ST. PAUL — Vote. Be patient. Be civil.
That’s the message from Minnesota’s last four governors in a multipartisan video released Wednesday, Oct. 28.
“I asked some friends to help me explain why Election Day might be a little different this year,” current Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, announced in a tweet introducing a 78-second video featuring himself, Democrat Mark Dayton, Republican Tim Pawlenty, and Jesse Ventura, who was elected in 1998 as a Reform Party candidate and later joined the Independence Party.
To a gentle piano score, the video serves as a plea for calm and trust in the state amid the uncertainty of Tuesday’s election, for which droves of voters have submitted absentee ballots and the rest will be expected to wear masks and keep social distance at the polls. It could take days to determine the winners of close races, including perhaps Minnesota’s presidential choice.
Authorities are bracing for the possibility of civil unrest from restless and highly polarized segments of the public, and each governor’s statements seem to subtly speak to audiences who might trust their wisdom.
In the video, the four men, taped separately, take a seat inside the Governor’s Reception Room at the Capitol, remove their masks and speak into the camera.
“Our state is proud to have one of the safest and most secure election systems in the whole country,” says Pawlenty, who unsuccessfully mounted a bid for the 2018 GOP nomination for governor as a Trump supporter.
Walz refers to the state’s plan, approved by a court, to count absentee ballots that arrive days after Election Day, as long as they are postmarked by Tuesday, Nov. 3.
“With so many of us voting by mail, it may take a little longer for us to verify a winner,” he says, as Pawlenty completes the thought: “And that’s OK. It’s by design.”
Ventura, who has peddled in conspiracy theories but has criticized President Donald Trump’s attempts to undermine credibility in American elections, chimes in: “A delay just means that our system is working and that we’re counting every single ballot.”
Dayton, who was narrowly elected in 2010 following a statewide recount over Republican Tom Emmer, adds: “There may not be a clear winner on election night.”
The video closes with each man donning his mask.