MN's Current Election System
Let's Keep MN in the Lead! Vote "NO" on the Amendment to Restrict Voting Rights November 6 PDF Print E-mail

MN Turnout in 2008 was Top in the Nation at 77.8%

Since 1980,
Minnesota's voter turnout has topped the nation's by an average of 17%, and our state has come in first in voter turnout more often than any other.  
The ideal for a democracy is for each citizen to have one vote.  As more citizens are able to participate in selecting their elected officials, we come closer to this ideal.

voter turnout mn vs us

What makes Minnesota's high turnout possible?   

First, Minnesota has a user friendly voting system which minimizes barriers to voting and uses election day registration.  In 1974 Minnesota started using what is called "same day registration,"  which allows voters to register and cast their vote on the same day.  It worked so well in Minnesota  that  9 other states copied the system.  Those states also have a higher voter turnout, one that is 10 to 12 percent higher than states without same day registration.

Second, MN is flexible ID about the kind of ID people registering to vote on election day must have:  a Photo ID and evidence of residency in the precinct or someone registered in the voter's precinct to vouch for the voter. Having a flexible ID can increase turnout 3 to 4%.

Third, the Secretary of State's Office makes the procedure for absentee voting clear.  It assists voters by automatically including a Voter Registration Form with a requested absentee ballot when the person requesting the form is not registered.  In 2008, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie made it easy for Minnesotans in the military to vote by providing an informative website and outreach to military service personnel.   According to the Overseas Vote Foundation, Minnesota's 2008 military absentee ballot return rate was 64.4 percent, over two and a half times that of the 2008 national military absentee ballot return rate of 26.2% (MN Case Study 2008).


Safeguards in MN's Election System PDF Print E-mail

beth fraserBeth Fraser, Director of Governmental Affairs in the MN Secretary of State's Office notes that MN has not just one of the best, but the best  election system in the country.  In an eleven minute video, she explains how MN's centralized database for registered voters works, including how mistakes are corrected; how the voter registration database is updated from information from the Social Security, Driver and Vehicle, Postal Change of Address, list of felons who have not had their voting rights reinstated, and list of residents who are not citizens; and how ineligible voters are turned over to county attorneys for further investigationWatch her video.

See Safeguards in Minnesota's Election System for a fact sheet from the Minnesota Secretary of State.

Voter ID as written is just not our style PDF Print E-mail




Greater Participation Means Better Government

norm ornsteinReporting on Norm Ornstein's recent book It's Even Worse Than It Looks, Lori Sturdevant was relieved to discover Ornstein still holds a Minnesota notion:  "If more people voted and helped choose candidates, this state and nation would be better governed."

Ornstein notes that the Amendment is presented under the pretext of guarding against fraud.  "It's a pretext to try to narrow voter participation."  In a recent talk at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Ornstein and his coauthor Thomas Mann cautioned Minnesotans to resist the Amendment which would replace election day registration with provisional balloting, that Drs. Ornstein and Mann referred to as a terrible process which "can be manipulated by partisan election officials."  They recommend increasing voter turnout and ranked choice voting as ways to move from partisan extremes.


Amendments Would Harm Minnesota's Reputation

dane smith small

Writing on both constitutional amendments, Dane Smith, President of Growth and Justice states, "So understand this, once and for all: We will do great damage to our brand and our reputation if we approve either one of the constitutional amendments on the ballot in November."

While one amendment would impose unnecessary barriers to voting, the other would cast in constitutional stone the second-class status of our family members and friends.  This is in a state which never outlawed interracial marriage and was one of the first states to allow election day registration and oath by signature to exercise one's right to vote.  "Fact is," Smith emphasizes, "there is no significant problem in our election system," and thus no need for a constitutional amendment which would make it harder or impossible for so many Minnesotans to vote.




MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at

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How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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