Rep. Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville, said at a Monday news conference that a constituent had contacted her after receiving a voter registration form from MNsure, the state-run health insurance exchange, even though the person in question is already registered to vote and does not purchase health insurance through MNsure.
Peterson said she is sending a letter to MNsure that will inquire about staff time and money used to register voters. "I want to be clear: I don't oppose voter registration. I am concerned, however, about using staff time and taxpayer money dedicated to extracurriculars like voter registration," she said.
Linden Zakula, Gov. Mark Dayton's deputy chief of staff, said in a statement: “House Republicans should know that for the past thirty years, state law has required agencies to provide voter registration materials to people who request them. This failure to understand a statutory responsibility demonstrates once again that House Republicans know almost nothing about state government."
"Only consumers who request a voter registration card will be sent a voter registration card," said Marie Harmon, a spokeswoman for MNsure, indicating MNsure is not using significant resources. She added that the Department of Human Services, not MNsure, processes the requests, but use a MNsure return address label when they send out the voter registration form.
Peterson said the constituent who contacted her had not requested a voter registration form.
Peterson, who faces a tough re-election fight against DFLer Lindsey Port, quickly pivoted from the voter regisration issue to problems on the individual health insurance market, where rates are increasing 50 percent or more and health insurers may capping enrollment and narrow coverage options.
Republicans have been pounding the DFL on the individual health insurance market, which affects about 250,000 Minnesotans, especially since Dayton conceded to problems in that market. Republicans are trying to preserve a 73-61 majority in the House and have turned to health care as their top issue late in the campaign.