VRM in the States: Minnesota
Minnesota currently has the Electronic Registration, Online Registration, Election Day Registration, and Portability components of Voter Registration Modernization in place.
Advances in Voter Registration Modernization
- Electronic Voter Registration: Minnesota launched electronic voter registration at the Department of Public Safety (DPS) – which serves as the state’s driver’s licensing agency – in 2004. Individuals submit information on paper and clerks input responses electronically. Voter registration information is transferred nightly to election officials.
- Online Voter Registration: Minnesota launched online voter registration through the Secretary of State’s office in 2013. Eligible citizens can use the system to register to vote or update their registration information even if they do not have a state driver’s license or non-driver ID. In Minnesota, voter registration forms do not require hand-written signatures, so the collection of a digital signature is not necessary for registration.
- Election Day Registration: Minnesota implemented Election Day registration in 1974. Individuals may register and vote at the polls on Election Day and at early voting centers during the early voting period.
- Portability: Registered voters who move to a new precinct within the state without updating their registration can, on Election Day, re-register at their new polling place and cast a regular ballot. Registered voters who move within the same precinct can cast a regular ballot at their polling place without any additional documentation.
- Electronic Pollbooks: Five out of 87 Minnesota counties used electronic pollbooks to sign in voters in 2014.
Gains from Voter Registration Modernization in Minnesota
The steps Minnesota has taken thus far have yielded increases in voter registration and financial benefits for the state. For example:
- During an April 2015 interview with Brennan Center staff, Minnesota election officials reported that online voter registration has improved the accuracy of voter registration records and resulted in a reduction in staff time spent on processing registration forms.
- Minnesota implemented online voter registration at a cost of approximately $55,000.
- Between the launch of online voter registration in 2013 and the November 2014 general election, 16,515 new voter registration applications were submitted online.
- For the 2014 general election, same day registrations constituted 7.2% of all registrations received in the two years preceding the election.