NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — This week we have interviewed the democratic and independent candidates for Secretary of State.

In our third and final interview with a candidate for this statewide contest, Josh Meny sits down with the Republican ticket for Secretary of State, Michael Howe.

So, my first question is, why are you running for Secretary of State? It seems like a lot of people don’t know what the job entails.

“Yeah. Well, there are over 40 different duties within the Secretary of State’s office, among them your chief elections officer. Another one is you license and register every business that comes through the state of North Dakota. So I’ve been saying for the last eight months on the campaign trail, I’m running to preserve and protect North Dakota election integrity. I want to make North Dakota the easiest place to start a business. And I went to make sure our natural resources remain for generations to come,” explained Republican candidate for Secretary of State Michael Howe.

And your opponent DemNPL candidate Jeffery Powell — he says he argues that you’re not going to be able to stand up to your party when they want to get rid of absentee ballots or drop boxes. What do you say to that argument?

“North Dakota, we do elections right here, I maintain that we have the best selection process in the country. I’m going to keep it that way. That’s every intention. There certainly will be proposals next legislative session by the state legislature. And I’ll our office will certainly take a look at those and ultimately, we have to live with what the legislature passes. But I will look at two things. Will it make it easier to vote and harder to cheat? We’ll look at every piece of legislation that comes to the legislature under that lens. We will certainly provide input as to what our stance would be, but until then, not sure but no, absentee voting mail and voting has worked well in North Dakota. We’re a rural state. And we count on those things. So I have no intention of taking those away,” said Howe.

Now, Jager has been there for a very long time. What do you see you can improve upon?

“Yeah. Secretary Jaeger, 30 years of public service, kudos to him. A well-deserved, well-earned retirement as he ends his public service career. The technology aspect, if you go to the Secretary of State’s website it’s pretty busy. I think there’s a lot of things that we can make it user-friendly, and streamline it so it works with other businesses, if you’re going to the Secretary of State’s office, you probably work with the tax department office so having that seamless transition across agencies is something I want to achieve,” explained Howe.