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Minnesota House Passes Elections Policy Bill

Monday, April 8, 2024

Minnesota House of Representatives 




CONTACT:  Marlee Schlegel 

651-296-9873 or 


April 8, 2024 

Minnesota House Passes Elections Policy Bill 

St. Paul, Minn. -- Tonight, the Minnesota House passed the 2024 Elections Policy Bill which focuses on improved voter access and election transparency. It targets policy areas where the state can improve voter turnout and ensure that if voting is restricted, voters have a means of redress. Additionally, enhance disclosure requirements for those seeking to influence elections, expand voter access and comprehension, and increase election transparency. The bill passed on a vote of 69-62.

Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL – Golden Valley), Chair of the House Elections Committee, authored the legislation 

“This is a solid package of legislation that will help more eligible Minnesotans make it to the polls,” said Rep. Freiberg. “Our democracy works best when participation is high, and tonight we built upon our work from last year and made good on our promise to fight for free and fair elections. We’ve said it before and we’ll continue to act on it: participating in the democratic process is a right, not a privilege.” 

The cornerstone of the Elections Policy bill is making voter registration more accessible and equitable so that all eligible voters have the means and ability to participate in our democracy. The package allows voters to provide a physical description of the location where the voter maintains residence if their residence lacks a street address, which provides additional means to register unhoused people and those on Tribal land. The package also expands the ability to request absentee ballots online to all elections, including city-level, with few exceptions. It also requires colleges and universities be provided an early voting location on campus at the request of the institution.  

The package also includes the Minnesota Voting Right Act (MVRA), which codifies, streamlines, and strengthens the protections against voter suppression and vote dilution under the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. This bill is a response to a recent ruling by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upended decades of precedent in its decision to deprive citizens in the 8th Circuit, including Minnesota, of the right to file a lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for claims of voter suppression or dilution. This bill will ensure Minnesotans can vindicate these essential protections to combat racial discrimination in voting. 

The Minnesota Voting Rights Act will protect voters from discriminatory voter suppression tactics, including closing or shifting polling places, language access denial, inadequate voter registration efforts, notary requirements, and/or off-cycle non-standard election days. 

“Enshrining these protections into Minnesota law has always been important, but it is now urgent in light of an 8th Circuit decision that upended decades of precedent to hold that voters themselves can no longer challenge racially discriminatory laws and redistricting plans under the federal VRA,” said Rep. Emma Greenman (DFL – Minneapolis), Vice Chair of the Elections Committee and author of the Minnesota Voting Rights Act. “In the era when the Federal Courts have become increasingly hostile to voting rights protections, it is imperative to do our job and ensure that Minnesota voters have the robust protections intended when the Voting Rights Act was passed. The Minnesota Voting Rights Act protects the equal opportunity of all Minnesota’s to vote and participate in our elections.” 

The policy bill also includes efforts to make our census process more accurate, resulting in fairer elections. Currently, inmates in Minnesota prisons are counted in the census as residents of where they are incarcerated, which results in inaccuracies in data. The Elections package includes legislation to make sure incarcerated Minnesotans are counted where they last resided instead, ensuring their communities have an accurate representation of residency. This affects redistricting, a process which takes place every 10 years in accordance with census data. 

The package also includes a provision to strengthen a law passed last year to prohibit AI generated “deep fakes” from interfering in our elections. The new bill strengthens the definitions, timeline, and penalties associated with election deepfakes. This provision encompasses all elections and election-related events, like caucuses and conventions, and includes a separate and additional penalty of electoral disqualification upon conviction of violating deep fake laws. 

Last year, DFLers laid the foundation for this year’s policy package by expanding access to early voting, increasing the number of polling places offered in Tribal communities, allowing employees to take time off of work to vote early if they choose, strengthening protections for election workers, implementing early registration for 16 and 17-year-olds, and properly funding the Campaign Finance Board. This year’s package builds on last year’s work to close loopholes and gaps used against Minnesotans to suppress voters and discourage participation.