It’s looking possible that early voting will rise from the ashes of the voting amendment in Minnesota. On the surface, early voting, now allowed in 32 states, might seem to represent the opposite end of the philosophical spectrum from requiring all voters to have state-approved photo identification card. Early voting, after all, encourages participation. Critics said that the amendment’s photo ID requirement would suppress participation. But the costly amendment fight did highlight the fact that there’s room for change in Minnesota voting laws. And there was an implied promise among foes of the amendment, which included Gov. Mark Dayton, that the voting amendment should be “sent back to the Legislature” for repair.
Start with this: With the DFL now back in the legislative majorities, voter ID as it was presented to — and rejected by — Minnesotans is dead. Additionally, any changes in Minnesota election law put forward by the DFL will have to have some across-the-aisle support. At this point, such support seems unlikely.
“This is not the time to railroad through any sort of an agenda,” said Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park. “Gov. Dayton has made it clear that he expects election bills to have bipartisan support.”
But Simon, who for years has sat on elections committees in the House and who likely will have great influence on any elections laws debated in the upcoming session, does believe the time has come to look closely at bringing early voting to Minnesota.
That discussion will be spurred by complaints of long waits for voters at some precincts in this year’s election.
“There is no reason Minnesotans should have long waits to vote,” Simon said.