The right to vote is the centerpiece of our democracy. Regardless of political party, Minnesotans want free and fair elections in which every eligible citizen can participate.
Common Cause Minnesota is a leading force in protecting the right to vote and making voting more accessible. Over the years, we’ve made progress and our election laws are among the most inclusive and voter-friendly in the country, something all Minnesotans can be very proud of.
However, there are still some areas where we must improve, including:
- joining the movement toward automatic voter registration, and
- restoring the vote to Minnesota ex-felons who have paid their dues to society and been released.
In Minnesota, we have:
- Online voter registration available through the Secretary of State’s website
- Election Day or “same day” voter registration
- Allowed 17-year olds to vote in primary elections if they will be 18 by the general election
- Joined the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) to share voter registration records with other participating states to keep voter rolls more accurate
- Shifted to use of paper ballots, which allows for audits to confirm election results
But we can do more. Here are some critical reforms we should enact:
- Automatic voter registration is key to increasing participation and amplifying citizens’ voices. Automatic voter registration shifts the burden of voter registration from the individual to the state, as is done in many developed democracies around the world. Automatic voter registration ensures that all eligible persons can vote unless they opt-out of being put on the rolls. It makes registration more efficient for voters and election administrators, and voter lists more accurate.
- Common Cause Minnesota has long supported efforts to restore the vote to ex-offenders. Approximately 51,000 Minnesotans will be prohibited from taking the positive step of voting in upcoming elections because of their felony convictions. Under current laws, Minnesotans with a felony conviction lose the right to vote until they have been released from supervision, including while they are living in the community and even if they’ve never spent any time in prison or only served a short jail sentence. We can’t relax on letting legislators know why changing this situation is so important.
Join us in continuing to improve and expand access to voting in Minnesota.