Gov. Walz signs voting accessibility and protections bill on Friday

(ABC 6 News) – Governor Tim Walz signed the “Democracy for the People” bill on Friday morning, which aims to strengthen voting rights and accessibility.

Gov. Walz was joined by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Secretary of State Steve Simon, Rep. Emma Greenman (DFL-Minneapolis), Sen. Liz Boldon (DFL-Rochester), and community leaders and advocates, according to a spokesperson for Gov. Walz.

The legislation allows all Minnesota voters to opt-in to a permanent absentee voter list, in addition to creating automatic voter registration and allowing 16-and 17-year-olds to pre-register for voting. The bill also creates penalties for spreading false information about voting 60 days before an election.

“Minnesota consistently leads the nation in voter turnout, and we plan to keep it that way,” said Gov. Walz. “We know that the more people vote, the more representative our state government can be. This bill will strengthen our democracy, allow future voters to get engaged early, and keep our campaigns honest and fair.”

DFL lawmakers say the bill will protect the freedom to vote, reduce the influence of dark money and foreign influence in Minnesota politics, and guarantee fair democracy for all Minnesotans, according to a news release from the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Republicans claim the legislation weakens transparency and could lead to more fraud due to the pre-registration and permanent absentee provisions.

The bill passed in the Minnesota Senate on April 26 after being approved in the House.

Watch the signing below courtesy of Twin Cities ABC affiliate, KSTP-TV.