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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Automatic voter registration stands out in MN election-law analysis

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Thursday, June 20, 2024   

This week, Minnesota leaders touted early numbers under a new automatic voter-registration law.

The provision was among the highlights in a report grading each state's voting policies. The Movement Advancement Project gives Minnesota a stronger overall score, 24 of 34.5 points, for voting access and election security measures. Automatic registration was among the positive checkmarks.

Negative points included added requirements for returning absentee ballots.

Brian Hinkle, senior voting policy researcher for the project, said no matter which direction a state goes, such actions can have a significant impact on voter turnout, which is especially important when a tight presidential election is expected.

"In the 2020 election, there were seven states decided by less than three percentage points," Hinkle noted.

Minnesota was not among them but polls indicate a tight race here in 2024. Minnesota has taken steps to increase funding for local election offices to cover expenses, which differs from many conservative-led states, with 26 banning private funding grants. As for automatic registration, Minnesota officials said more than 15,000 people have been successfully registered so far through the new system.

Nationally, Hinkle emphasized the project's latest report shows that since 2020, 18 states have taken steps to expand access to the ballot box, while nearly half of states have enacted tighter voting restrictions.

"I think it's evident that the continued polarization of states and the divergence highlighted in this report has the potential to sow confusion among voters and lead to potential disenfranchisement," Hinkle stressed. "Particularly for marginalized groups, who already face barriers to the ballot box. "

With the 2024 presidential election coming up, Hinkle predicted state legislatures will be very active early next year in updating voting policies based on any fallout, as there was after the 2020 vote.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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