Minnesota Secretary Of State - Automatic voter registration
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Automatic voter registration

Automatic Voter Registration was approved by the Minnesota legislature and signed into law in 2023. It updates a policy that allows eligible Minnesotans to register to vote or update their voter registration when they apply for or renew their Minnesota driver’s license, instruction permit, or state identification card.

Before this law, applicants at Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) needed to check a box “opting in” to voter registration. Under the new law, the eligible applicants will be registered without needing to affirmatively “opt in.” Applicants can still choose to opt out of voter registration.

Automatic voter registration will increase election security and improve voter access by registering voters and updating voter records for eligible Minnesotans who apply for or renew a state-issued ID.

How does automatic voter registration work?

Automatic voter registration is called automatic because of its convenience for applicants. In fact, the process of registering someone to vote under this new law is complex and involves multiple points of human verification.

The verification process starts with a 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. State election officials will then conduct an additional review to verify 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.

Applicants will be mailed an opt-out notice to their residence. If the opt-out is returned within 20 days, then the applicant will not be registered. If the opt-out notice is not returned, the voter will be registered to vote.

The opt-out notice is available in:

When will I be registered to vote?

Since there is a 20-day opt-out period and a verification process, voter registration may take 4-6 weeks from when a person first applies for their state-issued ID. Minnesotans can check their voter registration status online.

Once a person is registered to vote, a postcard will be mailed to their address with their polling place location, precincts, and election districts. If the postal verification card is unable to be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, their voter record will be challenged. A second postal verification card is sent and if that card cannot be delivered their voter record will be inactivated.

What if I do not want to register to vote?

Once eligibility has been verified by DVS, a notification will be mailed to the applicant. The notice will include information on how to opt-out if the person does not wish to register to vote. If the opt-out notice is returned within 20 days, they will not be registered to vote. Additionally, when registered, voters may request to inactivate their voter record at any time.

Who is eligible for automatic voter registration?

Only individuals who present citizenship documentation, such as a U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport, will be registered to vote.

Eligible 16- and 17-year-olds will be pre-registered to vote and will be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18.

In Minnesota, you are eligible to register to vote if you:

  • Are at least 16 years old to pre-register and at least 18 years old on the day of the election in which you intend to vote
  • Are a U.S. citizen
  • Maintain residence in Minnesota for at least 20 days before Election Day
  • Are not currently incarcerated for a felony conviction
  • Are not under court-ordered guardianship in which the court order revokes your right to vote
  • Have not been found by a court to be legally incompetent to vote
What if I am already registered to vote?

If you apply for or renew your license or ID card with Driver and Vehicle Services, and the data provided matches the name and address associated with your voter record, no action will be taken.

If your name and/or address have changed, that information will be provided to your county election office to update your voter record. You will not receive the automatic voter registration notice as you are already registered to vote. However, if your address has changed, you will receive a postcard listing your updated address, along with your polling place location, precincts, and election districts.