Secure and Fair Elections
As Minnesota Secretary of State, I’m honored to serve as the state’s chief elections official. Minnesotans have always understood that elections truly matter; that our vote is our voice. That’s why we have consistently been national leaders in voter turnout, election reform, and ballot integrity. I am committed to protecting and strengthening the security and fairness of our elections process. If you believe that voter suppression, discrimination, fraud, or other election irregularities have occurred, the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State will make sure the proper authorities are aware and can determine whether to follow up on your concerns. Please see below for more information about specific types of complaints but if, after reviewing that, you still have questions, comments, or information about election security, data privacy, or about possible improper election activities, I hope you’ll feel free to contact our office by phone at 1-877-600-VOTE (8683) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minnesota Secretary of State
In our increasingly complex and technologically driven world, data integrity, security, and privacy are more important than ever. Nowhere is that more true than in our election system. The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State works to ensure that every vote is properly cast, counted, and reported.
Minnesota’s reliance on paper ballots is a cornerstone of ballot security. Minnesota does not have “electronic voting”, so the paper ballots are the basis for the outcome of an election. Paper ballots and vote totals are reviewed by city, county, and state election officials several times before an election is ultimately certified by the state canvassing board.
While paper is the foundation of our ballot process, electronic systems play an important supporting role. Since 2015 the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State has devoted significant resources toward upgrading the security of these systems:
- The Office’s official website was completely rebuilt on a more modern and secure platform.
- The Office has created an Information Technology Security Team (ITST) to focus strategically on security across all of our systems while also examining best practices for internal and external users of our systems.
- The Office hired an IT security firm, with demonstrated experience in working with governments and private data, to perform a review of our IT security and physical environment.
MINNESOTA STATE ELECTION LAW
The Secretary of State’s office works closely and promptly with county auditors, municipal clerks, county attorneys and local law enforcement officials around the state when possible violations of elections law are brought to our attention. We facilitate the investigation process, but under Minnesota law Minnesota Statutes, sections 201.27, 201.275, and 211B.16, county attorneys have the legal authority and jurisdiction to investigate possible election law violations. If you believe that election misconduct, discrimination, voter intimidation, or other irregularities have occurred, you can file a complaint with your county attorney’s office, which you can find via the Minnesota County Attorney’s Association website, but feel free to contact us if you have questions or need assistance.
To file a complaint:
- Complete the Minnesota State Election Law Complaint Form.
- Cite the election law you believe was violated. Chapters covered include Minnesota statutes Chapter 200 (General Provisions), Chapter 201 (Registration and Eligibility of Voters), Chapter 203B (Absentee Voting), Chapter 204C (Election Day Activities) and Chapter 206 (Voting Systems).
- Have the form notarized and return it to your county attorney for investigation.
HELP AMERICA VOTE ACT TITLE III
The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) is a federal law that reformed aspects of the United States election system regarding federal elections only. The law was prompted by voting issues that arose during the 2000 presidential election. A suspected violation of HAVA may relate to voting machine standards, including accessibility for persons with disabilities; required posting of voter information at a polling place; and voter registration requirements and processes. You can learn more about the law, and read its full text at the EAC website:
To file a HAVA complaint with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State:
- Complete the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Complaint Form.
- Cite the part of Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Title III (Uniform and Nondiscriminatory Election Technology and Administration Requirements) you believe was violated. Choose from: Section 301 (Voting Machine Standards), 302 (Voting Information Requirements) or 303 (Statewide Voter Registration).
- Have the form notarized (or signed by an election judge at the polling place on Election Day) and return it to the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.
MINNESOTA CAMPAIGN PRACTICES VIOLATIONS
The Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) is authorized to hear and decide complaints alleging violations of the Fair Campaign Practices and Finance Acts (Minnesota Statutes, Chapters 211A and 211B ). Some examples of complaints filed with the OAH might include allegations of false campaign materials, unauthorized campaign signs and pamphlets, improper inducements to vote, and prohibited political activities by corporations. These complaints are heard by a panel of three Administrative Law Judges who may dismiss the matter, issue a reprimand, impose a civil penalty of up to $5,000, and/or refer the complaint to a county attorney for criminal proceedings.
To file a complaint with the Office of Administrative Hearings:
- Contact the OAH on its website
- Complete the Campaign Practices Complaint Form
- You will need to cite which part of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 211B (Fair Campaign Practices) or Minnesota Statutes Chapter 211A (Campaign Financial Reports) you believe was violated.
- Have the form notarized (or signed by an election judge at the polling place on Election Day) and return it to the Office of Administrative Hearings.
MINNESOTA CAMPAIGN FINANCE VIOLATIONS
The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board is responsible for enforcement of laws and rules related to candidates running for state constitutional offices, state legislators, and judges. Their jurisdiction covers campaign contributions, campaign expenditures, campaign fundraising practices, gifts to candidates and elected officials, as well as other aspects of campaign finance covered under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 10A, and Minnesota Rules 4500-4525.
To file a complaint with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board:
- Contact the Campaign Finance Board on its website
- Complete the Campaign Finance Complaint Form
- You will need to cite which part of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 10A or Chapter 211B you believe was violated
- Return the form to the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board
Secure and Fair Elections