ST. PAUL, Minn. — On Friday, the Senate approved the Elections budget Conference Committee Report. The budget will invest in Minnesota’s elections, protect and expand the freedom to vote, and increase disclosure of money in politics. The Elections bill, chief authored by Senator Jim Carlson (DFL-Eagan), was incorporated into the State Government budget bill to create the State Government and Elections budget bill.
“In Minnesota, we are known for voter access and participation,” said Senator Carlson. “This bill reaffirms our commitment to improving our elections by growing voter turnout by expanding access and convenience to voters. We ensure that voters have the opportunity to cast their ballot at a time and place which works best for them. It responds to the urgency to protect Minnesota’s trusted elections and the Minnesotans who run our elections. This bill is a great step towards a more inclusive democracy.”
Some highlights of the bill include:
- Protects election workers from intimidation and harassment.
- Establishes an 18-day early voting period, expanding access and convenience by ensuring voters will have the option to cast their ballots at the time and place which works best for them.
- Establishes a permanent fund to defray costs of election administration for local governments.
- Decreases candidates’ reliance upon fundraising from private sources by providing larger public grants to candidates who agree to abide by spending limits.
- Provides grants for local jurisdictions to make polling places accessible to voters with disabilities.
- Requires the Secretary of State to study ways to increase voter engagement, which may include but is not limited to Ranked Choice Voting.
- Helps increase college student voter turnout by creating requirements to provide housing lists to county auditors for registration purposes.
- Expands the existing requirement that allows workers to take off time from work without loss of pay to apply to in-person absentee and early voting.