An omnibus bill that could radically transform elections in Minnesota recently passed out of committee and is making its way through the Minnesota House.
Among the most drastic proposals in the bill is one that would make Minnesota a member of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which is an agreement among states to award their entire Electoral College delegation to the winner of the national popular vote.
Since 2007, 12 states and the District of Columbia have joined the compact, and several other states are currently considering joining. The agreement wouldn’t take effect until its member states cumulatively possess a majority of the electoral votes.
The bill would also place Minnesota on a growing list of states to automatically restore voting rights to felons once they have completed their time behind bars.
The omnibus bill incorporates elements of at least 10 bills introduced in the Minnesota House this session, and is sponsored by Rep. Raymond Dehn (DFL-Minneapolis), chair of the House Subcommittee on Elections, who said his proposal would bring “more integrity” to elections.
The bill passed out of the House Subcommittee on Elections, and will next head to the House Government Operations Committee, according to a press release. Dehn said the omnibus bill could be packaged into a separate omnibus bill on government finance.
Another measure in the bill, first proposed by Rep. Jennifer Schultz (DFL-Duluth), would automatically register Minnesotans to vote when they apply for a driver’s license or other identification card.
It would also require landlords to provide their tenants with materials on how to register to vote and locate their local precinct within 30 days of entering a lease. If passed, the bill would require free public transit on general election days.
Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia), the subcommittee’s minority lead, said the measure is “loaded with partisan provisions.”
“I am extremely disappointed Governor Walz has made a reversal on an earlier pledge to uphold precedent set by Governors Dayton, Pawlenty, and Ventura to only sign election omnibus bills with wide, bipartisan support,” Nash said in a press release. “These bills have historically been a chance for both sides to come together and bring about changes that have made Minnesota a leader in administering free and fair elections. Unfortunately, Governor Walz and the DFL are prepared to throw out this way of doing things and will instead inject partisan games into our election bills.”
DFL representatives, however, continue to maintain that the provisions in the bill are “common-sense” measures.
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