Legislation creating what supporters call an automatic voter registration process in Minnesota passed its first test Wednesday in the House. The House subcommittee on elections advanced the measure on voice vote, sending it to the government operations committee. Under the bill, applicants for a state driver’s license, identification or learner’s permit would be put into the voter registration system unless they opted out. Current law allows people to opt in to voter registration during those transactions. Rep. Jennifer Schultz, DFL-Duluth, said her bill would make voting more efficient.
“It reduces lines at the polling locations,” Schultz said. “It doesn’t deter voters if they see long lines, so it reduces those lines. It also improves the transmission of accurate information, moving away from paper documentation to electronic transfer of information by updating addresses.”
Only supporters of the bill testified during the committee hearing.
Secretary of State Steve Simon said the term automatic voter registration implies a massive change. But he said “there is less here than meets the eye” since only one step in the process would change.