Democratic Led Minnesota Senate Approves Expanding Early Voting And Voting Rights

Say no to vote suppression

On a 39-28 party-line vote, the Democratic-controlled Minnesota State Senate approved a bill expanding voting rights for residents on Monday. The measure, sponsored by Democrat Katie Sieben (Newport), would extend early voting to 15 days before an election, expand mail-in balloting to small communities, and permit convicted felons to vote immediately after they are released from prison.

Democrats argued that changing the law would not only make it easier for Minnesotans to vote, but also that the provisions of the bill would save the state money as well. Republicans, however, were unpersuaded and they refused to support the measure. Nevertheless, the bill sailed through the Democratic-controlled Senate though its fate remains unclear.

Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has intimated that he would prefer to sign a bi-partisan election bill, but Republicans appear unwilling to support any changes that would make it easier for Minnesota residents to vote. Minnesota had the highest voter turnout in the nation in both the 2012 and 2008 presidential elections. In 2012, 76.1 percent of Minnesota’s voting eligible population cast ballots. In 2008, 79 percent voted. The state allows same-day registration, which makes voting easier than in states that have an earlier registration deadline.

Even with the highest turnout in the country, Minnesota Democrats are working to make the process even easier for residents, especially those in small towns. They are also working to extend the franchise to recently released felons who have served their time in prison. That provision is known as the “North Dakota model,” because Minnesota’s next door neighbor, North Dakota, allows felons to vote immediately upon being released from prison.  A dozen other U.S. states besides North Dakota also allow newly released felons to vote.

Republicans offer many reasons why they oppose making voting easier, but the most obvious reason is a political one. In 2012, Barack Obama carried 17 of the 20 states that had the highest voter turnout. When people vote in large numbers, Democrats typically do well. Minnesota Democrats are helping their cause by making voting easier. However, they are also doing it because, in a democratic society, voting participation is an essential element of representative government.

There is no reason to make voting difficult if you trust the will of the people. Minnesota Democrats apparently trust the will of the people, while Republicans would rather make it more difficult for people to vote. Given the policies they advocate, it isn’t hard to figure out why.

14 Replies to “Democratic Led Minnesota Senate Approves Expanding Early Voting And Voting Rights”

  1. There is a reason to make voting more difficult if your a rescumlican. Your message sucks and you won’t win if voting is accessible to all.

  2. I have voted by Permanent Early Ballot in Arizona since 2004.I get my ballot weeks before Election Day and can choose to mail it back, drop it off at an Early Voting site, or drop it at my polling place on Election Day. I normally mail it in. I can go on line and verify that my vote was received and recorded. Another helpful tool is my ability to go on-line and change my address for both State I.D. and voter’s registration at the same time. Once you have verified your Driver’s License or State I.D. with the Election office once, it is all easily changed when you move.

  3. Unless you are rich, I don’t see why anyone would want to vote for the policies put forth by what is currently the Republican Party. They are policies reminiscent of the Robber Baron days. They want to keep you poor, stupid and beholden to them and their rich corporate bosses.

  4. Wait a minute. Where are the tea baggers? How long
    before there’s a shutdown of state govt. in Minnesota
    because those repug idiots feel disadvantaged?

  5. When people vote in large numbers, Democrats typically do well.

    Oregon has a similar model, it too is vote by mail.

    And Democrats do well too here.

    Which is why Republican don’t like folks voting.
    To them Voter Fraud is when a Democrat gets elected.

  6. If you aren’t willing to follow the law yourself, then you can’t demand a role in making the law for everyone else, which is what you do when you vote. The right to vote can be restored to felons, but it should be done carefully, on a case-by-case basis after a person has shown that he or she has really turned over a new leaf, not automatically on the day someone walks out of prison — let alone before he has even served his parole/probation, as this bill would do! After all, the unfortunate truth is that most people who walk out of prison will be walking back in. Read more about this issue on our website here [ http://www.ceousa.org/voting/voting-news/felon-voting/538-answering-the-challenges-to-felon-disenfranchisement ] and our congressional testimony here: [ http://judiciary.house.gov/_files/hearings/pdf/Clegg100316.pdf ].

  7. They need to make it an amendment to their constitution because otherwise some day in the future if Republicans get in control, they will just roll back the rights like they did in Wisconsin. Also, they need to put redistricting in the hands of a neutral organization. Who knew it would take so little time to do so much damage to voters rights?

  8. “There is no reason to make voting difficult if you trust the will of the people. Minnesota Democrats apparently trust the will of the people, while Republicans would rather make it more difficult for people to vote. Given the policies they advocate, it isn’t hard to figure out why.”, there one very good reason…Al Franken.

    Republicans want to prevent dead people, felons, and noncitizens from voting. It doesn’t surprise me Democrats don’t value Republican votes or their rights of citizens to have their votes counted. Allowing dead people, felons, and noncitizens to cancel out republican votes because there are no proof of citizenship and photo id requirements is amount to making republicans 2nd class citizens.

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