Progressives in the legislature knew that with our historic trifecta in control of the state government, there was a huge opportunity to transform how our election system works and expand the right to vote for all eligible Minnesotans.
Here are six new election laws that you need to know about:
Restored voting rights for more than 50,000 Minnesotans
Minnesota is the 25th state to ensure formerly incarcerated people have the right to vote. Gov. Tim Walz signed legislation that restored the right to vote to formerly incarcerated people who live, work, and contribute to our communities across the state. This is the most significant expansion of voting rights in Minnesota in a half-century, granting over 50,000 Minnesotans the right to vote.
Automatic Voter Registration
Eligible Minnesotans getting or renewing their driver’s licenses will be automatically registered to vote. Four hundred thousand Minnesotans are currently eligible to vote but not registered, and this new change to the state’s voting system will make it more convenient for folks to exercise their fundamental right to vote.
Voter Pre-Registration for 16- and 17-Year-Olds
Sixteen and seventeen-year-olds in Minnesota can pre-register to vote by submitting a standard voter registration application. This change has been years in the making, and it will encourage early civic engagement among teens to strengthen our democracy.
Permanent Absentee Voter List
Eligible Minnesotans who want to vote by mail can now choose to have an absentee ballot automatically sent to their home before each election. This removes the barrier of having to request an absentee ballot application before every election so that voting by mail is a more convenient process.
Crackdown on Disinformation
The spread of disinformation around elections has reached new heights in recent years. Progressives are protecting Minnesotans by creating a new gross misdemeanor penalty for people who knowingly spread false information intended to prevent someone from voting.
Specifically, this penalty will apply to disinformation around qualifications for registration, voter eligibility restrictions, threats of physical harm related to voting, or inaccurate information about an election date and time.
Multilingual Voting Information
Beginning in 2024, voting instructions and sample ballots must be translated into other languages depending on the district’s population. In districts where at least 3% of residents speak English “less than very well,” sample ballots in the three most commonly spoken languages other than English must be available at polling places. In precincts where 20% of the population speaks English “less than very well,” translators will be provided.
A Stronger Democracy
These are just a few of the laws that progressives have passed to make voting more accessible and secure for all Minnesotans. We can’t wait to see how Governor Walz and the progressive leadership at the Capitol will continue to work together to invest in our communities and strengthen our democracy.
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