As if the state with the highest voter turnout in the country, nearly 76% in 2012, needed improvement, Democrat legislators in Minnesota are considering proposals to make voting even easier.
Flying under the media radar are two bills aimed at getting even more people to the polls at election time, allowing for early voting and modifying the absenteee voting process. While media attention swirls around the proposed gun control legislation, making its way through committees are proposals that open the floodgates to more fraud and mistakes, and lack any additional oversight or methods for battling Minnesota’s flawed vouching system.
Currently, Minnesota has no identification requirement for a non-registered person if someone whose name is on the registration rolls agrees to “vouch” for that person. The “voucher” signs a statement promising that the person without identification of any kind is eligible to vote. Verification of new voter registrations is not done until weeks after Election Day.
MN Senate File 535 aims to make “early voting” as easy as Election Day voting, and includes allowing vouching during the early voting time period. Early voting is done without election judges or poll watchers. Instead, a ballot board consisting of 2 people, one from each major political party, are responsible for the accurate handling of early voting ballots.
The prevailing reason democrats say Minnesota needs early voting is to make it more “convenient” for voters.
“The reason I think it’s so important is because people already think we have it… people want the convenience of early voting,” said author of SF 535 Democrat Senator Sieben.
Lucy Nieboer, Co-chair of Minnesota Public Interest Research Group at the University of Minnesota said that many students have trouble making it to the polls on Election Day. She spoke of her own difficulty with 2 part time jobs and a full class schedule. Despite her busy life, she found time to register more than 7,000 students last fall and spent nearly 3 hours in the Elections Sub-comittee meeting yesterday.
Several other testifiers in favor of the bill also cited convenience as the primary reason for their support of early voting. None of those in favor addressed the vouching system or adding safeguards against potential fraud or mistakes.
MN Senate File 564 would completely change the absentee voting process in the state and even allows for “permanent absentee voter status,” which means a voter could be sent an absentee ballot each election year without proactively requesting one.
Both bills were “laid over” for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill expected within weeks.
More on voter fraud:
Not Just Possible, Voter Fraud Is Easy
But… There Is No Voter Fraud, Right?
Vote Early Vote Often (with video)