The Secretary of State’s office touted the online registration process as a way to “deliver convenience to voters, reduce errors in voter rosters, and deliver significant cost- and time-savings for local election officials.” They estimate the time counties require to process an online application will be one-third to one-half of that needed to process a paper application. This will also minimize inaccurate records that stem from processing handwritten paper forms–like illegible handwriting, incomplete applications, and data entry errors.
For military and overseas voters, the online absentee ballot application will not replace paper applications, but will allow these voters the opportunity to forgo printing, scanning forms, and returning forms by mail, fax or email. In the 2012 general election, there were 10,506 absentee ballots successfully cast by military and overseas Minnesota voters.
Minnesota joins 18 other states that have either passed or implemented online registration. According to projections by the Pew Charitable Trusts at least half of the states will employ online registration by 2016.
In Minnesota, more than 35 municipalities will hold elections on November 5 for various city officers, and 113 school districts will hold elections for school board members and/or have ballot questions. Voters can register online until 5 p.m. on October 15, but it is not required, as voters may still register at their polling place on Election Day.