For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
UMLC Receives Victory in Election Integrity Lawsuit
Minnesota Supreme Court finds Secretary of State’s rulemaking on absentee ballots invalid
Golden Valley, MN- Today, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled largely in favor of the Upper Midwest Law Center’s challenge to the Secretary of State’s absentee ballot processing rule, which the Secretary had interpreted as allowing virtually any signature to satisfy the statute’s signature match requirement for absentee ballots. The Upper Midwest Law Center represented the Minnesota Voters Alliance and three absentee ballot board members in the case.
The Court rejected the Secretary’s interpretation, ensuring that ballot boards in Minnesota cannot accept absentee ballots where identification numbers are mismatched, and the ballot application and return envelope have different signatures. Despite the Secretary’s urging to the contrary, the Court held that only those with physical writing disabilities can use alternative means of signing applications and envelopes. With this proper interpretation in place, the Court held that this part of the rule and statute do not conflict. The Court also struck down part of the rule which allowed regular ballot board members, as opposed to party-balanced election judges, to conduct signature matches.
The Upper Midwest Law Center filed the lawsuit in January of 2022 in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and the Court of Appeals fully upheld the rule last summer. After granting review, the Supreme Court’s decision was affirmed in part, with the corrected interpretation above, and reversed in part by striking down part of the rule.
“We at the Upper Midwest Law Center are pleased with this decision, which allows ballot board members to actually review whether “the voter” signed a ballot envelope,” said James Dickey, Senior Counsel. “The Upper Midwest Law Center brought this lawsuit to ensure that election judges can do their statutory duty, including a real signature match where there’s a mismatch of identification numbers on applications and envelopes. We aim to make Minnesotans more confident in our elections, and we’re glad today’s ruling does just that.”
Read the full opinion here.
Upper Midwest Law Center is a non-profit, public-interest law firm with the mission to initiate pro-freedom litigation to protect against constitutional violations, government overreach, special interest agendas, and public union corruption and abuses. UMLC is a 501(c)(3) organization.