Minnesota Secretary of State Unwilling to Provide Public Data to Minnesota Voters Alliance Despite Court Rulings

On Apr 15, the Minnesota Court of Appeals voted 3-0 to require the Secretary of State, Steve Simon, to release public election data that he has been withholding for years. Secretary Simon’s actions violate the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

Any Cilek of Minnesota Voter Alliance

This most recent court decision in favor of the Minnesota Voter Alliance (MVA) follows the 2018 decision in the Ramsey County District Court that ordered Secretary Simon to hand over voter-registration records that he argued were private.

The battle to release the public data between the Secretary of State and MVA began in July of 2017 when MVA submitted a Data Practices Act (DPA) request to the Secretary of State so that they could continue researching and determining how much ineligible voting takes place in Minnesota.

MVA submitted the DPA request and simply asked for already public data like name, address,

voter status, year of birth, and so on, that are listed Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS) database, including those deemed ineligible. The request did NOT include private data like Social Security and driver’s license numbers.

Secretary Simon is showing that he won’t hand over the simple public data that easy. His office said they will review the most recent Court of Appeals opinion “in anticipation of filing a petition for further review before the Minnesota Supreme Court.”

In 2016, around 26,000 of the total 355,000 registered voters in Minnesota had their voter eligibility challenged due to improper identification or previous felony charges. Minnesota is no stranger to voter fraud as it has a history of illegally allowing convicted felons to vote.

An attorney representing the Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA), Erick Kaardal, applauded the most recent ruling, saying “the public wants to have information … so we know what’s going on with the voting system so we can make it better.”

The ongoing legal battle will continue with Secretary Simon’s office anticipating filing for further review before the Minnesota Supreme court.

Megan Olson
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Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.