As of 2018, Minnesota became the only state in the country with a divided legislature (something that hasn’t happened since 1914). This has led to disputes over bipartisan issues such as election security funding. Minnesota eventually passed a bill to accept funding under the Help America Vote Act, but was the last state in America to do so. Due to GOP obstruction, Minnesota was unable to strengthen voting rights for Minnesotans.

Republican obstruction further led to individuals with felony records not having their rights restored. Minnesota Democrats introduced legislation (HF 40) to automatically restore the right to vote for individuals released from incarceration. Restoring voting rights should not be a partisan issue, and often isn’t across the country, but the Minnesota GOP has obstructed measures to protect citizens’ voting rights.

Minnesota Democrats proposed an omnibus election bill (HF 1603) that would have made Minnesota one of the leading states for voting rights. The bill included election and campaign finance, automatic voter registration, restoration of voting rights of persons with felony convictions, early voting, automatic absentee ballot delivery, ranked-choice voting, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, and establishing an independent redistricting commission. But the bill did not advance. 

Other Democratic initiatives that made no progress due to Minnesota Republican included establishing automatic voter registration (HF 45SF 124), creating an independent redistricting commission (HF 1855SF 2575), establishing early voting (HF 1371SF 312), expanding in-person absentee voting (SF 1320), expand voter registration (HF 1487), allowing the voting age to be lowered to 16 years in local elections (HF 2423SF 2525), and ensuring that ballots are available in languages other than English (HF 1183SF 2235).

Minnesota GOP legislators also introduced legislation to make voting harder, including making it harder to cast a provisional ballot (HF 1109) and to establish more challenges of voter (SF 1803).