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Minnesota House to approve Legislation to Protect Voter Privacy in upcoming Presidential Primary

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

St. Paul, MN – Tonight, the Minnesota House DFL Majority is expected to approve legislation to protect the privacy of voter data for Minnesotans in the state’s upcoming presidential primary election. The bill, HF 3068, would give voters the ability to opt-out of sharing their party preference in the presidential primary while also restricting the sharing of that data only to a national party representative, and only for the purpose of verifying participation in the primary.

“The Minnesota House DFL supports protecting voters’ privacy in the presidential primary,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “We hope Senate Republicans will agree to join us to address the concerns Minnesotans have about their privacy.”

Following concerns of accessibility that arose during Minnesota’s 2016 presidential caucuses, the Minnesota Legislature responded that year by reinstating the state’s presidential primary for 2020, its first since 1992. The presidential primary process requires voters to select a party ballot from which to nominate a candidate, and current law allows an individual’s party preference data to be shared with Minnesota’s major political parties. The candidate a voter selected would not be shared.  

“While primaries are only open to members of a particular party, Minnesotans should have the reasonable assurance that their party choice will remain private,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “The House DFL is taking strong action to address the data and privacy concerns of Minnesota voters.”

Though Minnesota’s presidential primary takes place on March 3, there is a 10-week window following the primary before the Minnesota Secretary of State would be required to share voters’ party preference with state party officials.

“The Legislature was responsive to the needs of Minnesotans when they reinstated our presidential primary, and we can be just as quick to respond to the valid concerns of protecting voter privacy,” said Rep. Raymond Dehn (DFL – Minneapolis), author of the bill and chair of the House Subcommittee on Elections. “Minnesotans regularly lead the nation in voter turnout because they hold an equitable voting process in such high regard, which should include the ability to keep their party preference confidential”

The bill is supported by Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon. The Senate companion, SF 2986, has yet to receive a hearing.


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