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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

Registration Safeguards
When registering to vote, a voter’s information is put into the statewide database of voters. Each voter has only one record in the database, which is updated throughout their life. Once in the system, a voter’s record is checked against a number of databases on an ongoing basis.

  • Did the voter give accurate information?
    When updating or creating a voter registration, voters must provide a Minnesota driver’s license, state ID number, or the last four digits of a Social Security number, if they have one. This data is verified against the Minnesota Department of Public Safety or Social Security Administration database.
  • Is the voter serving a felony sentence?
    Records are checked with the Minnesota Department of Corrections database; updates are received from a Minnesota Courts database.
  • Is the voter a citizen?
    Records are checked with data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
  • Does the voter live at that address?
    Each registrant is sent a non-forwardable postcard, called a Postal Verification Card. If the postcard is returned as non-deliverable, the voter’s record is challenged.
  • If the voter is under guardianship, has the court revoked their voting rights?
    Updates regarding voters under guardianship are received from a Minnesota Courts database.
  • Has the voter moved?
    The U.S. Postal Service sends National Change of Address data on Minnesota voters who have moved.
  • Has the voter since died?
    Deceased voters are removed based upon notification from Minnesota Department of Health, the Social Security Administration, or notices from other states.
  • Is the voter no longer active?
    A voter’s record is removed if they do not vote for four years. A voter must register again if they have not voted in the past four elections.

Election Day Safeguards

  • Poll workers from different major political parties staff polling places.
    Sensitive tasks in the polling place, such as assisting a voter or counting the ballots, must be conducted by two election judges (poll workers) of different major political parties.
  • Voters take an oath of eligibility.
    Election judges will ask for the voter’s name and address. The voter should read the oath at the top of the voter roster page and sign their name, swearing that they can legally vote and that lying is a felony.
  • Others can challenge a voter if they personally know the person cannot legally vote.
    Major political parties and some candidates can appoint voters who are residents of Minnesota from that party to act as challengers. If they personally know that someone cannot legally vote, they can file a challenge. The election judge will work with the voter to address the alleged challenge.
  • Election Day registrants and some first-time voters must show proof of residence.
    If a voter registers on Election Day, they must show proof of residence. If they are a first-time voter who registered by mail and did not provide a verifiable identification number, they must also show proof of residence.
  • The number of ballots must be correct at the end of Election Day.
    Before they leave, election judges of different major political parties confirm that the number of ballots cast matches the number of voters. To do this, they match number of ballots to the signatures on the roster, or to the number of ballot receipts. (Election judges give each voter who signs the roster a ballot receipt to hand to another poll worker for their ballot).
  • Those who already voted absentee are prevented from voting twice.
    If someone submits an absentee ballot, the polling place roster will note this next to their name. They will not be allowed to vote in person. In addition, if the absentee ballot arrives on Election Day, election officials will not count it until they have checked to make sure the voter did not also vote in person.
Post-Election Safeguards
  • County officials mark a voter’s record to show that they voted.
    County officials mark the records of each person who voted in the statewide database.
  • The statewide voter database checks to see if the person voted more than once.
    When county officials enter your voting history, they receive a warning if someone appears to have voted twice. If the warning was not due to data-entry error, the case is forwarded to the county attorney for investigation and potential prosecution.
Last updated: 4/4/2014 12:07:46 PM