HF 9 Summary

House File 9 – 2021-22 MN House session

This is a large and comprehensive bill providing much improved election access, encouragement to small donors, and improved transparency of large contributions. The measure provides solutions to many of the problems with our state’s elections identified by Clean Elections Minnesota.

 

Highlights.

Article 1. Strengthening Voter Registration

Preregistration to vote for 16–17-year-olds. Voters under 18 can be registered to vote as of 16th birthday and then vote on or after 18th birthday. Sec. 6.

Automatic voter registration with drivers license renewal,  medical assistance application or application for any other service provided by state. Sec. 12

Article 2. Promoting Voter Access.

Restore right to vote for convicted felons upon release. Sec. 1

Absentee ballots, not just an application, mailed to voters on absentee voter list 46 days before election. Sec. 11

Allow counting of absentee ballots up to seven days after election if  post marked by election day, Sec. 13.

Absentee Voting Drop Boxes mandated. At least one for 20,000 registered voters in jurisdiction. Sec. 16

Early voting to be allowed 30 days before election for all federal, state and county elections. Sec. 25-31.

Article 3. Voter Intimidation and Protecting Elections Systems

Expands protections against voter intimidation, interference and deceptive practices. Intentional violations would be criminal felonies. Also, allows civil suits for damages and costs by wronged voters. Sec. 3

Article 4. Campaign Finance and Encourage Small Donors

Allows establishing small donor political funds able to accept contributions of up to $200, to make contributions of not more than $2,000 during election cycle and able to coordinate activities with candidates and parties. Sec. 3. 

Establishes small donor contribution program allowing state to match contributions from MN residents to campaigns of state party of up to $100 per contributor. If reside in district match is 6x; if not 3x and 1x for statewide candidates and political parties.  Maximums set total match. Sec. 5

Sets up “Democracy Dollar program in which every registered voter receives two coupons of $25 each to be used to contributes to candidates or political party of choice. Democracy Dollars are to be matched as other small contributions are matched. Sec 11 and 16.

Small donor and Democracy Dollar programs replace present public subsidy and political contribution refund programs which are repealed. Sec 31.

Article 5. Increasing Transparency and Disclosure of Secret Spending

Amends phrase “expressly advocating” to include communications susceptible to no other reasonable interpretation than an appeal to the election or defeat a candidate.  Sec 1

Requires disclosure of three contributors making largest contributions for an independent expenditure. No disclosure is required today. Sec. 2.

Article 6. Creating Transparency and Fair Principles for Redistricting

Principles for redistricting are established with reports required for each. Sec. 1 and 2.

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