Fresh off a win at the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving apparel in polling places, the Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA) is moving forward with a separate voting-related battle, this time over access to voters' information.
The group, which frequently files court challenges over election laws, last year filed a data request that included voters' names, addresses, voting history and current registration status, along with information about any challenges that had been made to a voter's status. Leaders of the MVA said they wanted to examine the data to check for fraud.
But after Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon denied the request, saying some of the data were not publicly available, the group sued. Nearly a year later, the matter is still pending, but both sides had a chance to make arguments in a Ramsey County District Court hearing Friday.
Simon's office contends data on voter eligibility and inactive voters are not public. Other data, including voters' names, addresses and records of when they voted — but not for whom — is available to the public for a fee.
Erick Kaardal, an attorney for the MVA, said the group believes Simon was wrong to deny the request, and that sorting through information about inactive voters and challenges to voters' eligibility is an important way to check for fraudulent voting by felons or people who are not U.S. citizens.
It could be several weeks before Ramsey County Judge Jennifer Frisch determines whether the case can be settled without going to trial. If it proceeds, a trial is scheduled for mid-July.