The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a challenge from a conservative group seeking changes to how voter eligibility disputes over possible felony convictions are resolved during elections.
In a 14-page ruling, justices said the lawsuit, filed by the Minnesota Voters Alliance, must first be heard in lower courts.
“The broad-ranging challenges alleged here, which respondents dispute, should be addressed first in the district court, where any factual disputes can be fully litigated and resolved,” the court wrote in its opinion.
The Minnesota Voters Alliance sued Secretary of State Steve Simon in June, following an unsuccessful challenge in federal court. The group says its mission is to fight voter fraud.
In 2012, the Minnesota Voters Alliance advocated for the failed state voter ID constitutional amendment. Opponents decried the effort, saying it sought to suppress voters who tended to be members of minorities, transient or low-income.
Recent court decisions have rejected stricter voter regulations approved in Kansas, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin, finding in virtually all cases that voter fraud is nonexistent and that the tougher regulations disenfranchised minority voters.
Erick G. Kaardal, the attorney representing the Minnesota Voters Alliance, said in an interview that the ruling paves the way for the group’s lawsuit to be filed in district court, possibly as soon as next week.
“The doors of the district court are open so that serious good faith claims … can be addressed,” Kaardal said.