The State Legislature is currently considering League of Minnesota Cities-endorsed legislation that would establish an early voting process similar to what is used in 20 states and the District of Columbia.
The in-person absentee system, the system that is currently in place, involves significant personnel and administrative expenses, as cities that administer elections discovered during the 2014 mid-term election.
Under the current system, a voter enters city hall to vote prior to the election. The voter applies for an absentee ballot and once the application is processed, the voter receives a ballot and then votes. But instead of getting placed in a tabulator, the ballot is processed like all absentee ballots—folded, placed in a series of envelopes, signed, sealed and processed at a later time—seven days before Election Day.
A true early voting system would not change absentee balloting for those who mail in their ballots, it would simply change the abundance of administrative paperwork required when voting in person. At a time when local governments continue to trim budgets to become more efficient, early voting is a cost-effective process that makes good fiscal sense for city governments and local property tax payers. Additionally, early voters would have the satisfaction of actually seeing their ballot placed in a secure tabulator in real time, rather than set aside for processing later.
Early voting legislation has already moved through the Senate, but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing on the House side. Only a few days remain for the House to consider early voting before the second legislative deadline on March 27. City officials are urged to contact House leaders and their legislators immediately to voice support for the bill.
Check out a list of the 22 cities who have passed resolutions in support of early voting.