In the perennial political tug-of-war between ballot security and voting access, the advocates of making voting easier in Minnesota are the big winners. A month after voters shot down the photo ID requirement and the Republican legislative majorities that supported it, the incoming DFL regime at the Capitol has a chance to open up the nation’s highest-turnout voting system even further by allowing more pre-Election-Day voting.
But the new legislative committee leaders are vowing to heed DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s demand that any election-law change have broad bipartisan support to earn his signature. That could put the brakes on any move toward “early voting” and may give a boost to a photo ID alternative — the so-called “electronic poll book” that uses photos in state databases to verify voters’ identity.
“This is no time for one political party to ram through an agenda,” said Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park, a passionate foe of photo ID who is the incoming chair of the House Elections Committee.
His Senate counterpart, Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport, agreed. “It’s important that election-reform changes be done in a bipartisan way,” said Sieben, who will be both assistant Senate majority leader and chair of the Elections Division.
With an all-DFL government for the first time in two decades, the list of possible election-law changes is long: “early voting” or an expansion of the current absentee-voting system to make voting more convenient; modernizing the system through on-line registration and the new poll book technology; addressing the problem of ex-felons voting illegally, possibly by restoring voting rights immediately when they are released from prison; moving the state’s primary to June; replacing candidates who withdraw or die late in the election cycle; and limiting the number of state-paid recounts in close races.
Full Article: Voting-law changes are on DFL minds | StarTribune.com.