A Minnesota task force studying a higher-tech voter verification process leaned away Monday from recommending that electronic poll books be mandatory in every precinct for the 2014 statewide election. Several panel members highlighted concerns over equipment costs, security protocols and timing while describing a full-scale rollout by next fall as a tall order.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s contention that a 13-year-old law gave him the green light to launch a new online voter registration system is receiving support from two former legislators who sponsored the measure. Former state Rep. Matt Entenza and former state Sen.
A group of Republican lawmakers and two interest groups who pushed for voter ID now are going to court to stop a state website that allows voters to register online. In a lawsuit filed in Ramsey County District Court on Monday, the group contends that DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie overstepped his authority when he launched the website in September.
Tuesday’s polls in St. Paul and Minneapolis drew both fans and skeptics of ranked-choice voting — but relatively little confusion despite long candidate slates. The votes, though, did not produce clear winners Tuesday evening in the St. Paul Ward 1 city council race, the Minneapolis mayor race and in three of 13 city council wards in that city. Under the ranked-choice system, only candidates who garner more than 50 percent of first-choice votes emerge as clear-cut victors. St.
Voters who show up at some Minnesota polling places next month will encounter sign-in stations equipped with iPads or bar code scanners as part of an experiment designed to test whether more technology would cut wait times, save money and inspire more confidence in the election process. The electronic roster, or e-poll book, pilot project will take place in fewer than 10 cities and counties, but the results are being closely monitored by election officials across the state because lawmakers could broaden the technology’s use — if the price is right.
Top Republican leaders want the state’s legislative auditor to examine a move from Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to allow online voter registration in Minnesota. In a letter sent to Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles‘ office on Monday, GOP minority leaders Kurt Daudt and David Hann, along with Republican election committee leads Rep. Tim Sanders and Sen. Scott Newman, said Ritchie “unilaterally” started the program without vetting the proposal in committee hearings. The program allows new voters to register online or returning voters to update their information.
DFLers who said they could create a high-tech alternative to photo identification at the polls that would preserve voter access now say they may not be able to deliver on that compromise solution anytime soon.
Faster, more reliable voting machines are arriving just in time to help handle an expansion of absentee voting in Minnesota and a high-profile test of Minneapolis’ ranked-choice voting in this fall’s mayoral election. Six of the seven metro-area counties are spending millions to replace hundreds of 13-year-old optical-scan ballot-counting machines, taking advantage of federal grants and the recent certification of new voting technology.
The Anoka County Board has awarded a contract for new election equipment that will be in place in time for the 2013 election Nov.
House Democrats passed a series of procedural election changes Wednesday that just might earn the signature of Gov. Mark Dayton, who has called for broad, bipartisan support before he would allow them to become law.
The full House passed a DFL-backed package of modest election changes with two Republican votes on Wednesday and likely more Republican support to come.