This case focuses on whether the ability of the Minnesota Secretary of State has the ability to implement online voter registration without legislative approval

Case Updates

In April 2014, Ramsey County District Court ruled that Ritchie lacked authority to create the online voter registration system and demanded it be shut down immediately. However it said that people who already registered would not have their registration revoked. The Minnesota Legislature then passed legislation to authorize online voting, thereby mooting the decision.

Case Background

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota filed a brief, in a lawsuit challenging the online voter registration system, arguing that individuals who properly used the online voter registration system should not have their registrations invalidated. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie was sued this fall by four legislators, the Minnesota Voters Alliance and Minnesota Majority after he created and implemented an online voter registration system; they argued that Ritchie did not have the authority to create the new system.

The ACLU-MN did not take a position in its brief whether or not Ritchie did in fact have the authority to implement online voter registration. Instead the brief focuses on the more than 2,000 individuals who registered through the new system. In their lawsuit the petitioners argue that the individuals who registered online should have to re-register. The ACLU-MN counters that argument by saying that because the information collected in the online form met all the statutory requirements necessary to register to vote in the State of Minnesota the registrant has complied with Minnesota election law and should remain on the voter rolls even if Secretary Ritchie did not have the authority to permit online registration.


William Pentelovitch and Emma Greenman of Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, LLP and Teresa Nelson, Legal Director of the ACLU-MN

Date filed

December 4, 2013


Minnesota District Court