With the next Minnesota gubernatorial election still more than a year away, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is traveling the state to talk about proposed election law changes, backing several that he says will lower costs and increase turnout. On Monday, he stopped by the St. Peter Herald to talk about several pieces of proposed legislation and which ones he is supporting. Part of large omnibus bills passing through the Legislature, the proposed changes are intended to make things easier on county auditors and officials who currently find themselves struggling to hold efficient elections. “I went around the state, Mankato, Duluth, everywhere and met with election judges, county auditors, city clerks, all the people who run our elections to get their ideas, get their feedback, find out how did it go and what can we do better,” Ritchie said. “I heard the same themes, more or less, in all different parts of the state.”
One of the biggest concerns, Ritchie said, was how to keep down costs. Many townships have been experimenting with voting by mail, something those with less than 400 voters are allowed to do under state law, Ritchie said. Proposed legislation would allow townships with as many as 1,000 registered voters vote by mail.
“We think it will save money, we think it will increase turnout, but we also know that it has been very popular with the voters in many townships because it gives them the opportunity to do more research and just feel more informed about the issues,” Ritchie said.