August 15, 2016

New Pew Report: Minnesota #2 in Nation for Election Performance

Simon: Minnesota’s election system ‘continues to be a role model for the nation’

SAINT PAUL — A new report released by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Election Performance Index ranks Minnesota second in the country for its overall election performance, including being named the number one state for having the least amount of registration or absentee ballot problems.

Minnesota, along with Wisconsin and North Dakota, has ranked among the top four states for each election year measured (2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014).

“Minnesota’s election system has been and continues to be a role model for the nation and that’s in large part due to the great work done by Minnesotans at the county and local levels,” said Secretary Simon. “As we approach the 2016 general election in November, I look forward to continuing our work to make the voting process easier for all eligible Minnesotans.”

The Pew Election Performance Index (EPI) is a comprehensive assessment of election administration in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It looks at a variety of indicators to measure states’ elections performance, and to identify both potential problem areas and the impact of changes in election policy or practice. Key indicators examined include online registration availability, wait times at polling locations, voting information lookup tools, registration or mail-ballot problems, whether a post-election audit is required, and more.

The Pew Election Performance Index identified a number of areas where Minnesota excelled, including:

  • Minnesota had the nation’s sixth highest voter turnout. Prior to 2014, in 2012, 2010, and 2008, we were number one in voter turnout. Secretary Simon has challenged the people of Minnesota to return our state back to number one in voter turnout this November.
  • Minnesota had the lowest rate of voters in the nation who did not cast a ballot due to registration or absentee ballot problems.
  • Minnesota had four online voting lookup tools — registration check, polling place finder, absentee ballot status check, and sample ballot viewer.
  • Minnesota had an average 2.4-minute wait time at polling locations, ranking ahead of Wisconsin and North Dakota.
  • In addition, Pew praised the fact that Minnesota has had Election Day registration since 1974. More than half a million people typically use Election Day registration during a presidential election, and 61 percent of registered voters have used it at least once.

May 21, 2016

Secretary Simon: New In-Person Absentee Ballot Reform ‘A Big Win for Minnesota Voters’

New reform will help reduce lines at voting sites and reduce cost to counties

SAINT PAUL — Secretary of State Steve Simon called the passage of a new reform to in-person absentee voting “a big win for Minnesota voters.” The new law now allows absentee voters in the seven days before the election to place their ballot directly in the tabulator — the same as a voter would do on Election Day.

The bill (SF2495 [Sieben]/HF2959 [McNamara]), which Secretary Simon pushed to have included in the Elections Omnibus Bill, is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.

“This is a big win for Minnesota voters,” said Secretary Simon. “As more Minnesotans continue to take advantage of opportunities to vote before Election Day, we should always be looking for ways to make the process easier and more efficient for eligible voters. This new reform is going to help reduce lines at voting sites, save counties money, and ensure that voters know their ballot was accepted.”

Prior to the new law, absentee voters casting a ballot in the seven days before the election were required to place their ballot in a series of envelopes that would be opened and processed after the voter had left the voting site. This could result in long lines and increased administrative costs for counties.

Additionally, by allowing voters to place their ballot directly in the tabulator, absentee voters will be notified of any mistakes immediately and can ensure the ballot they cast will be counted.


Contact: Ryan Furlong