Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is proposing a number of rule changes to state elections law which he hopes to see implemented in time for the 2014 primary elections. The changes would give greater options for proof of identification and residency in Minnesota, and seem aimed at making it easier for transient citizens and college students to vote. Rather than push the measures as part of a legislative agenda, Ritchie is seeking to enact them as administrative changes. According to the press release, both of his predecessors in that office, Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake,and longtime DFL Secretary of State Joan Growe also invoked their power to change election rules. Under one proposed rule, voters would be allowed to register using a learner’s permit in place of a driver’s license, and could also present an identification card issued by any other state as a valid form of identification.
According to Thursday’s press release, a “majority” of the states where same-day registration occurs allow voters to use out-of-state ID cards to register. The rules would also expand the type of documents election administrators can accept as proof of current address.
Under Ritchie’s plan, a person could use a print-out of an electronic bill record in place of a mailed paper copy. Alternatively, a voter attempting to register on the day of an election could simply display the image of an electronic bill on a portable device such as a smartphone or laptop computer.