Automatic voter registration bill approved


A House committee approved a bill that would make voter registration easy — too easy, according to some Republicans.

Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park) sponsors HF1053 that would overhaul Minnesota’s voter registration process. In addition to making it easier to update voter records by cross-checking various databases, the bill would automatically register any eligible voter who applies for a driver’s license or other state ID. (Watch the meeting.)

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said the goal is to reduce the approximately 600,000 Election Day registrations the state currently processes; however, some Republicans argued voters should have to make a more active effort to register.

“I just think this is a fundamental change that we should not be making. I think voters should have to think about this and act to register, and not have it automatically done for them,” said Rep. Morrie Lanning (R-Moorhead).

The House State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee approved the bill and referred it to the House Finance Committee. A companion, SF660, sponsored by Sen. John Marty (DFL-Roseville), awaits action by the Senate Judiciary Committee.