Minnesota Supreme Court to review voting requirements relaxed amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Minnesota Supreme Court is set to review the relaxation of absentee voting requirements amid the coronavirus. Meanwhile, Dr. Fauci says there's "no reason" to prohibit in-person voting.

Image from mncourts.gov

The Minnesota Supreme Court will accelerate its consideration of a voting requirement that was waived because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In early August, a Ramsey County District Court judge allowed the state to waive the requirement that absentee ballots receive a witness signature confirming the legitimacy of the vote, Alpha News reported. After President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, the Minnesota Republican Party and other conservative groups appealed the decision, the State Supreme Court said it will now fast track a hearing on the new rule.

The case will go before Minnesota’s high court on Sept. 4.

Proponents of relaxed rules around remote voting argue that the coronavirus pandemic makes it too dangerous to vote in person.

“The president’s own admissions, as well as the prediction of experts that COVID-19 will likely surge in the fall as the election coincides with the return of cold and flu season, lead the Court to conclude that the safety concerns for the ballot box are not so speculative,” Judge Sara Grewing said in her ruling, according to MPR.

However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that there is no reason why Americans can’t vote in person come November.

“I think if carefully done according to the guidelines, there’s no reason that I can see why that not be the case,” he said of in-person voting during an interview with National Geographic aired Thursday.

“If you go and wear a mask, if you observe the physical distancing and don’t have a crowded situation, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do that [vote in person],” he added.

A Minnesota District Court also ruled recently in favor of ballot collection. Ballot collecting, also known as ballot harvesting, is the controversial practice of sending a third-party activist, sometimes affiliated with a campaign, door to door to pick up absentee ballots, urging citizens to vote. Republicans oppose this practice, arguing that ballot harvesting enables interested parties to directly pressure voters.

A Minnesota court ruled Tuesday that ballot collection is allowed in Minnesota.