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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

News Review
Pew Report: Minnesota Among Nation's Elite for Election Performance
Posted Date: 4/8/2014

Contact: Nathan Bowie, (651) 297-8919,

SAINT PAUL, Minnesota — The Pew Charitable Trusts’ latest Election Performance Index, released today, ranks Minnesota second in the country for its election performance — citing the state’s nation-leading voter turnout, popular election day registration, its online suite of voter tools at, and more. Pew identified Minnesota as one of only seven other states that placed in the top tier for each election year measured (2008, 2010 and 2012).

North Dakota ranked first, ahead of Minnesota, with Wisconsin third. Minnesota topped Wisconsin for the highest voter turnout in both 2008 and 2012.

The Pew Election Performance Index measures election administration by looking at key indicators such as: wait times at polling locations; availability of online voting information tools; rejection of voter registrations; problems with registration or absentee ballots; rejection of military and overseas ballots; voter turnout; and accuracy of voting technology. The index makes it possible for all 50 states and the District of Columbia to measure how well they conduct elections compared to other states.

“Engaged voters, helpful online voter tools, and great work of local election officials and election judges are the engines driving the success of Minnesota’s elections,” says Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. “This is a significant election year, and it’s our goal to continue to build on our past success and increase voter turnout.”

Pew Election Performance Index Identifies Where Minnesota Excels

  • Minnesota had the nation’s highest voter turnout rate in 2008 (78 percent) and 2012 (76 percent). 
  • The state’s rate of nonvoting due to registration or absentee ballot problems was the second-lowest in the nation in 2008 and 2012. 
  • Minnesota has had Election Day registration since 1974. More than half a million people typically use Election Day registration during a presidential election, and 61 percent of registered voters have used it at least once.
  • In 2012, Minnesota had four online voting lookup tools — registration check, polling place finder, absentee ballot status check, and sample ballot viewer. Minnesota added online voter registration in 2013. 
  • Minnesota’s rate of mail ballots unreturned was 4.3 percent, one of the lowest in the country.

2014 Is a Significant Election Year
This election year, Minnesota voters will head to the polls to decide a U.S. Senate seat, all U.S. House seats, as well as governor and other state constitutional officers, and all Minnesota House seats. The 2014 election will also include many county commissioners, county sheriffs, county attorneys, auditors, treasurers and recorders.

Key 2014 election dates:

  • May 20–June 3 — Candidate filing period. Candidates running for partisan office need to file for office during this window of time. Visit the Secretary of State website for candidate filing information.
  • June 27 — Absentee ballots will be available on June 27 for the August 12 Primary Election. 
  • July 22 — Pre-registration deadline for Primary Election. Voters are encouraged to pre-register to vote to avoid long lines and waits at the polling place. Voters who miss this deadline may still register at their polling place on Primary Election Day, August 12.
  • August 12 — Primary Election Day. 
  • September 19 — Absentee ballots will be available on September 19 for the November 4 General Election. 
  • October 14 — Pre-registration deadline for the General Election. Voters are encouraged to pre-register to vote to avoid long lines and waits at the polling place. Voters who miss this deadline may still register at their polling place on Election Day, November 4.
  • November 4 — General Election Day.

View all 2014 election dates at the Secretary of State Website and sign up to receive election-related email updates.

About the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State
The 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.