Lawsuit seeks broad access to MN voter data

Minnesota Voters Alliance executive director Andy Cilek, left, and attorney Erick Kaardal, right, are suing Secretary of State Steve Simon for access to voter data. Tim Pugmire|MPR News.

An election watchdog group announced Thursday that it is suing Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon over access to voter data.

The Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA), a conservative group that has repeatedly alleged voter fraud, accuses DFLer Simon of wrongfully rejecting portions of its recent request for public data on all voters.

The group filed a lawsuit in Ramsey County District Court.

Simon’s office gave the Minnesota group access to voter names, addresses, years of birth and voting history. But it refused to turnover material it deemed nonpublic, including information on individuals’ voter status and details on voting challenges. The MVA contends it’s all public data.

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MVA executive director Andy Cilek said during a news conference that the withheld information is needed to determine the “true extent” of ineligible voting in Minnesota.

“Most would agree that if one wanted to seriously identify all the voter fraud in Minnesota, the best place to start might be with a list of persons whose active status was changed to an ineligible status,” Cilek said. “It just makes common sense.”

Cilek said Simon’s recent defiance of President Trump’s advisory commission on election integrity, which requested similar voter data, is another example of “stonewalling” by the office.

The panel is studying voter fraud despite no evidence of a widespread problem. Simon said at the time that he has serious concerns about the commission’s credibility and trustworthiness.

The secretary of state’s office said it does not comment on pending litigation.