Secretary of state to Republicans: Happy to talk about online registration
October 16, 2013 — 1:00pm
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's office, under fire for creating an online voter registration, said he would love to meet with his critics to answer their questions.
In a letter on Tuesday, Ritchie's deputy Beth Fraser proposed four meeting times this week to address Republican lawmakers' concerns about the new system.
Republican lawmakers, joined by the nonpartisan legislative auditor and The DFL chair of the Senate elections committee Katie Sieben, have questioned whether Ritchie had the authority to launch an online registration system and whether the new system is secure.
In her letter, Fraser sought to calm the storm on both fronts.
She wrote the Republican leaders of the House and Senate, as well as the Republican leads on election issues, that the online registration tool is simply a continuation of the state's long pattern.
"Minnesota has had a state-level registration system that counties have accessed remotely since the late 1980s. The system currently in use, the Statewide Voter Registration System, was developed in 2004 by then-Secretary Kiffmeyer," Fraser wrote. Kiffmeyer, ousted from office by Ritchie, is now a Republican state senator. "County election officials have been asking for online voter registration for years now, after seeing the benefits and cost-savings it has provided in other states."
Fraser also said that the office is well aware of security concerns and has tested it to make sure the online system protects private information.
"The new online system is significantly more secure than the paper system," Fraser said.
Gov. Mark Dayton, speaking to a mostly Republican audience at the annual Minnesota Business Partnership dinner, repeated his familiar attack on the House GOP, blaming them for a legislative impasse on transportation.