Contact: Nathan Bowie (651) 297-8919
SAINT PAUL, Minnesota — Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie today proposed a range of amendments to election rules, including new methods for eligible voters to prove identity and residence for same-day registration. The proposals also aim to improve absentee and mail ballot forms to reduce voter error and confusion, and seek to clarify or repeal outdated or burdensome rules.
Historically, the Secretary of State proposes changes to election rules prior to each general election year to provide adequate time to implement the rules, and develop educational materials that election judges and voters need in advance of the absentee ballot period (beginning June 27, 2014) for the primary election (August 12, 2014).
“We listened to and are acting on recommendations made by election officials and community groups to enhance and ease the voting experience,” says Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. “These proposals will improve and update our elections process and help keep Minnesota the number-one state in the nation for voter participation.”
Filling Gaps to Improve Same-Day Registration The proposed rules regarding proof of identity and residence for same-day registration process are based on gaps identified by election officials, citizen groups and others in consultation with the Office of Secretary of State:
“These rules will prevent confusion at the polling place and reduce the cases of election officials having to turn away potential eligible voters,” says Debby Erickson, deputy auditor and elections coordinator for Crow Wing County, and chair of the Elections Committee for the Minnesota Association of County Officers. “We look forward to getting these rules established soon to help start the process of educating voters.”
The past two secretaries of state have also had and used the authority to approve proof of residence documents for same-day registration.
Read the full text of the proposed rules and accompanying documents.
Newly Proposed Proof of Identity and Residence OptionsThe proposed proofs of identity and residence to be used in combination for same-day registration would add to the options already authorized for eligible voters to register on Election Day. Most voters register to vote at the polls by using a Minnesota driver’s license showing their address in the precinct. However, voters are also allowed to use a combination of a photo ID (such as a Minnesota driver’s license with an out-of-date address, U.S. Passport, or military, college or tribal ID) in combination with a current utility bill that shows their address. See the full list of approved proofs of residence at http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=204.
Proposed Updates to Proof of Identity:
Proposed Updates to Proof of Residence:
Updates to Absentee and Mail Ballot FormsIn an effort to prevent errors commonly made in the absentee and mail ballot application process, the office proposes to clarify absentee and mail ballot instructions to reduce errors and confusion among voters and witnesses. Mistakes made on these forms lead to voters’ ballots being rejected.
About the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of StateThe Secretary of State is the chief election official in Minnesota and is responsible for the administration of the state’s election law. In this capacity, the office operates the Statewide Voter Registration System and prepares the official roster of voters for every election. The office also accepts filings by candidates, trains local election officials, and conducts voter education and outreach programs.
The Secretary of State is the keeper of the Great Seal of Minnesota and has the role of certifying the authenticity of a wide variety of official documents, including proclamations and executive orders.
A main function of the office is the review, approval and filing of articles of incorporation and amendments for all businesses and nonprofit organizations conducting business in Minnesota. The Secretary of State also processes all notary public applications and administers Safe at Home, an address confidentiality program designed to assist Minnesotans who fear for their safety.
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