Joan Growe

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Joan Growe
Joan Growe.JPG
19th Secretary of State of Minnesota
In office
January 6, 1975 – January 4, 1999
Governor Wendell Anderson
Rudy Perpich
Preceded by Arlen Erdahl
Succeeded by Mary Kiffmeyer
Personal details
Born (1935-09-28) September 28, 1935 (age 83)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) James Kerr (Divorced)
Glen Growe (1965–present)
Children 4
Education St. Cloud State University (BA)
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (MA)

Joan Ruth Anderson Growe (born September 28, 1935) is a former Secretary of State of Minnesota, serving from 1975 to 1999. Known for her work to encourage voter participation, her tenure was one of 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 activities of Joan Anderson Growe as Minnesota 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. ^ "Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State : List of MN Secretaries of State Since 1858". 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2010-07-20.
  2. ^ "bobmeek: June 16, 2009 Joan Growe Endorsement Reunion". 2009-05-30. Retrieved 2010-07-20.
  3. ^ "Joan Growe: An Inventory of Her Papers at the Minnesota Historical Society,"
  4. ^ "Minnesota Legislators Past & Present – Legislator Record – Growe, Joan R". Retrieved 2010-07-20.
  5. ^ "Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State : Elections & Voting". 2010-02-07. Retrieved 2010-07-20.
  6. ^ [1] Archived December 22, 2004, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ JOHN EWOLDT, Star Tribune (2008-05-17). "At home with Joan Growe: Electing to relax". Retrieved 2010-07-20.
  8. ^ Joan Growe Files

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Arlen Erdahl
Secretary of State of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Mary Kiffmeyer
Party political offices
Preceded by
Wendell Anderson
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Minnesota
(Class 2)

Succeeded by
Paul Wellstone