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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

News Review
NEWS RELEASE: Secretary of State Ritchie Applauds New Voting Legislation
Posted Date: 5/22/2013


CONTACT: DENNIS SMITH (651) 297-8919


Greater Convenience for Voters and Cost-Savings for Local Governments Expected

ST. PAUL, Minn. — May 22, 2013—Secretary of State Mark Ritchie offered his strong support and approval for voting and election-related legislation recently enacted by the Minnesota Legislature.

“These laws further modernize our elections by make voting more convenient for eligible voters, and reducing costs and workload for election officials,” says Ritchie. “I thank our legislators and their bipartisan support. More work remains, however, to ensure Minnesotans have access to the ballot box and that our elections are run as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. ”

The laws, which will become effective August 1, 2013, address several issues impacting voters and election administration:

  • No Excuse Absentee Balloting — The law will allow Minnesota voters to cast absentee ballots without having to provide an excuse; current law requires voters to provide an excuse, including being ill or out of their precinct on Election Day, when casting absentee ballots. Minnesota will join 28 other states in offering no-excuse absentee voting to voters.
  • Expanded Mail Balloting — The law will allow all townships outside of the metro area to use this cost-saving approach which will provide for registered voters in these areas to receive their ballots directly in the mail.
  • Lowering Taxpayers Costs of Recounts — The law lowers the threshold for triggering a taxpayer-paid recount and will save tax dollars by reducing the number of recounts when the vote margin is too wide to change the election results. The law also will require candidates to request a recount in writing if they want the public to pay the expense of a recount.
  • Establishing a Pilot Project for Electronic Poll Books — The law will allow select jurisdictions to pilot poll books in the 2013 elections. The use of technology in the polling place will facilitate the voting process for voters and relieve some of the burden on election judges.

“These are smart laws in effect in many other states,” says Ritchie. “I encourage legislators and voters to push for more common-sense ways, including early voting, to make our election process more efficient while ensuring its integrity.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mark Ritchie is Minnesota’s 21st secretary of state. A press photo for media is available online.