Controversy struck Wisconsin this week as their state Supreme Court ruled that the presidential nominating primary could not be delayed by their governor. Voters were forced to choose between their safety amidst a pandemic and going to vote at public polling places, the number of which were drastically reduced across the state.
It is apparent that Minnesota must do everything we can to give voters additional vote-by-mail options and make our elections as safe as possible in November. We cannot end up like Wisconsin and force our citizens decide between their health and their right to vote. The Senate DFL is committed to working with Secretary of State Steve Simon to prevent this from happening, who has been busy this week advocating for changes to the state’s elections statutes.
Secretary Simon has been working with DFL legislators to craft legislation to expand his authority to move or close high-risk polling locations, administer the election entirely by mail if necessary, and consult with local governments to figure out the best path forward for our state to ensure our elections remain secure while also maintaining voter enfranchisement. The proposed legislation would also appropriate $17 million in HAVA funds to improve the security of our elections.
It is critical that we balance safety and the right to vote during this COVID crisis, and we are committed to ensuring this happens effectively.