New laws provide greater flexibility on when and where Minnesotans vote; clarity around campaigning restrictions at polling places
Part of Minnesota’s historic voting legislation went into effect on July 1, 2023. The measures expand access to voting and clarify existing language around campaigning near polling places.
The new laws taking effect on July 1, 2023, include, but are not limited to:
- 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; and,
- 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 Secretary Steve Simon. “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.
The 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.”
Several significant election laws that were passed in the 2023 legislative session have already gone into effect in Minnesota. These include the 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.
Other election laws passed in the 2023 legislative session will go into effect in 2024 and beyond including automatic voter registration; 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.
Details on these laws and more are available on the Minnesota Secretary of State website
Access Press elections coverage is provided through a grant from Ramsey County Elections.