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ACLU seeks to overturn Minnesota’s limit on voter assistance

Associated Press

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota is seeking to overturn a state law that limits the number of voters that an individual can assist, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Minnesota law prevents an individual from helping more than three registered voters fill out a ballot or submit an absentee ballot. The ACLU argues that’s not consistent with the Voting Rights Act, which explicitly allows people who need assistance to choose who will help them vote.

The ACLU says the Minnesota law is unconstitutional, and has a disproportionate impact on refugee communities who may need help with translating, including the Hmong community.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of St. Paul City Councilman Dai Thao and others. Thao was running for mayor when he helped a visually impaired woman vote; state law also forbids candidates from helping someone cast a ballot. He was prosecuted and found not guilty.

The lawsuit names Secretary of State Steve Simon as a defendant. Simon has urged the Legislature to repeal the limits. Lawmakers are considering bills to lift the three-voter cap.

A similar lawsuit was filed last month by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — the political arms of the U.S. House and Senate.

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