, the governors were shown taking off their face masks before speaking, and putting them back on after.

Their message comes as President Donald Trump has frequently raised concerns about the legitimacy of mail-in voting. It also follows a company’s announcement that it would send armed guards to protect Minnesota’s polls. That company, Tennessee-based Atlas Aegis, called off the effort after facing lawsuits and a state Attorney General probe.

“Our state is proud to have one of the safest and most secure election systems in the whole country,” Pawlenty says in the ad.

Walz reminds voters that with so many people voting by mail, it could take longer to verify who wins. Dayton notes that there might not be a clear winner on election night.

“A delay just means our system is working, and that we’re counting every single ballot,” Ventura said.

“But no matter who wins, let’s demonstrate the civility and decency that Minnesotans are known for,” Pawlenty adds.

The announcement is being shared online and will air on local television channels.

The video came together quickly, according to Walz spokesman Teddy Tschann. The governor’s office landed on the idea Friday and Walz reached out to his three predecessors, who agreed to participate and film the ad Monday.

It is not the only video state officials are using to get out the vote.

The Minnesota Secretary of State’s office had 13 celebrities join in a campaign to encourage voter participation, including former Minnesota Twins star Joe Mauer and actor Josh Hartnett, who grew up in the state.

“Every year, Minnesota leads the nation in voter turnout. And in 2020, we’re going to lead the country in voter safety,” Mauer said in a video tweeted by Secretary of State Steve Simon’s office. In the tweet, Simon’s office urged people to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by voting by mail from home.

It cost around $75,000 to produce the various celebrity television spots and social media videos, the Secretary of State’s spokeswoman Risikat Adesaogun said. But she said the office’s full public information campaign has cost more than $800,000. Federal stimulus money has covered that cost, and the office also received a more than $1 million grant for voter education efforts from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, an organization created by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.

 

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