ST. PAUL, Minn – This week, Minnesota held its first presidential primary in nearly three decades. As the election drew near, current law regarding how voter data would be used in the election raised concerns among voters. In response, the House passed a common-sense voter privacy bill back in February that protects voter privacy and was supported by election security advocates. The Senate Republicans were expected to have their bill on the Senate floor this week. In a surprising move, Senator Paul Gazelka pulled their presidential primary bill from the agenda just hours before session was scheduled to start.
“Enacting stronger protections for voter data privacy is an urgent matter that needs to be addressed,” said Senator Ann Rest (DFL-Hope). “The Senate Republican bill falls short of protecting voter privacy in a number of ways. Their bill allows outside entities access to voter data for election and political purposes and doesn’t restrict who may obtain the voter lists, only that they aren’t allowed to distribute the list any further. The Senate Republicans are jeopardizing our state’s status as one of the nation’s leaders in voter turnout by giving voters reason to stay home for fear that their party preference may be released to the public.”
The Republican Senate should pass a bill without delay that actually protects voters’ ballot selection data before the Secretary of State is forced to send the list to the national parties within the next six weeks. In contrast, DFL Senators will stay committed to ensuring that voter privacy is protected.