Joan Growe

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Joan Growe
19th Secretary of State of Minnesota
In office
January 6, 1975 – January 4, 1999
GovernorWendell Anderson
Rudy Perpich
Al Quie
Rudy Perpich
Arne Carlson
Preceded byArlen Erdahl
Succeeded byMary Kiffmeyer
Personal details
Born (1935-09-28) September 28, 1935 (age 88)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)James Kerr (Divorced)
Glen Growe (1965–present)
EducationSt. Cloud State University (BA)
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (MA)

Joan Ruth Anderson Growe (born September 28, 1935) is an American politician who served as Secretary of State of Minnesota from 1975 to 1999. Known for her work to encourage voter participation, her 24-year tenure was the longest of any secretary of state in Minnesota's history.[1] In 1984, she unsuccessfully challenged Republican U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz, losing the election with 41% of the vote.[2]

Growe was raised in Buffalo, Minnesota and graduated from Buffalo High School and St. Cloud State University. On August 18, 1956, she married James E. Kerr in Buffalo. That marriage ended in divorce. On June 16, 1965, she married Glen Harry Growe in Anoka County, Minnesota.[3]

Before running for secretary of state, Growe was a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1973 to 1974, representing the old District 40A, which included portions of Hennepin County in the Twin Cities metro area. While in the House, she served on the Crime Prevention and Corrections, the Education, the Judiciary, and the Metropolitan and Urban Affairs committees.[4]

As a state legislator, Growe supported the Minnesota same-day voter registration law (the first in the country) and later, as Secretary of State, she worked to implement it. Since then, Minnesota has consistently had the highest voter turnout in the United States.[5]

Growe is widely recognized as an expert on voting and elections, and has been selected to serve as an official election observer in various foreign elections.[6] She is also on the advisory committee for the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.[7]


Files documenting the Growe's activities as secretary of state are available for research use. They include general and chronological correspondence, telephone logs, appearances, subject files, voter education and elections files, and State Board of Investment files.[8]


  1. ^ "Secretaries of State Since 1858". Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State. Retrieved November 1, 2023.
  2. ^ "bobmeek: June 16, 2009 Joan Growe Endorsement Reunion". May 30, 2009. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  3. ^ "Joan Growe: An Inventory of Her Papers at the Minnesota Historical Society,"
  4. ^ "Minnesota Legislators Past & Present – Legislator Record – Growe, Joan R". Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  5. ^ "Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State : Elections & Voting". February 7, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  6. ^ [1] Archived December 22, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ JOHN EWOLDT, Star Tribune (May 17, 2008). "At home with Joan Growe: Electing to relax". Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  8. ^ Joan Growe Files

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Secretary of State of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Daniel D. Donovan
Democratic nominee for Minnesota Secretary of State
1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994
Succeeded by
Preceded by Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Minnesota
(Class 2)

Succeeded by