Minnesota Secretary Of State - Secretary Simon Certifies Automatic Voter Registration System
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Secretary Simon Certifies Automatic Voter Registration System

April 29, 2024

New registrations expected through the system in 4-6 weeks

SAINT PAUL — On Monday, April 29, 2024, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon certified that the state’s new Automatic Voter Registration system is ready for use. With Automatic Voter Registration, eligible Minnesotans who are applying for or renewing a state-issued ID will be registered to vote without needing to affirmatively “opt in.” The system includes an intensive review process by state and local government officials to verify registrants' identity and residence and confirm their eligibility to vote.

“Automatic Voter Registration strengthens election security and increases voter access by shifting the responsibility of voter registration from eligible voters to election officials,” said Secretary Simon. “While the system involves multiple rounds of review and verification by state and local government officials, it is simple and seamless for eligible Minnesotan voters.”

The verification process starts with a Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) employee reviewing the documentation provided by the applicant at current and previous transactions to determine if the applicant is a U.S. citizen. If the applicant provided citizenship-affirming documentation, then their information will be sent to the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. If citizenship-affirming documentation was not provided, no information is sent.

“DVS staff has been processing identification cards for years," said Pong Xiong, Driver and Vehicle Services Director. "Ensuring the integrity of the credential and credentialing system is critical to our work and part of that process is verifying citizenship."

State election officials will review the information provided to remove exact matches for existing voting records and ensure that the applicant’s right to vote has not been taken away by a court. If confirmed, the applicant’s information will be provided to their county election office to be registered to vote.

After that process, if the applicant is not already a registered voter, they will be mailed an opt-out notice to their residence. This notice provides the applicant with the option to decline to be registered to vote. If the notice is returned within 20 days, then the applicant will not be registered. If the applicant does not return the notice, they will be registered to vote. If the applicant was previously registered to vote with another name or address, their voter record will be updated.

Download a flowchart of the Automatic Voter Registration process.

Due to the thoroughness of the review and verification process, eligible Minnesotans should expect voter registration processing to take 4-6 weeks. As with any new system, the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State will be monitoring the process to ensure all phases work as expected and that Minnesotans are understanding the process.

Automatic Voter Registration was approved by the Minnesota legislature and signed into law in 2023. Before this law, applicants at a Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) office needed to check a box “opting in” to voter registration.

Twenty-three other states and the District of Columbia have implemented Automatic Voter Registration since 2015.

Additional information about Automatic Voter Registration is available on the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.