Reverse Mail Ballot Trend
The number of precincts in Greater Minnesota designated as “mail-in” balloting precincts has grown dramatically under Secretary of State Steve Simon (Democrat). When Simon became Secretary of State in 2014, there were 588 mail-in precincts. In 2018, there were 948 mail-in balloting precincts, today, there are 1,345. That is a 42 percent increase.
In a mail-ballot precinct, registered voters are automatically sent a ballot. If you are not registered, you do not get a ballot or a notice from the state. Options are limited if you want to vote early in person or on Election Day.
There are concerns that this policy can lead to voters in Greater Minnesota scrambling to vote on Election Day, especially if they are not registered. And there are concerns about what happens to ballots sent to voters who have moved, or what happens to ballots once they are placed in the mail system.
An Update from Kim
Townships that opted for mail ballots over the years had different reasons, including Covid concerns in 2020. As Kim talks with township residents and commissioners, she is thinking that mail ballots for very small townships IF DONE PROPERLY can still be a good option. Mail ballots used to be processed by the township clerk who knew everyone; assuming an honest/competent clerk, that personal knowledge provided an extra measure of integrity/accountability. But now all the ballots go to the county auditor. What if townships could get those ballots back to the township level?
Mail ballots, even if counted locally, however, can leave unregistered voters out in the cold, and there is still the problem of mail ballots floating around that can be voted improperly (there is no strict ballot inventory which can lead to fraud).
Another idea Kim is exploring for a return to in-person voting in mail ballot townships: grants for tiny townships that are unfairly burdened by the cost of complying with federal and state regulations (cost of equipment and polling place if there is not township hall). Stay tuned on this.
To find out if you live in a mail-in balloting precinct, please visit the polling place finder on the Secretary of State’s polling place finder at: Polling Place Finder.
If you live in one of those townships and want to reverse the township’s decision, use the sample resolution here and follow the instructions in the Minnesota Senate memo here. Citizens who wish to reverse the mail ballot designation should approach their elected officials to get it on the agenda well in advance of Election Day.
The SOS Website FAQ for Mail-In Precincts can be read here.
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