A group of four Republican lawmakers and a pair of conservative watchdog groups filed a lawsuit Monday morning seeking to suspend the use of Minnesota's new, web-based voter registry.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a Democrat, implemented the online registration system this fall at mnvotes.sos.state.mn.us. It has been used by 1,900 people for a first-time registration or to make changes to an existing registration.
WHO IS FILING THE LAWSUIT?
- Minnesota Majority
- The Minnesota Voters Alliance
- Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa)
- Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria)
- Rep. Ernie Leidiger (R-Mayer)
- Rep. Jim Newberger (R-Becker)
The lawsuit was filed in Ramsey County District Court.
WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?
The plaintiffs allege Ritchie has "once again exceeded the constitutional authority of his office and usurped powers reserved to the legislature." They believe the registration system should have required legislative approval and that it is vulnerable to fraud.
"It's like he's saying, ‘So what about the law? You don't like it? So sue me.' Well, we shouldn't have to sue our chief elections official to get him to follow our election laws, but here we are again." - Andy Cilek, Minnesota Voters Alliance president
"Even after the recent data privacy issues with MNSure and the Department of Public Safety, this was done behind closed doors, with no oversight, and deals with Minnesotans' most personal data." - Dan McGrath, Minnesota Majority president
SEC. OF STATE RESPONSE
Nathan Bowie, spokesperson for the Secretary of State's office, released the following statement Monday:
"We don't comment on litigation, but we are on firm legal ground providing eligible voters with common sense tools based on Minnesota law. Online voter registration follows a series of other digital services we have introduced to help Minnesotans, while saving taxpayers' money. Thousands have already benefited from these tools and we look forward to continuing to serve our citizens with the most efficient government possible. Our state is at the top of the nation in voter participation and election administration, and we work hard to make sure we stay number-one."