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Local assistance focus of House-passed elections supplemental funding bill

(House Photography file photo)
(House Photography file photo)

A voting operations, technology, and election resources account that assists local governments with certain election-related expenses would be the largest beneficiary of a supplemental funding bill.

Via HF4411, the account would receive an additional $3 million in fiscal year 2024 and $3.3 million in fiscal year 2025.

Passed, as amended, 83-44 by the House late Friday, the elections and campaign finance supplemental appropriations bill next heads to the Senate.

The supplemental spending target for elections is $500,000 in fiscal year 2025; however, more funds would be available due to some internal transfers and modifying 2021 and 2023 laws.

“The bill supports local elections officials through the VOTER account and ensures open and transparent information on who is influencing our local elections,” Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley), the bill sponsor, told the House Ways and Means Committee April 29.

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Other financial provisions would transfer $144,000 from the General Fund to the Voting Rights Act cost sharing account in the special revenue fund — money that could be used by local governments if the “Minnesota Voting Rights Act” becomes law — and $20,000 from the General Fund would go to the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board to notify local governments and update their systems to accept disclosures in local spending by political committees and funds.

This helps provide resources local election officials say they need, said Rep. Emma Greenman (DFL-Mpls).

Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) said one of the best things about the bill is that ranked choice voting is not included. Instead, HF3276, sponsored by Rep. Cedrick Frazier (DFL-New Hope), was amended Friday by the House Ways and Means Committee and is expected to reach the floor as a standalone bill.

A quintet of Republican-offered amendments were adopted, including those that would:

  • require a candidate, when filing an affidavit of candidacy, to “present the filing officer with the candidate's valid driver's license or state identification card that contains the candidate's current address of residence, or sufficient documentation to prove the candidate's address of residence”;
  • effective Jan. 1, 2025, a candidate's principal campaign committee couldn’t accept a loan from the candidate if the loan must be repaid with interest; and
  • require the Office of the Secretary of State — current law is may — determine if someone listed on the Social Security Death Index or reported as deceased by another state are registered to vote and prepare a list to each county auditor. This already happens but the change would provide additional insurance.

Amendments offered by Republicans that were rejected or ruled not germane, include ones that would:

  • put the new state flag and seal up for a vote at the 2024 election;
  • put a question before voters if the State Office Building renovation/expansion should continue;
  • expand current law making it a felony to vote when ineligible to also to apply for attempting to vote; and
  • require a head election judge to “notify the county auditor or municipal clerk, and immigration and customs enforcement officials, if it is suspected that an individual who is not a United States citizen has attempted to vote.”


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