Adopted Elections Conference Committee Report Includes New Policy and Finance Provisions

May 13, 2024

The bill would establish a Minnesota Voting Rights Act, require pop-up voting at some postsecondary institutions, and provide more resources for the VOTER fund.

The omnibus elections bill conference committee met on May 10 to wrap up their work and adopt a conference committee report for HF 4772 (Rep. Mike Freiberg, DFL-Golden Valley).

The conference committee adopted agreed-upon provisions from the House and Senate elections policy bills, and also incorporated provisions from the elections finance omnibus bill that were carried in SF 4260 (Sen. Jim Carlson, DFL-Eagan) and HF 4411 (Rep. Mike Freiberg, DFL-Golden Valley).

The conference committee report, which was posted on May 12, will need to be repassed as amended by the House and Senate.

What’s in the bill?

Policy provisions that are included in the conference committee report would:

  • Require cities and counties that administer elections to use a .gov domain website, and allow funds from the Voting Operations, Technology, and Election Resource (VOTER) Account to be used to help these entities transition to a .gov domain website.
  • Require the county auditor or municipal clerk to establish a polling place for at least one day on a postsecondary institution’s campus upon request of the institution or its student government organization for a state general election or odd-year city general election. A request must be made by May 31, and is only valid for that election. The location must be agreed upon by the institution and the county or city, and must:
    • Be accessible to the public.
    • Satisfy requirements of state and federal law.
    • Be on the campus or within a half mile of the campus. These provisions apply only to postsecondary institutions that provide student housing to 100 or more students. The requirement would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2025.
  • Establish the Minnesota Voting Rights Act, which aims to prohibit voter suppression and vote dilution, identify factors for determining a violation, and establish the legal process for claims. A presuit notice would be required first in certain circumstances to be sent to a local government. Unless denied, the parties would be required to work in good faith to agree to a remedy and any reasonable reimbursement of costs to the prevailing nongovernmental party.

The finance provisions in the bill would:

  • Make transfers within various Minnesota Secretary of State Office accounts to provide more funds in the VOTER Account.
  • Provide $200,000 for reimbursement to local governments that set up a temporary polling location on the campus of a postsecondary institution. The Secretary of State will reimburse cities and counties for the actual costs of operating the location up to $5,000 for one polling place the first year, and $3,000 for each additional location in the first year, and all locations in subsequent years.
  • Establish a Voting Rights Act cost sharing account of $144,000.

View a spreadsheet of the election funding provisions in the conference report (pdf).

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