Minnesota strikes deal to loosen restrictions on absentee voting

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon and a voter group have reached an agreement to waive Minnesota's witness requirement for absentee ballots in the Nov. 3 general election and ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted if received within seven days.

The group, Alliance for Retired Americans, sued Simon earlier this year to force the changes. The deal still requires a judge's approval.

The judge has already approved a separate consent decree waiving the witness requirement for the Aug. 11 primary and allowing ballots postmarked by primary day to be counted if received within two days.

The Minnesota League of Women Voters has sued in federal court over the same issue.

The coronavirus pandemic has Minnesota voters applying for absentee ballots in record numbers this year to avoid having to show up in person.