Be aware of election law changes

The 2023 Minnesota Legislature made many changes to state election law, including changes that will have positive effects for voters […]

Polling place volunteer sitting at a table on election day

The 2023 Minnesota Legislature made many changes to state election law, including changes that will have positive effects for voters with disabilities. The changes will take effect over time

Part of Minnesota’s historic voting legislation took effect on July 1, 2023. The measures expand access to voting and clarify existing language around campaigning near polling places.

Changes that took effect include:

Several law changes affecting elections took effect July 1. Those took effect July 1 include:

*Expanding the right to be absent from work to vote any time during the 46-day absentee voting period, in addition to on election day.

*Extending the deadline for all absentee and mail ballots to be returned to 8 p.m. on election day;

*Allowing voters to sign in electronically when e-poll books are used.

“Minnesota is seeing the enactment of once-in-a-generation legislation that will make our democracy stronger by expanding access while improving security,” said Steve Simon, Minnesota Secretary of State. “Numerous small and large changes are being put into place right now, and will continue in the coming year, that will improve the voting experiences across the state making us a leader in elections administration for years to come.”

In addition, language clarifying the existing prohibition on campaigning near polling places will take effect. The law will prohibit wearing, exhibiting or distributing any item that displays the name, likeness, logo, or slogan of a candidate who appears on the ballot; the number, title, subject, slogan, or logo of a ballot question that appears on the ballot; or, the name, logo, or slogan of a political party represented by a candidate on the ballot. This updated law clarifies that these prohibitions apply only during voting hours. They also apply during the absentee/early voting periods, to include the polling place and “within 100 feet of the room in which a polling place is situated, to the extent practicable.”

In 2023 Minnesota lawmakers also approved restoration of the right to vote for those with felony convictions who are not currently incarcerated; pre-registration for 16-and-17-year-olds; and protections for election workers from threats and harassment. Those changes have already good into effect.

Other election laws passed in the 2023 legislative session will go into effect in 2024 and beyond including automatic voter registration, in which a person is registered to vote when a state ID or driver’s license is applied for; legislative district map modifications impact in boundaries in senate districts 9, 12, 17, and 44; the creation of a permanent absentee voter list; expanded hours for voting before election day; and, the creation of an 18-day early voting period.

Election coverage is prepared by Access Press staff, with funding from Ramsey County Elections. This issue features information from the Minnesota

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