Brown County Browser: Election security and voter registration

Election Security is an issue that seemed to resound in the 2016 Presidential Election. Minnesota takes pride in the security that is implemented at each of our elections. There is a lot of accountability that goes into each voter record that is included in the State Voter Registration System (SVRS).

When an individual submits a voter registration application, their information is verified against data in the Department of Public Safety (DPS) or the Social Security Administration (SSA) databases. The verification process is as follows:

If a record cannot be matched to one in the DPS database, but there are potential matches to the voter record in the DPS database, the potential matches are provided in SVRS and are then queued for additional verification by the county auditor;

If a record cannot be verified in the DPS database and contains the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security Number, the record is sent to be verified with information from the SSA database. Records that are sent to the SSA are returned as either verified as exact matches or returned as no-match because they did not exactly match a record in the SSA database. We as county auditors have an obligation to review these reports of failed verification within ten (10) days. We must then attempt to obtain the needed information to verify the record by mail, telephone, or email. If the information cannot be verified the registration is considered incomplete.

Incomplete registrations are handled in one of two ways:

First time voters with incomplete registrations who mailed in their voter registration application and have not voted in a federal election will need to either complete their registration with the county auditor before the election, or provide proof of residence at the polling place. A voucher cannot be used as a proof of residence for these voter registrations. These registrants are marked as “See ID’ on the poll pads used by our election judges.

All other incomplete registrations must have their record marked as “Challenged-Unverifiable” and must complete the complete process at the polling place before being permitted to vote.

Unlike many states, you can wait until Election Day to register to vote in Minnesota. However, we encourage you to register before Election Day – it will save you and the Election Judges time at the polling place.

The deadline to register online is 11:59 p.m., 21 days before Election Day.

The deadline to register on paper is 5 p.m., 21 days before Election Day.

Otherwise, you can register on Election Day at your polling place.

October 16th is the last day to pre-register for the November Election. If you will be 18 years of age on November 6, 2018 you are encouraged to register. You must re-register each time you change address, change names or do not vote at least once during a four-year period.

If you are registered to vote, it only takes a few seconds to obtain a ballot at the polling site. Take time today to insure you are registered!