But Election Day itself was smooth in Minnesota, with no major confrontations reported.

Illustration of an exclamation mark contrasted with abstract ballot elements

Image: Allie Carl/Axios

Minnesota’s top elections official says he’s not aware of any specific, credible threats targeting the state’s midterm elections, but local and state officials remain “on high alert.”

The big picture: The FBI and Homeland Security issued two alerts earlier this month about threats against poll workers and voter intimidation.

  • The FBI has singled out states that experienced public disputes, recounts and audits in 2020, including Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Minnesota was not listed.

Threat Level: Secretary of State Steve Simon tells Axios that “while the overall risk in Minnesota is lower than other places,” the FBI’s warning “compels us to be prepared for these things wherever we can.”

What you do: Earlier this year, the Secretary of State’s office expanded the role of its cyber security navigator, a former naval officer who worked in intelligence, to also focus on physical poll security.

  • The goal, Simon said, is “to make sure the people running the elections are safe.”

Zoom in: At the local level, poll workers at a number of county and municipal offices have taken de-escalation or security training provided by a department of the Department of Homeland Security.

  • “We’re certainly keeping a close eye on the national temperature going into this half, which is obviously very polarized,” said Christiaan Cartwright, the City of Rochester Elections Commissioner.
  • Security-related training was also provided to poll workers in Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

What you say: “The best option is to just listen and make people feel heard,” said Tim Houle, the Crow Wing County Administrator, whose office and local government have been inundated with allegations of fraud from local activists. “People don’t expect to always get their way, but they do expect to be heard.”

Between the lines: Unlike other states, Minnesota law restricts activities in and around polling stations — each major party is only allowed one observer inside or within 100 feet of a polling station.

  • Those rules could help prevent major conflict or disruption on Election Day, Simon said.

Flashback: High tension ahead of the presidential election sparked concerns about voter intimidation and possible conflict over masking rules.

  • But Election Day itself went smoothly in Minnesota, with no major problems reported.

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