ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Senate passed bipartisan legislation Thursday to ensure the safety of voters for Minnesota’s primary and general elections in 2020.
“No Minnesotan should have to choose between their right to vote and their safety, and the passage of this bill will help ensure that each voter has safe options for how they can exercise their fundamental right to vote,” said Senator Jim Carlson (DFL-Eagan), the ranking DFL member on the State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee. “I want to thank our colleagues in the House for their tireless work on this important legislation, and for Secretary of State Steve Simon and his dedication to supporting not just voters, but for our election judges throughout the state.”
The bill unlocks federal funds for election security and including $7.3 million from the Help America Vote Act and an additional $6.9 million from the federal CARES Act.
In addition to the federal funding, the bill allows local election officials to designate new polling locations until July 1st, allows health care workers to administer absentee ballots to residents, extends the timeline for processing absentee ballots, and allows for online candidate filings. In anticipation of the expected 100% increase in absentee ballots, local election officials are provided an additional week (14 days total) before election day to open and count absentee ballots, and two days following Election Day.
Passing by a vote of 66-1 in the Senate, the bill now returns to the House, where it passed 119-14 on Monday, for final approval.