State and Local Government Finance and Policy
Chair Ginny Klevorn
March 22nd, 2023
HF 2486 1st Engrossment – Frazier
Dear Chair and members of the Committee,
On Friday, March 17th, 2023, the House Elections Finance and Policy Committee approved a DE amendment to HF 2486 modified the provisions regarding representation of the State’s Ethnic Councils, Minnesota Council on Disability, and the Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing on the Ranked Choice Voting Task Force. The original language called for 1 task force member from each of the councils, for a total of 6 members. Unfortunately, the DE amendment reduced the number of representatives to 2 for all 6 councils:
HF 2486 1st Engrossment Lines 2.23 – 2.26
(13) two representatives appointed by the governor chosen from among the membership of the following: the ethnic councils established in Minnesota Statutes, section 15.0145; the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council; the Minnesota Council on Disability; and the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing;
This is very problematic because the lived experiences and the reasons for voting are very different among Black, Latino, American Indian, Asian Pacific, Disabled, and Deaf Minnesotans. It is impossible for 2 task force members to serve the interests and desires of the communities the 6 councils represent. Having only 2 members to represent these diverse groups mean that some of the councils will inevitably be left out of an extremely important conversation about our democracy.
HF 2486 is no small bill. It has the potential to fundamentally change how our democracy operates and who will represent us in future legislatures to come. If groups are left out of the implementation conversation, we risk more harm than good. We must ensure that the voting process is accessible, understandable, and usable for Minnesotans with disabilities. Considering the history of voter suppression for people with disabilities in the US, we hope that this was a simple oversight and can be easily remedied.
We urge members of the committee to amend HF 2486 to re-visit the task force member composition. It is imperative to have this representation so that the true voices of these communities are accounted for. Please support voters with disabilities as well as other historically marginalized groups in Minnesota. Our democracy depends on fair representation and inclusion in the democratic process.
Public Policy Director