In Minnesota, Democratic Governor Tim Walz has signed a sweeping package of legislative priorities into law that, among other components, includes the creation of about two and a half weeks of in-person early voting for Minnesota residents. (It’s a total of 18 days.) Minnesota previously had early voting available, but the only methods for actually casting a ballot involved utilizing an absentee vote either sent through the mail or completed at an elections office.
According to a recap from the voting rights organization Democracy Docket, the legislative package also included specific allowances for students to use student IDs to fulfill requirements for proving residence in Minnesota associated with casting a ballot — and under its terms, Minnesota is also joining the agreement among certain states to give their electoral votes to the winner of the nation’s popular vote instead of basing such allocations on the results of individual states.
Having such a system in place would have meant Donald Trump never became president, as he infamously lost by millions of votes across the country as a whole to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race. The agreement among certain states to allocate their electoral votes to national winners has been identified as taking effect once the locations where it’s been adopted represent a majority of the country’s electoral votes. It has also been under consideration in Nevada, where the state legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, recently approved an amendment to the state Constitution that would put Nevada in the agreement. However, the legislature would have to approve it again in an entirely different session, besides the state’s residents also needing to provide their subsequent approval, before the idea is enacted.
The progress that has recently been seen in Minnesota was facilitated by Democratic victories in last year’s midterm elections, when Walz won another term as Democrats took unified control of the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature. Similar victories in the midterms have also facilitated other advancements in voting rights, like in Michigan. There, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a framework into law establishing that ballots received from military and overseas voters up to six days after an election will be counted, so long as they were sent on time. The extra time will help with potential postal delays.