Online voter registration is now available to Minnesotan residents
Minnesotans can now apply online to register to vote or update their existing registration, thanks to an application developed by the office of the Minnesota secretary of state at mnvotes.org.
The online process will deliver convenience to voters, reduce errors in voter rosters and deliver significant cost and time savings for local election officials, according to Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.
In addition to launching online voter registration during National Voter Registration Month, the office is making absentee ballot applications available online for military and overseas voters.
This will allow those voters to apply for an absentee ballot without the need to print, scan forms and return by mail, fax or e-mail. In the 2012 general election, there were 10,506 absentee ballots successfully cast by military and overseas Minnesota voters.
Paper applications will still be available.
The online tool was built to ensure that only persons providing verifiable identification numbers will be able to register. Online applications will go through the same verification process as paper registrations.
If approved, the applicant will be added to the voter roster, and a postcard will be mailed to the voter to verify their address and provide the location of their polling place.
According to Ritchie, online registration will reduce the primary costs of current registration: paper, printing, postage and manual data entry. The office of the secretary of state estimates the time required by counties to process an online application will be one-third to one-half of that needed to process a paper application.
Online registration also minimizes inaccurate records that arise from processing handwritten paper forms, such as data entry error, illegible handwriting and incomplete forms.
More accurate registration rolls will lead to fewer problems and shorter lines on Election Day.
Ritchie encourages Minnesotans to check their registration online to ensure it is up-to-date. In Minnesota, a person must re-register to vote if their address has changed, if they have changed names, or if they have not voted in the previous four years.
More than 35 municipalities across the state will hold elections on November 5 for various city officers, and 113 school districts will hold elections for school board members and/or have ballot questions.
Eligible voters will be able to register online until 5 p.m. on October 15. Pre-registration is not required, and eligible voters may register at their polling place on Election Day.