Secretary of State Steve Simon was joined by fellow Democrats for a press conference where he outlined his called “Investing in Democracy” agenda.
The first controversial initiative Simon brought up was to allow active felons who are not serving in prisons to be able to cast ballots. Currently, felons need to fully serve their term before having their voting rights restored. Under Simons plan, estimated 60,000 felons who are still serving their sentence but are no longer in prison would imminently be eligible to vote.
Despite the fact Minnesota ranks #1 in terms of voter turnout, Simon additionally endorsed a plan for automatic voter registration. Under his plan, anyone who gets a driver license or ID would automatically be registered to vote. Voters would have to manually opt out if they do not wish to be registered.
Most of the proposals drew criticism from former Secretary of State and current State Senator Mary Kiffmeeyr. “As a former secretary of state, protecting the integrity of our elections is very important to me,” said Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, chairwoman of the State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee to Star Tribune
Republican lead on elections in the Minnesota House also expressed concerns about increasing possibility of voter fraud. “I just think that if you enroll somebody who may not want to actually vote … they’re just getting a driver’s license, that’s a potential vector for voting fraud,” Nash said.
Watch the full press conference below