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Groups filing suit today to close online voter registration website

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns Updated: November 4, 2013 - 7:41 AM

In the latest shot in battle over online registration, Republican lawmakers and two conservative groups today will file suit to close the state’s month-old website allowing Minnesotans to register to vote online.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie launched the registration website in September, after months of quiet work to create it, without getting specific authorization to do so from the Legislature. Since then non-partisan analysts have said the law is unclear about whether he had authorization, Republicans have asked him to take the website down and Democrats have said it should be approved by the Legislature.

Today, Minnesota Majority, the Minnesota Voters Alliance, state Reps. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, Jim Newberger, R-Becker, Ernie Leidiger, R-Mayer, Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, and Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, will announce their suit to shut it down.

Asked about the coming suit, Ritchie spokesman Nathan Bowie said: “More than 1,700 Minnesotans have applied through online voter registration and we are proud to provide a tool that is saving taxpayers great costs, modernizing voter outreach efforts, and streamlining the work of our partners in local governments.”

Ritchie’s office had long expected a suit over the online system – nearly a month ago, it refused to release its legal analysis of the online system citing “potential impending legal action.”

Pre-registration for Tuesday's election online or on paper has already ended so unregistered voters who wish to vote will have to do register at their polling places.

Update: According to Minnesota Majority, Limmer was but is no longer part of the suit. This post has been updated to reflect the change and the addition of new plaintiffs.

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