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Dayton signs revival of online voter registration

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: April 29, 2014 - 6:04 PM

Updated

Gov. Mark Dayton signed the Minnesota Legislature's revival of online voter registration just a day after a judge struck down an online system Secretary of State Mark Ritchie created.

"I am very pleased that this bill passed with bipartisan support in both bodies, and I look forward to signing it into law today," Dayton said in a statement.

Although few Republicans supported the measure in the Senate on Tuesday, Dayton noted that, given the House's overwhelming support a few weeks ago, 62 of the Legislature's 89 Republicans backed it.

The quick action means that Minnesotans' access to online registration, which more than 3,600 voters have used since September, will continue unabated.

On Monday, a Ramsey County district judge ordered Ritchie to shutdown the online registration portal he launched last year because he lacked legislative authority to create it. The judge did not invalidate the registrations of those who had used Ritchie's system.

This year, while the lawsuit against Ritchie was ongoing, lawmakers began crafting their own measure to allow Minnesotans to register to vote online.

With court-ordered shutdown looming on midnight on Tuesday, lawmakers moved to get their own bill to Dayton's desk.

"I do believe it is important that we pass a bill...and get it to the governor as quickly as possible," said Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport and the sponsor of the measure.

The majority of senators agreed. The Senate voted 41-24 to pass the measure.

But a Republican minority said the measure could have been better.

"All of us are in favor of it, it is simply a matter of what the final product is going to look like," said Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson. "We are not putting on table the best bill...we could do better."

He and others said the measure should have been strengthened to provide for more security and data privacy.

But his proposed changes, like those from other Senate Republicans, were rejected so the senate could pass a measure identical to the one the House approved on a 129-2 vote in early April. Passing the same measure allowed the bill to be sent directly to the governor.

Dayton has long held that he would only sign election related bills if they had broad by bipartisan support. While the senate measure included only three Republican votes, Dayton made clear that the overwhelming support in the House means that it met his standard.

View who voted how in the Senate here:

20140429153426931 by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

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