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Ritchie says court can settle online voter registration dispute

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Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is suggesting that questions about his new online voter registration system could best be resolved in court.

Republican lawmakers accused Ritchie of overstepping his authority when he created a new online voter registration system without specific authorization from the state Legislature.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that Ritchie said in an interview with Minnesota Senate Media Services' Capitol Report program, said lawyers and judges could get involved. Ritchie said in the interview its common that the executive branch and the legislative branch of the government may disagree on things.

Governor Mark Dayton said Tuesday that Ritchie should have gotten legislative approval for the system before launch, according to a report in the Star Tribune. Dayton said he supports the intent of the new law, but that it should have been authorized by the legislature.

Dayton wasn't alone, Sen. Katie Sieben, who chairs the Senate subcommittee on elections, also said the Legislature should have approved the system. She intends to review the issue during the 2014 session.

Ritchie contends that law approved by the legislature in 2000 gave him the authority to launch the new system. Ritchie says the law states in agencies and courts electronic signatures must be accepted as the equivalent of written signatures.

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