Network Firm News

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Maslon attorneys Bill Pentelovitch and Emma Greenman successfully advocated for protection of the rights of more than 3,600 voters who registered to vote using the Minnesota Secretary of State's online voter registration system.

Bill and Emma represented the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota as amicus curiae before the Ramsey County District Court in a case which challenged the right of the Secretary of State to create an online voter registration tool without explicit legislative authorization. Although they took no position on the merits of the claim that the Secretary of State exceeded his authority, Bill and Emma argued that if the Court found that the Secretary of State was not authorized to create the online registration tool Minnesota voters who registered online should not have their registrations to vote voided.

On April 28, 2014, the Ramsey County District Court ruled that the Secretary of State did not have the statutory authority to adopt an online voter registration system and ordered the system shut down. However, the Court adopted the position advocated by Bill and Emma and refused to invalidate the voter registration of those voters who had already registered online.

Two days after the Ramsey County District Court's decision and just hours before the court-ordered deadline for the Secretary of State to shut down the online registration portal, Governor Mark Dayton signed legislation granting the Secretary of State the statutory authority to continue operating the online voter registration system.

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