ST. PAUL, MINN. – On Thursday, April 20, the Senate passed the Elections Omnibus budget bill championed by Senate Elections Committee Chair Senator Jim Carlson (DFL-Eagan). The bill includes provisions to make polling places more accessible, strengthen protections for election workers, establish true early voting with expanded hours for voters, expand the opportunity to run for office more accessible by increasing public financing for candidates, and explore how to further increase voter turnout and evaluate ranked choice voting. Following the floor debate, Senator Carlson released the following statement:
“Minnesota is known across the country for our elections and voter participation. We have a historic opportunity to build upon this strong foundation. This bill will protect and expand the freedom to vote, make candidates more accountable to voters, and shine a light on money in politics. It includes provisions to strengthen protections for election officials, establish true early voting, and invest in desperately needed accessibility improvements to polling places across the state for individuals with disabilities. In addition, the bill will enable more people to run for office and decrease the influence of wealthy interests by increasing public financing for candidates, and explore ranked choice voting.”
“With the passage of the Elections budget, we are sending a message that we are committed to protecting and expanding the freedom to vote and ensuring Every Minnesotan, regardless of what they look like or where they live, deserves to cast their ballot at the time and place which works best for them.”
The Elections budget was combined with the State and Local Government budget and passed as a single omnibus bill on Thursday, April 20. The provisions of the Elections budget are expected to be negotiated with members of the House of Representatives in a conference committee before coming back to the Senate for final passage.