Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, just announced that he had reached an “agreement” with liberal groups that are suing the state to overrule the state’s election laws.
Specifically, Simon’s agreement says that in the upcoming primary, those casting absentee ballots don’t have to have a registered voter or a notary public as a witness. A Ramsey County judge signed off on this agreement, and Simon is moving forward with his plan despite misgivings from a federal judge.
Conservative groups are crying foul. They say that Simon plans to do the same thing for election day, and that Simon’s move removes an import check and balance on the absentee ballot system.
The only thing that separates absentee ballots from a mail-in voting system is that absentee ballots require a witness to sign the ballot, and require that the ballots are received by election day.
Simon’s move chips away at the first requirement, and other Democrat lawsuits are attempting to allow ballots to be accepted even if they are received after election day. If these efforts are successful, Minnesota’s absentee voting system would be turned into a de-facto mail in balloting system.
In another lawsuit—ACLU/NAACP v. Simon—Democrats seek to automatically send ballots to voters, even those who may be ineligible, moved, or have passed away (they seek to send ballots to all registered voters, but Minnesota has at least 26,000 registered voters who are likely to be ineligible to vote).
Republican legislators appear to feel especially burned by Simon’s move. Republican leadership and the vast majority of GOP state legislators passed an election funding bill with little limits on how Simon could spend the money, despite behind-the-scenes criticism by conservative groups.
But Republicans touted the bill as a victory, because they had supposedly stopped Simon and Democrats from enacting mail-in balloting. However, days after Republicans joined with Democrats to pass the election funding bill—which supposedly stopped mail-in ballots in Minnesota—Democrats based out of D.C. launched a lawsuit to achieve de-facto mail-in balloting in Minnesota.