New voter integrity report exposes weakness in MN system

American Experiment Releases Voter Integrity Report, Urges Secretary of State Simon to Release Data

Post card experiment reveals weakness in Minnesota voting system

(Golden Valley, MN) Center of the American Experiment released a report today that exposed the weaknesses in Minnesota’s same day registration system that relies on a “vote now, check later” verification process. Election day registration in Minnesota was criticized by the Office of Legislative Auditor in a 2018 program evaluation report and was the subject of a lawsuit ultimately decided by the Minnesota Supreme Court in April 2020.

In an effort to check the validity of voters who registered to vote on Election Day, American Experiment mailed post cards to over 11,000 same day registrants in Minneapolis that resulted in an 8 percent return rate. Postal verification is the process used by counties to verify voter addresses after elections, and Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon refuses to release the data from these mailings.

“This report exposes the big flaw in Minnesota’s voting system – that people who register to vote on election day are treated differently from those who register in advance,” said John Hinderaker, President of Center of the American Experiment. “As our post card experiment shows, we have no idea if the people who register on election day actually live where they claim, even though we count their votes.”

The report offered several recommendations to strengthen Minnesota’s voting system and improve the integrity of elections:

  • The verification process for election day registration should be the same as registration before Election Day. Voters should not be allowed to vote until their eligibility has been determined.
  • Minnesota should add a provisional ballot process to election law, joining the other states that use provisional balloting to complement election day registration.
  • Minnesota should add a photo ID requirement to election law.
  • Secretary of State Steve Simon should immediately release the challenged voter data requested by the Minnesota Voters Alliance.
  • The Minnesota Legislature should hold Secretary Simon accountable in public hearings for not releasing the challenged voter data.
  • The Minnesota Legislature and Secretary of State should fully implement the recommendations of the Legislative Auditor from the 2018 and 2019 program evaluations of election day registration. 

American Experiment’s February Thinking Minnesota poll found that one-third of respondents lack confidence in the integrity of Minnesota elections, a surprising number in a state that leads the nation every year in voter turnout.

“Secretary Simon can and should release the results of the county post card verification efforts to restore trust in Minnesota elections,” added Hinderaker.  

The full report can be accessed here. A version of the report will also appear in the summer issue of Thinking Minnesota magazine. Subscribe here for free!