Bill proposes to ease voter registration

Brady Averill

A bill was introduced to the Senate Elections Committee on Tuesday that would give college students more choices to prove their residence on Election Day.

The bill requests that higher-education institutions provide the county auditor with a list of names and addresses of students who live in the institution’s housing, in private housing within the county or in an adjacent county. It also gives students more identification options for Election Day registration.

The options include a current valid photo identification card or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document, as mentioned in the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Sen. Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis, who authored the bill, said a cell phone bill would also be considered. She said it’s a reasonable consideration for a “new generation of voters.”

Dan Miller, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly vice president for public affairs, testified at the committee.

“If you would make these small changes, you would pick up those extra voters,” Miller said.

Loren DeJonge, GAPSA public affairs coordinator, said that although college students turned out in record numbers for the 2004 election, access was still limited.

DeJonge said voting should be a “matter of choice, not paperwork.”

“Minnesota is pretty good, but it still has some stuff that makes it hard to register to vote,” she said.

Sen. Pat Pariseau, R-Farmington, said they should maybe consider rolling back Election Day registration.