Minnesota elections must be conducted with rigorous safety measures in place so Minnesotans can have confidence in the integrity of our election system. The Senate elections omnibus bill is a major step forward in the right direction.
Voters are shocked and surprised when they learn the current election system provides no authority for blocking a known ineligible person from casting a ballot if the ineligible person swears they are allowed to vote. Even if election officials know with certainty that the person is a felon or non-citizen, the state is powerless to stop an ineligible person from casting an irretrievable ballot.
If a judge convicts me of a felony in July and removes my right to vote, I can enter a polling place in November and vote even if the record indicates “challenged-felony.” All I have to do is swear I’m eligible.
The Senate omnibus bill contains corrections to this and other critical flaws in election law. Provisional ballots allow the setting aside of a ballot inside a confidential envelope of a suspected ineligible person until voter eligibility can be verified. Unfortunately, Republican House members refused to hear this important proposed improvement to election law in the House.
Forty-seven states have provisional ballots and they are effective at ensuring the right to vote for every eligible person while enabling the state to protect election results from those whose votes must not be counted.
I am disappointed in the House Republican leadership’s failure to support these long overdue, effective and common sense improvements in our election laws. It’s time for Republicans in the House to stand united with Republicans in the Senate and support provisional ballots.
Board of Directors MN Voters Alliance and Board of Directors South Washington Citizens for Progress