Expand Voting Rights & Election Integrity
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Every Minnesota voter deserves modern, secure, fair, and accessible elections. The right to vote and have our voices heard is fundamental to our democracy. It is stronger when every eligible Americans participates, confident that when they cast a vote that it will be counted as cast, that the process is secure, and that anyone interfering or tampering with our elections is held accountable.
At a time when the gap between eligible voters and voter turnout in Minnesota is widening among our disenfranchised populations from greater Minnesota to the Twin Cities metro area, far too many eligible voters are wrongly turned away from the polls. We need to rededicate ourselves to increasing participation among eligible voters while securing the integrity of our election system and protecting against cyber attacks. The proposed implementation of provisional ballots in Minnesota is not the solution.
Currently, voters whose ineligibility is flagged on election judges’ poll rosters can certify their eligibility under oath. If they later are found to have illegally cast a ballot, they can be charged with a felony. Minnesota is one of a handful of states with no provisional ballot system. It was exempted under Help America Vote Act of 2002 because of our "same-day voter registration system". The proposed provisional ballot system utilizes the very same databases currently used to flag potentially ineligible voters at the poles; nothing new there. The big change is that instead of being able to self-certify, voters would be given provisional ballots that would not count, until and unless, certified within the 7 day window by appropriate authorities. More hoops to jump through for the bulk of Minnesotans who are disenfranchised.
If Minnesota is to truly secure the integrity of our voting and elections systems then an easy option is to move toward automatic voter registration and capture eligible voters through a reliable state agency with trained staff who receive authenticated government issued documents before issuing a driver's license without exorbitant costs. The fact that Minnesota is moving toward REAL ID adds to the level of reliable security that would protect against ineligible voters participating in elections. It also moves toward reaching eligible citizens across the state and helping reengaging them in our state's democratic process. Who would stand against that?
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