Bringing Minnesota voting into the 21st century

  • Updated: December 13, 2013 - 5:52 PM

Despite the controversy, the state needs the new online registration tool.


Val B. Mina/ Sacramento Bee/MCT

Photo: Val B. Mina • Sacramento Bee/MCT,

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Bringing voting into the 21st century

There has been a great deal of buzz surrounding Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s online voter registration tool, his office’s newest service that joins a collection of other Web-based applications that help voters find their polling place, check their registration status and more.

But for all the noise, what remains paramount is this: It’s a sound, no-brainer idea that provides a secure, efficient and modern method for Minnesota voters to register.

We all know that online voter registration brings Minnesota into the 21st century and relieves many voters of the headaches of submitting a paper registration, as well as the long wait to register on Election Day. Voters who had concerns about their status are now able easily able to update their registration and receive confirmation to know they are set to vote.

Security is another advantage. Without proper identification (driver’s license, Minnesota ID or Social Security number), which is then verified by the system, the online registration is kicked back, simply not accepted. It is interesting how those who are against the service could oppose having a more secure way of registering.

It is also interesting that these same people don’t seem to have had any issue with the other online tool that was rolled out at the exact same time, which allows our military and overseas citizens to register and apply for an absentee ballot online. Maybe the debate really is about restricting voters and not really about who has the “authority” to provide this service.

Greater security and modern ease of online accessibility, plus the benefit for our military and overseas citizens, all make great sense for Minnesota elections. I’m sure most people would agree — and I look forward to online tools being part of our election process in the future, because they should be.

State Rep. Carolyn Laine, DFL-Columbia Heights

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