2022 Dakota County Commissioner election featuring Joe Atkins and Jimmy Francis

2022 Dakota County Commissioner Election: Elections

Local election coverage happens thanks to our generous supporters. You can join them and become a member of West St. Paul Reader.

In Dakota County, the District 2 county commissioner—representing West St. Paul, South St. Paul, and parts of Inver Grove Heights—is on the ballot this year. We’ve asked the candidates a series of questions to see where they stand on the issues. We’ll share one question and the responses at a time leading up to the general election on November 8. See our 2022 voter’s guide for more.

Previously we asked about public safety, finances, roads, libraries, and parks. This time we’re asking about elections.

Despite no evidence of widespread fraud, election challengers continue to question the integrity of the 2020 election, including many in Dakota County who show up and speak at County Commissioner meetings. How do you respond to these accusations? What will you do to protect the integrity of elections while also ensuring access to the ballot for all eligible voters?

Here are the candidates’ responses:

Joe Atkins

(campaign site)

County staff have spent hundreds of hours meeting with and addressing the concerns of election challengers speaking at county board meetings as well as others who have contacted staff directly. County Board members have also participated in dialog and supported efforts to protect the integrity of elections. Every issue raised has been vetted and addressed. The elections department has also made some significant investments to make the elections process more secure, and to ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote is able to. Here are a few of the improvements:

  • Thoroughly updated and verified residential addresses in the Voter Registration System after redistricting
  • Invested in a training system to deliver consistent election judge training for everyone who serves at a polling place or city hall
  • Revised the absentee ballot board process to ensure review of absentee ballots as the law intends
  • Deployed dedicated equipment to securely transmit election results from polling places directly to the County on election night 

Anyone with questions or concerns are welcome to come in and observe, or give the elections department a call with any questions.

Jimmy Francis

(campaign site)

People have concerns about a lot of things and if we agree or disagree, elected officials should provide ample time and space for citizens to discuss issues. Like with anything, people want to feel they are being heard, and perhaps why they speak at meetings is to be on the record. I have no problem with hearing concerns at county meetings and providing listening opportunities in my district. I will not, however, allow my time or others’ time to be wasted on repetitive discussions of covered topics. It’s one thing to give time and it’s another to waste it. I have no reservations about past elections, and I want to ensure that every eligible voter can vote in the future. I also respect the opinions of others and will always listen with the mutual respect that both of our time is valuable. When elected, I will hold office hours, at the Northern Service Center, in the district to be more available to constituents that want to discuss a specific topic rather than go through an entire agenda. This is what I have done as Mayor, and I would continue to do as your County Commissioner. Elections are vital and should be given appropriate attention and budget. Our County Clerk does a lot of work, in conjunction with city clerks, to ensure fair and legitimate elections. 

Vote on November 8

The general election is on Tuesday, November 8. Learn more about where and how to vote. You can also vote early with an absentee ballot, either by mail or by stopping at the Dakota County offices.

See our 2022 voter’s guide for more on the candidates and other races.

Thank you to the candidates for taking the time to respond to our questions.

This local election coverage only happens thanks to the support of our members. Consider joining West St. Paul Reader to ensure local election coverage continues. Membership starts at just $3 per month.

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