Governor Steve Bullock today issued an amendatory veto to House Bill 83, adding language that will allow counties to conduct the special Congressional election, scheduled for May 25, by an automatic absentee mailing.
“We can and should help more people participate in our democracy by streamlining government and saving taxpayers’ money,” said Governor Bullock during a press conference. “I take seriously my responsibility to strengthen our democracy by helping make sure that more eligible citizens can participate in that democracy – not fewer. And what is better for democracy than to put a ballot in the hands of every registered voter?”
If the amendatory veto is upheld by the Legislature, every voter will be mailed an absentee ballot for the May 25 election. A mail ballot election is projected to save counties $750,000 and alleviate the difficulties of finding physical locations for precincts, a challenge created by the fact that this election is taking place at an unusual time.
Governor Bullock announced the amendatory veto during a press conference held today and asked the Legislature to accept the amendatory veto as soon as possible to best prepare county clerk and records for the special election. He also expressed his disappointment in the opposition to Senator Fitzpatrick’s mail ballot bill that failed earlier, Senate Bill 305, that it might benefit one party over the other.
“The right to vote, indeed the obligation as a citizen to vote, has no basis in partisan politics,” Governor Bullock said. “It is a sacred right, born in our Constitution. And to sully it by intentionally trying to keep people away from voting takes the deepest kind of cynicism. At its core, it is un-American.”
The amendatory veto also gives voters the opportunity to vote in person on election day or during the 29 days prior at the central election office for the county or any satellite office established by any county. Certain populations requiring special attention, such as handicapped voters, will receive appropriate in-person polling accommodations.
American Indians, under a Secretary of State’s directive issued in 2014 and still in force, will be able to vote at satellite offices located centrally on their reservations. And all counties may open additional satellite offices, and polling locations, where needed or appropriate to serve rural populations.