Tags: 2020 Elections | Coronavirus | minnesota | primary | mail | in | signature

Minnesota to Waive Witness Signature on Mail-In Votes for August Primary

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By    |   Thursday, 25 June 2020 06:11 PM

Minnesota will ignore a state voting law that mandates mail-in ballots contain a witness signature for the Aug. 11 primary, dismissing a federal judge’s concerns that its settlement of a state lawsuit to waive the requirement because of novel coronavirus fears goes too far.

The decision announced Tuesday by Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon is based on a consent decree approved June 17 that settled two lawsuits brought in state court that the witness signature was “burdensome” and “endangered public health” during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Simon’s action, approved by Ramsey County District Judge Sara Grewing, also will allow ballots that arrive up to two days after election day to be counted as long as they are postmarked on or before Aug. 11, Minneapolis NBC affiliate KARE reported.

However, in a separate, but similar, lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters in federal court, District Court Judge Eric Tostrud said Tuesday in an opinion that neither the state nor the plaintiffs have established a need for “wholesale nonenforcement” of the requirement.

It was unclear what would become of the case. “There are many possibilities,” Tostrud wrote.

But Simon’s spokeswoman Risikat Adesaogun, said Tostrud’s opinion was irrelevant.

“Today’s U.S. District Court ruling does not affect last week’s state court ruling that the consent decree is fair, adequate, reasonable, and in the public interest,” she said in a statement. “We are bound by the ruling of the state district court and will comply with the order.”

Simon, a member of the Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party, has long been an advocate for mail-in, formerly called absentee, voting, the Star Tribune said.

Minnesota Republicans have opposed the change, with critics saying it increased the risk for fraud. The League of Women Voters is also pushing to ease the witness requirement for mail in voting in the November general election.

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Politics
Minnesota will ignore a state voting law that mandates mail-in ballots contain a witness signature for the Aug. 11 primary, dismissing a federal judge's concerns...
minnesota, primary, mail, in, signature
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2020-11-25
Thursday, 25 June 2020 06:11 PM
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