Election Watchdog Group Sues MN Secretary of State

The Minnesota Voters Alliance has filed a lawsuit against Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon for his refusal to provide public voter data.

Photo Credit: Office of the Secretary of State - Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA) is pursuing legal action against Minnesota Secretary of State Steven Simon for refusing to cooperate with the MVA’s request for public voter registration information.

Last month, the MVA requested access to public voter data managed by Simon’s office, including data such as names, addresses, participation history, voter status, and any challenges noted such as ineligible felons or non-citizens. Simon denied the request, which the MVA contends is in full compliance with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

Now the MVA has filed a lawsuit against Simon for his refusal to provide public voter data.

“All the information we’re asking for is classified as public under Minnesota’s data practices act and election statutes,” MVA’s Executive Director Andy Cilek said in a press release.

The majority of the data requested by the MVA is routinely sold on CD-ROM by Simon’s office to any Minnesota voter for $46. However, the CD-ROM does not include information pertaining to voter eligibility and may also exclude older, inactive voter registrations. The MVA stands by the request saying none of the data requested is classified as private.

“Minnesota voters have the right to independently verify that elections are conducted according to the laws and that no irregularities have occurred,” MVA’s Communication Director Dan McGrath said in a press release. “Transparency is a key election principle in an open, democratic society.”

This is not the first time Simon has refused to release public voter data. Recently the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent out letters to the Secretary of State for each state requesting election data. Simon rejected the commission’s request. MVA Attorney Erick Kaardal called Simon’s decision the “latest example of stonewalling by his office” and a “clear violation of the law.”

“Secretary Simon’s refusal of the federal election integrity commission’s request for Minnesota’s voter registration records is just the latest example of stonewalling by his office,” Kaardal said. “His office has denied several lawful requests for access to election data. This is a clear violation of the law and we’re going to court to demand this unlawful behavior cease and the information be provided.”

The MVA’s formal data request can be found here.

Christine Bauman