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Election changes vetoed (vetoed bill)

Published (5/29/2009)
By Nick Busse
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Minnesota’s political primaries will continue to be held in September.

Sponsored by Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) and Sen. Katie Sieben (DFL-Newport), Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed an omnibus elections bill that would have made a variety of mostly technical changes to the state’s election laws.

Among the more significant provisions included in the bill, primary elections for the state’s major political parties would have been held in August instead of September. Other provisions included administrative changes requested by local governments, the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Previous versions of the bill included provisions such as online voter registration, early voting and various absentee voting reforms; however, these were removed by a conference committee in an effort to make the bill non-controversial and court the approval of Republican legislators.

The effort failed, however, and during floor debate, House Republicans stated that members of their caucus would not vote for any elections bill that did not include a photo ID requirement for voters. The photo ID measure is opposed by most Democrats as well as by the Office of the Secretary of State, and was never included as part of the bill.

In his veto letter, Pawlenty stated that he would not sign a bill that did not have support from Republican lawmakers.

“Election laws set forth rules relating to the fundamental right to vote and the government’s administration of those rights,” Pawlenty wrote. “Omnibus election bills making changes to our election process should be bipartisan. Unfortunately, this bill fails that test.”


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