City Council passes resolution supporting Early Voting
At its March 20 meeting
, the Minneapolis City Council passed a resolution
in support of establishing early voting for voters in Minnesota. The state legislature is currently considering legislation that would allow jurisdictions to provide early voting for residents beginning 15 days before each election through 5 p.m. on the third day before the election. Although Minnesota voters can currently cast an absentee ballot in-person any time during the 46 day absentee voting period, early voting provides additional assurances and convenience for the voter and greater administrative ease and cost savings for election administrators.
The League of Minnesota Cities also supports bringing the option for Early Voting to Minnesota voters, and has produced some helpful infographics that illustrate the differences between in-person absentee voting and early voting from the voter's perspective. The primary advantage of early voting for voters is the streamlined process that is followed when casting an early vote, very similar to what occurs in the polls on Election Day. The biggest change would be the reduction in the abundance of administrative paperwork required for voting absentee in-person, and offers the additional benefit of allowing the voter to place their own ballot directly into the tabulator. This both provides assurance to the voter that their vote has been properly cast, and provides the same notifications that would be received in the polling place in the event the voter made an error in completing the ballot.
The current proposal before the legislature would still allow voters to cast an absentee ballot by mail if they choose, and in-person absentee voting would continue outside the early voting period. In addition to Minneapolis, 30 other cities throughout the state have passed resolutions in support of early voting. Legislation has moved through the Senate, but must be heard in House committees by this Friday's legislative deadline to remain active in this legislative session.