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.”
Though Anzelc is critical of Republican legislators, Rep. John Petersburg, R–Owatonna, has said he would encourage higher voting numbers among underrepresented demographics. Petersburg believes that the fast-paced world of today has left many people disenfranchised by the deliberate slowness of the political process.
“In recent generations you have people who have lived with things like the Internet, cell phones, email, so it’s easy to understand why they might be turned off by politics, which are by necessity much slower,” said Petersburg. “And it has to be. We’re making big decisions that affect thousands of people, we need to make choices carefully.”