SAINT PAUL, Minn. – A constitutional amendment guaranteeing free, fair, and equal elections in Minnesota was heard in the Senate Elections Committee today. The legislation, S.F. 48, would strengthen Minnesota’s democracy against those seeking to undermine it according to Chief Author of the bill, Senator Scott Dibble (DFL – Minneapolis).
“Our democracy has faced unprecedented attacks in recent years, and it is our duty to ensure that we take steps to protect and strengthen it,” said Sen. Dibble. “While legislators and courts can play a role in defending our democracy, what better way to protect it than by putting it before every Minnesotan and enshrining a fundamental right to free elections in the fabric of our state.”
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states have language in their constitutions that require elections to be “free” and 18 of these states further require that elections be either “equal” or “open” in addition to being free. By including this language in their constitutions, states are able to clarify and expand rights for their residents, and are able to go further than the U.S. Constitution in protecting citizens from efforts to restrict voting rights.
“The best defense against attacks on our elections or our rights is by making sure that they are folded into the very fabric of our state’s foundational texts, our constitution,” added Dibble. “Minnesotans deserve the opportunity to weigh in directly and guarantee free, fair, and equal elections for all.”