Thanks for the links. The second one was extensive and I didn't find my answer in them but I did find this info that may be helpful in towing it w/o the key in the ignition. I'll have to test it to see if it keeps the column unlocked:
When towing your Element for long periods, remove the 7.5A Accessory/Radio fuse to reduce the drain on the battery. This fuse is located in the interior fuse box and is shown as number 8 below.
Only remove the fuse after you have performed the transmission shifting procedure, and the key is in the ACCESSORY (I) position. Store the fuse in an obvious location (center tray, coin pockets, etc) as a reminder to re-install the fuse before driving the vehicle.
This fuse MUST be re-installed before driving the vehicle. Failure to re-install the fuse may allow you to remove the key with the transmission in gear."