Following a White House report urging universities to take on a role in training election officials, the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs is launching a new online program that provides a certificate in election administration. The program, which will begin this fall, is the first of its kind in the country and aims to create consistency in election overseers’ training. The program comes at a time of technological change and recent close elections resulting in recounts, which have increased scrutiny on election offices’ operations. In Minnesota, election administrators are already required to attend a two-day training orientation and must receive 40 hours of additional training plus 18 hours for each year they work. Lower-level administrators also have to go to an orientation and receive 20 hours of more training.
Articles about voting issues in Minnesota.
In an effort to persuade students to vote in local elections, Ward 3 City Councilman Jacob Frey is looking to University of Minnesota-area landlords for help. At a City Council meeting last week, Frey announced he will introduce a plan at the end of the month that would require landlords to hand out voter registration documents to residents when they move in. The idea aims to make voter registration easier for student renters and to increase the number of students turning out on Election Day.
Advocates for restoring felons’ voting rights faster are hoping to try again next year. Minnesota law bans felons from voting until they’ve completed parole or probation. Advocates made headway this year in their long push to restore that right immediately after felons are released from prison. They say it’s an essential right that would ease the transition back to society for an estimated 47,000 people.
Minnesota: Senate Judiciary chair: Giving up felon voting rights bill ‘not easy at all’ | Star Tribune
Minnesota senators debated election legislation Monday like they debate issues during campaigns: dividing along party lines.The Democrat-controlled Senate approved 39-28 a bill to allow mail balloting in small cities and townships, expand voting before Election Day and let felons vote once released from prison. In the meantime, negotiations began late Monday afternoon among the governor and legislative leaders toward a compromise on budget issues that must be resolved in the next week to meet the constitutionally mandated adjournment date. Republicans opposed the election bill by Sen. Katie Sieben, D-Newport.
Minnesota: Senate passes elections bill, would allow early voting, restore felon voting rights | StarTribune
The Senate passed a wide-ranging elections bill 39-28 on a mostly party line vote that would expand early voting and restore voting rights to felons once they are no longer incarcerated. The bill would automatically register eligible voters when they apply for a driver’s license or state identification card or have it renewed. It would also allow 16- and 17-year olds to “preregister” to vote. A driver’s license applicant could opt-out of registering to vote.
Minnesota: How a bill does not become law: behind the mysterious death of a bipartisan measure to restore felon voting rights | MinnPost
If political insiders ever want to know why so much of the public cares so little for the machinations of our current system, you could do worse than point to the tortured path of the “restore the vote” bill currently before the Minnesota Legislature. On one side of the issue, you have Rep. Tony Cornish, a lawman and gun rights advocate who represents Vernon Center in the Minnesota House and co-author of the bill, which would restore voting rights to felons who have completed their time behind bars but are still on probationary status. On the other side of the issue? Also Rep. Tony Cornish — the one who’s the chairman of the House Public Safety Committee and who refuses to let his committee hear the bill he helped write. Ah, politics.
Convicted felons should have their rights to vote restored once they’ve been released from prison, even if still on probation or parole, the Minnesota Senate voted Thursday. The move was spurred by activists who say felons should be encouraged. “If you’re still a citizen, don’t you deserve the right to participate in our democracy?” said Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park. “Once they’re back out in the community, from Day One … they’re paying taxes, but they don’t have the right to vote on who their representatives are imposing those taxes?”
The next presidential election is looming, and those on both sides of the political spectrum are voicing anxieties about the modern electoral process. Through the course of the legislative session, several lawmakers have raised concerns about the changes they see in all elections. When Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township, weighed in on recent legislation that would allow high school students to pre-register to vote, he elaborated on the larger political implications of legislation around the country having to do with voter registration. In particular, Anzelc criticized Republican bills aimed at preventing voter fraud. “We just concluded a period where the Republican-leaning members of the Legislature have been interested in making it harder for people to vote because they’re hung up on what they think is voter fraud in the state,” said Anzelc. “I’ve concluded based upon the data I’ve seen there isn’t the level of voter impropriety that they thought there was. So now we may be going into a period where people are promoting voting.”
Minnesota: State official raises concerns about aging election equipment | Litchfield Independent Review
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon met with Meeker County Auditor Barb Loch on Monday to discuss election-related issues, including concerns about aging election equipment. Simon, who made six stops in the region Monday, said a common concern among local officials is finding money to replace a fleet of election equipment purchased about 10 to 12 years ago with federal funds. Those federal dollars are no longer available, Simon said during an interview after his meeting with Loch. “Now the question is … what can we do to alleviate costs for counties,” he said, adding that he is hoping the state can help pay for new machines, which run as much as $7,000 each.