AARP Urges Minnesota to Ease Absentee Voting Rules

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Simon agreed not to enforce the witness requirement for Minnesota’s Aug. 11 primary, after several groups, including the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, sued the state, saying the witness regulation could endanger Minnesotans who are self-isolating because of the coronavirus. The AARP brief argues that the rule change should also be in place for the general election in November.

“Available evidence indicates that the public health risks of the COVID-19 pandemic also will be great come November, if not worse,” the brief says. “Voting options should be expanded to make sure that electoral participation is robust and public health is protected.” The brief points out that “older persons are the state’s most consistent and enthusiastic voters.”

AARP and AARP Foundation are urging the state to send an absentee ballot to all registered voters.

“Failing to remove barriers to absentee voting will lead to crowding at the polls and greater dangers for older voters, volunteer poll workers and election judges,” said William Alvarado Rivera, senior vice president for litigation at AARP Foundation.

Phillips said another reason to send ballots is that, especially among the 50-plus population, some voters do not have access to the internet to request a ballot and may have to endanger their health by coming in contact with an individual to get a ballot. Data show that roughly one-quarter of Minnesotans lack intenet access. “Getting ballots into the hands of everyone is the easiest way we can make the process work for everyone,” he said.

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