Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Recent News
Home / News / ACLU joins lawsuit over online voter registration
The ACLU-MN's brief argues that the judge should allow those voters to stay on the rolls, even if the judge rules Ritchie's creation of the system was improper.

ACLU joins lawsuit over online voter registration

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's online voter registration is now the subject of a lawsuit. (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s online voter registration is now the subject of a lawsuit. (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

The Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a brief in the lawsuit challenging the state’s new online voter registration system. The advocacy group is not entirely siding with Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, but argues that the judge in that case cannot rule to invalidate the registrations of Minnesotans who already used Ritchie’s controversial program.

More than 2,000 people have signed up to vote through the website launched in late September. Ritchie’s launch of online registration without legislative approval has faced criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, and last month a coalition of conservative groups and GOP legislators filed suit, claiming he had outstripped his authority. The suit brought by Minnesota Majority and the Minnesota Voters Alliance, with four members of the House  Republican caucus as co-plaintiffs,  also urged the judge in that case to disqualify those people who had already registered though the system.

The ACLU-MN’s brief argues that the judge should allow those voters to stay on the rolls, even if the judge rules Ritchie’s initial creation of the system was improper. In its filing, the organization writes that the state constitution protects those voters who registered “in good faith,” and says any mistake made by Ritchie should not fall on citizens.

“Minnesota courts have long refused to disenfranchise eligible voters because of errors made by government officials interpreting or implementing Minnesota election laws,” reads the brief.

In a statement released yesterday, the ACLU-MN executive director Charles Samuelson said the judge should not allow unknowing voters to be harmed because of a partisan battle.

“These voters registered using a system they believed to be valid,” Samuelson said. “They should not have their right to vote called into question because of a political fight.”

The Attorney General’s Office issued its own round of court filings on Ritchie’s behalf earlier this week, and an initial hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 13.

About Mike Mullen

Leave a Reply