Minnesota Secretary Of State - November 2023 Letter to Postsecondary Institutions
Skip to main content

November 2023 Letter to Postsecondary Institutions

Letter Sent to Colleges and Universities from Secretary Simon


Re: Higher Education Voter Outreach and Engagement


As Minnesota looks to a busy election year in 2024, I want to make sure you are aware of some of the changes by the Minnesota legislature in 2023 that will impact higher education voting opportunities. My office has worked with many of you and your institutions already to partner on engagement.  And while Minnesota has some of the highest voter turnout in the country, we know there is room for improvement with our younger generations. Your voter engagement work on campus is critical to this effort, and the legislation passed in 2023 is designed to strengthen that effort. 


This letter provides an overview of some of those new requirements, and information on resources to help assist with compliance with those new requirements. Specifically, the legislature made the following changes with respect to postsecondary education institutions and voting:


  • Requiring postsecondary education institutions to enter into an agreement with their county to share residential housing lists at least 60 days prior to an election. Prior to this legislative change, postsecondary schools had the option of providing this list. Now, under the legislative changes in 2023, all postsecondary institutions that receive federal aid must enter into this agreement to provide the residential housing list for both students that live in the institutions residential housing, but also for all students who live within the city or cities where the campus is situated. Postsecondary institutions must also send an updated list to the county 20 days in advance of the election. See 2023 Session Law, Chapter 62, Article 4, Sections 8 & 14


  • Requiring postsecondary education institutions to provide voter registration information and resources to students. This legislative change requires all postsecondary institutions accepting federal aid to provide voter registration forms to students at least twice a year, in the fall and spring, and in state election years this information must be provided 15 days prior to the preregistration deadline for the state general election. Prior to this change, postsecondary institutions were only required to provide voter registration forms once during the fall quarter. See 2023 Session Law, Chapter 62, Article 4, Sections 23


  • Requiring postsecondary education institutions to designate a staff person as a campus vote coordinator, create a voter engagement plan, and maintain a webpage providing information on voting for students. The legislative changes in 2023 require every postsecondary education institution accepting state or federal aid to designate a staff person as the campus vote coordinator, and that coordinator is tasked with ensuring that the campus is in compliance with the statutory requirements for campus voter information. Specifically, the campus coordinator must consult with campus student associations to develop a voter engagement plan, as well as ensure that the campus has a website that provides information on the voter education plan, information on how to register and vote in Minnesota, resource on how to vote if the student maintains residence in another state, and applicable deadlines related to upcoming elections in Minnesota. See 2023 Session Law, Chapter 62, Article 4, Section 24


  •  Requiring postsecondary education institutions submit a report by November 30 of each year to the Office of Secretary of State on their implementation of these statutory provisions. The new laws require that postsecondary education institutions report each year on, at minimum, the institutions voter engagement plan and when and how voter registration forms were distributed to students. The report may also include information about methods the institution identified that were effective in increasing student registrations. Office of Secretary of State will compile these reports and submit a summary report to the legislature by February 1 of the following year. You can submit that report here: https://forms.office.com/g/e5teL4yzTX.

See 2023 Session Law, Chapter 62, Article 4, Section 23

I realize that these are significant changes for some institutions, but the good news is that many schools are already doing some or all of this work. My office will soon have a webpage with information and resources that may be helpful as you implement these new changes. To access that page, you will go to https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/get-involved/postsecondary-toolkit/ The page will contain information on the new law requirements outlined here, as well as resources such as key election dates, information on how to register to vote in Minnesota, resources on voting in other states, and other resources that will assist in compliance. Please reach out to Melanie Hazelip, our Voter Outreach Director, if there is additional information that would assist you in compliance or in your outreach efforts generally: melanie.hazelip@state.mn.us.

While my staff will work to assist your institutions as you work to comply with the new requirements, I want to encourage you to work directly with your county election officials. Developing a relationship with your county election official will be critical to implementation, particularly as it relates to the requirements around student housing lists. Contact information for your county elections office can be found here: https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/find-county-election-office/

Thank you for your efforts to ensure our student voters have the resources and information they need to engage in our election system. Your partnership is invaluable.


Steve Simon

Secretary of State


At any time, please reach out with questions and requests for resources and information to:

Michael Wall, Youth Voter Outreach Specialist