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HF 2335

as introduced - 92nd Legislature (2021 - 2022) Posted on 04/07/2022 01:02pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to elections; amending process for challenged voters; providing notice of
challenge and process to contest challenge; requiring use of challenged ballots in
certain circumstances; providing a penalty; making conforming changes; amending
Minnesota Statutes 2020, sections 201.061, subdivision 4; 201.091, subdivision
4; 201.145, subdivision 1, by adding a subdivision; 204C.10; 204C.12, subdivisions
2, 3; 204C.14, subdivision 1; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes,
chapters 201; 204C.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 201.061, subdivision 4, is amended to read:


Subd. 4.

Registration by election judges; procedures.

Registration at the polling place
on election day shall be conducted by the election judges. Before registering an individual
to vote at the polling place, the election judge must reviewnew text begin: (1) new text end any list of absentee election
day registrants provided by the county auditor or municipal clerk to see if the person has
already voted by absentee ballotnew text begin; and (2) the precinct list of challenged voters required under
section 201.145, subdivision 1, paragraph (b)
new text end. If the person's name appears on the new text beginabsentee
election day registrants
new text endlist, the election judge must not allow the individual to register or
to vote in the polling place. new text beginIf the person's name appears on the challenged voter list, the
election judge must allow the individual to register to vote, but the voter must not be allowed
to sign the polling place roster or cast a ballot. Instead, a voter allowed to register despite
appearing on the challenged voter list must be allowed to cast a challenged ballot pursuant
to section 204C.136.
new text end The election judge who registers an individual at the polling place on
election day shall not handle that voter's ballots at any time prior to the opening of the ballot
box after the voting ends. Registration applications and forms for oaths shall be available
at each polling place. If an individual who registers on election day proves residence by
oath of a registered voter, the form containing the oath shall be attached to the individual's
registration application. Registration applications completed on election day shall be
forwarded to the county auditor who shall add the name of each voter to the registration
system unless the information forwarded is substantially deficient. A county auditor who
finds an election day registration substantially deficient shall give written notice to the
individual whose registration is found deficient. An election day registration shall not be
found deficient solely because the individual who provided proof of residence was ineligible
to do so.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 201.091, subdivision 4, is amended to read:


Subd. 4.

Public information lists.

new text begin(a) new text endThe county auditor shall make available for
inspection a public information list which must contain the name, address, year of birth,
and voting history of each registered voter in the county. new text beginThe list must indicate each voter
whose status is challenged in the statewide voter registration system at the time the list was
prepared. For each voter, the list must include the history of each change in status and the
date that the change to that status was made. The list must also include individuals that were
previously registered but were removed or made inactive in the statewide voter registration
system and the reason for the removal or inactivation.
new text end

The list must not include the party choice of any voter who voted in a presidential
nomination primary. The telephone number must be included on the list if provided by the
voter. The public information list may also include information on voting districts.

new text begin (b) new text endThe county auditor may adopt reasonable rules governing access to the list. No
individual inspecting the public information list shall tamper with or alter it in any manner.
No individual who inspects the public information list or who acquires a list of registered
voters prepared from the public information list may use any information contained in the
list for purposes unrelated to elections, political activities, or law enforcement. The secretary
of state may provide copies of the public information lists and other information from the
statewide registration system for uses related to elections, political activities, or in response
to a law enforcement inquiry from a public official concerning a failure to comply with any
criminal statute or any state or local tax statute.

new text begin (c) new text endBefore inspecting the public information list or obtaining a list of voters or other
information from the list, the individual shall provide identification to the public official
having custody of the public information list and shall state in writing that any information
obtained from the list will not be used for purposes unrelated to elections, political activities,
or law enforcement. Requests to examine or obtain information from the public information
lists or the statewide registration system must be made and processed in the manner provided
in the rules of the secretary of state.

new text begin (d) new text endUpon receipt of a statement signed by the voter that withholding the voter's name
from the public information list is required for the safety of the voter or the voter's family,
the secretary of state and county auditor must withhold from the public information list the
name of a registered voter.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective July 1, 2021, and applies to public
information lists created on or after that date. Information on status changes or individuals
removed from the statewide voter registration system collected prior to July 1, 2021, must
not be included on a public information list.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 201.145, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Report requirements.

new text begin(a) new text endReports required by this section must be
submitted to the secretary of state as provided in this section. Reports from the state court
administrator that are required under this section must be made on a daily basis, excluding
weekends and holidays. Reports from the commissioner of corrections and the commissioner
of public safety that are required under this section must be made to the secretary of state
at least monthly. Reports must be submitted by electronic means. Reports from the
commissioner of corrections and the commissioner of public safety must include a complete
list of each individual under the reporting entity's jurisdiction and must not provide only
the changes since the last report.

new text begin (b) No sooner than seven days before an election, the secretary of state must prepare
and transmit to each county auditor a single list for each precinct in that county that includes
each individual identified in a report required by this section. Each county auditor must
ensure that at least one copy of the precinct list is delivered to the corresponding precinct
polling place.
new text end

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 201.145, is amended by adding a subdivision to
read:


new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Notice of challenge. new text end

new text begin No later than seven days after changing the status of a
registrant in the statewide voter registration system pursuant to this section, the county
auditor or municipal clerk must mail a notice to the registrant. The notice must include, at
a minimum, the following information:
new text end

new text begin (1) a statement that the voter's status was challenged or that a challenge was removed;
new text end

new text begin (2) the reason for the change;
new text end

new text begin (3) a copy of the information provided by the entity that was the basis for the change in
status; and
new text end

new text begin (4) a description of the process to contest the change in status, as provided in section
201.146.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective July 1, 2021, and applies to reports
received by the secretary of state on or after that date. The notices required by this section
must be sent to individuals who are challenged in the statewide voter registration system
pursuant to this section on or after July 1, 2021.
new text end

Sec. 5.

new text begin [201.146] CONTESTING A CHALLENGE.
new text end

new text begin (a) An individual whose status was challenged in the statewide voter registration system
pursuant to section 201.145 has the right to contest the challenge as provided in this section.
new text end

new text begin (b) To contest the challenge, the individual must file a contest petition with the named
entity. The petition must state the basis for the contest and provide any supporting
documentation. The individual may request a review meeting as part of the petition. The
meeting may be conducted by interactive video technology. The petition must be in a form
prescribed by the secretary of state.
new text end

new text begin (c) No later than seven days after receiving the contest petition, the named entity must
review the contest petition and any supporting documentation, as well as the data provided
to the secretary of state. If the individual requested a review meeting, the named entity must
schedule a meeting with the individual within 14 days after receiving the contest petition.
new text end

new text begin (d) After reviewing the required data, and after the review meeting if one occurred, the
named entity must determine whether the data is accurate or should be changed. If the named
entity determines that no change to the data is required, the named entity must notify the
individual. If the named entity determines that the data must be changed, the named entity
must promptly notify the individual and the secretary of state. Upon receiving the changed
data from the named entity, the secretary of state must promptly remove the challenged
status. If an individual disagrees with the decision of the named entity, the individual may
appeal to the district court.
new text end

new text begin (e) For purposes of this section, "named entity" means the entity listed in the notice as
required by section 201.145, subdivision 6.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective July 1, 2021, and applies to individuals
who are challenged on or after that date.
new text end

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 204C.10, is amended to read:


204C.10 POLLING PLACE ROSTER; VOTER SIGNATURE CERTIFICATE;
VOTER RECEIPT.

(a) An individual seeking to vote shall sign a polling place roster or voter signature
certificate which states that the individual is at least 18 years of age, a citizen of the United
States, has resided in Minnesota for 20 days immediately preceding the election, maintains
residence at the address shown, is not under a guardianship in which the court order revokes
the individual's right to vote, has not been found by a court of law to be legally incompetent
to vote or has the right to vote because, if the individual was convicted of a felony, the
felony sentence has expired or been completed or the individual has been discharged from
the sentence, is registered and has not already voted in the election. The roster must also
state: "I understand that deliberately providing false information is a felony punishable by
not more than five years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $10,000, or both."

(b) At the presidential nomination primary, the polling place roster must also state: "I
am in general agreement with the principles of the party for whose candidate I intend to
vote." This statement must appear separately from the statements required in paragraph (a).
The felony penalty provided for in paragraph (a) does not apply to this paragraph.

(c) deleted text beginA judge may,deleted text end Before the applicant signs the roster or voter signature certificate, new text beginan
election judge must
new text endconfirm the applicant's name, address, and date of birth.new text begin Unless the
challenge is resolved pursuant to section 204C.12, subdivision 3, a voter whose registration
status is listed as challenged must not be allowed to sign the polling place roster or sign a
voter signature certificate, but the voter must be allowed to cast a challenged ballot as
provided in section 204C.136.
new text end

(d) After the applicant signs the roster or voter signature certificate, the judge shall give
the applicant a voter's receipt. The voter shall deliver the voter's receipt to the judge in
charge of ballots as proof of the voter's right to vote, and thereupon the judge shall hand to
the voter the ballot. The voters' receipts must be maintained during the time for notice of
filing an election contest.

(e) Whenever a challenged status appears on the polling place roster, an election judge
must ensure that the challenge is concealed or hidden from the view of any voter other than
the voter whose status is challenged.

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 204C.12, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Statement of grounds; oath.

A challenger must be a resident of this state. The
secretary of state shall prepare a form that challengers must complete and sign when making
a challenge. The form must include space to state the ground for the challenge, a statement
that the challenge is based on the challenger's personal knowledge, and a statement that the
challenge is made under oath. The form must include a space for the challenger's printed
name, signature, telephone number, and address.

deleted text begin An election judge shall administer to the challenged individual the following oath:
deleted text end

deleted text begin "Do you solemnly swear (or affirm) that you will fully and truly answer all questions
put to you concerning your eligibility to vote at this election?"
deleted text end

deleted text begin The election judge shall then ask the challenged individual sufficient questions to test
that individual's residence and right to vote.
deleted text end

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 204C.12, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Determination of residence.

deleted text beginIn determining thedeleted text end new text begin(a) For an individual whose
residency in the precinct is challenged, an election judge must administer to the challenged
individual the following oath: "Do you solemnly swear (or affirm) that you will fully and
truly answer all questions put to you concerning your residency in this precinct?" The
election judge must then ask the challenged questions to determine the individual's
new text endlegal
residence deleted text beginof a challenged individual,deleted text end new text beginin the precinct. new text endThe election deleted text beginjudges shalldeleted text end new text beginmust new text endbe
governed by the principles contained in section 200.031. If the challenged individual's
answers to the questions show deleted text beginineligibility to vote indeleted text end that new text beginthe individual does not live in the
new text end precinct, the individual deleted text beginshalldeleted text end new text beginmust new text endnot be allowed to vote. If the individual has marked
ballots but not yet deposited them in the ballot boxes before the election judges determine
ineligibility to vote in that precinct, the marked ballots deleted text beginshalldeleted text end new text beginmust new text endbe placed unopened with
the spoiled ballots. If the answers to the questions fail to show that the individual deleted text beginis not
eligible to vote in that
deleted text end new text begindoes not reside in the new text endprecinct and the challenge is not withdrawn,
the election judges deleted text beginshalldeleted text end new text beginmust new text endverbally administer the oath on the voter certificate to the
individual. After taking the oath and completing and signing the voter certificate, the
challenged individual deleted text beginshalldeleted text end new text beginmust new text endbe allowed to vote.

new text begin (b) The process described in this section must not be used for any purpose other than
determining residency in the precinct.
new text end

Sec. 9.

new text begin [204C.136] CHALLENGED BALLOTS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Casting challenged ballots. new text end

new text begin (a) A voter whose registration status is
challenged, and the challenge is not resolved pursuant to section 204C.12, is entitled to cast
a challenged ballot.
new text end

new text begin (b) A voter seeking to cast a challenged ballot must sign a challenged ballot roster or a
challenged voter signature certificate and complete a challenged ballot envelope. The
envelope must contain a space for the voter to list the voter's name, address of residence,
date of birth, voter identification number, and any other information prescribed by the
secretary of state. The voter must also swear or affirm, in writing, that the voter is eligible
to vote, has not voted previously in the same election, and meets the criteria for registering
to vote in the precinct in which the voter appears.
new text end

new text begin (c) Once the voter has completed the challenged ballot envelope, the voter must be
allowed to cast a challenged ballot. The challenged ballot must be in the same form as the
official ballot available in the precinct on election day. A completed challenged ballot shall
be sealed in a secrecy envelope. The secrecy envelope shall be sealed inside the voter's
challenged ballot envelope and deposited by the voter in a secure, sealed challenged ballot
box. Completed challenged ballots may not be combined with other voted ballots in the
polling place.
new text end

new text begin (d) The form of the secrecy and challenged ballot envelopes shall be prescribed by the
secretary of state. The challenged ballot envelope must be a color other than that provided
for absentee ballot envelopes or provisional ballot envelopes and must be prominently
labeled "Challenged Ballot Envelope."
new text end

new text begin (e) Challenged ballots and related documentation shall be delivered to and securely
maintained by the county auditor or municipal clerk in the same manner as required for
other election materials under sections 204C.27 and 204C.28.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Accepting or rejecting challenged ballot envelopes. new text end

new text begin (a) Before the meeting
of the canvassing board, the county auditor or municipal clerk must accept or reject each
challenged ballot. The county auditor or municipal clerk must review the information in
the statewide voter registration system, required by section 201.145, subdivision 1, paragraph
(b), for the date of the election. If the information shows that the voter was not challenged,
or should not have been challenged on that date and was otherwise eligible to vote, that
voter's challenged ballot must be accepted. The county auditor or municipal clerk must mark
the challenged ballot envelope "Accepted" and initial or sign the envelope below the word
"Accepted." If a challenged ballot envelope is not accepted, the county auditor or municipal
clerk must mark the challenged ballot envelope "Rejected," initial or sign it below the word
"Rejected," and list the reason for the rejection on the envelope. The county auditor or
municipal clerk must promptly record in the statewide voter registration system that a voter's
challenged ballot has been accepted or rejected.
new text end

new text begin (b) The county auditor or municipal clerk must mail the voter a written notice of
challenged ballot rejection between six and ten weeks following the election. The notice
must include the reason for rejection and the name of the appropriate election official to
whom the voter may direct further questions, along with appropriate contact information.
new text end

new text begin (c) A challenged ballot envelope marked "Rejected" may not be opened or subject to
further review except in an election contest filed pursuant to chapter 209.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Challenged ballots; reconciliation. new text end

new text begin Prior to counting any challenged ballots
in the final vote totals from a precinct, the county auditor or municipal clerk must verify
that the number of signatures appearing on the challenged ballot roster from that precinct
is equal to or greater than the number of challenged ballots submitted by voters in the
precinct on election day. Any discrepancy must be resolved before the challenged ballots
from the precinct may be counted. Excess challenged ballots to be counted must be randomly
withdrawn in the manner required by section 204C.20, subdivision 2.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Counting challenged ballots. new text end

new text begin Accepted challenged ballot envelopes must be
opened, duplicated as needed in the manner provided in section 206.86, subdivision 5,
initialed by the members of the ballot board, and deposited in the appropriate ballot box. If
more than one ballot is enclosed in the ballot envelope, the ballots must be spoiled and must
not be counted.
new text end

Sec. 10.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 204C.14, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Violations; penalty.

new text begin(a) new text endNo individual shall intentionally:

deleted text begin (a)deleted text endnew text begin (1)new text end misrepresent the individual's identity in applying for a ballot, depositing a ballot
in a ballot boxnew text begin, requesting a challenged ballot or requesting that a challenged ballot be
counted,
new text end or attempting to vote by means of a voting machine or electronic voting system;

deleted text begin (b)deleted text endnew text begin (2)new text end vote more than once at the same election;

deleted text begin (c)deleted text endnew text begin (3)new text end put a ballot in a ballot box for any illegal purpose;

deleted text begin (d)deleted text endnew text begin (4)new text end give more than one ballot of the same kind to an election judge to be placed in a
ballot box;

deleted text begin (e)deleted text endnew text begin (5)new text end aid, abet, counsel or procure another to go into any precinct for the purpose of
voting in that precinct, knowing that the other individual is not eligible to vote in that
precinct; deleted text beginor
deleted text end

deleted text begin (f)deleted text endnew text begin (6)new text end aid, abet, counsel or procure another to do any act in violation of this sectionnew text begin; or
new text end

new text begin (7) challenge a voter's eligibility to vote knowing that the challenge is not meritorious
or acting in reckless disregard of whether the challenge is meritorious
new text end.

new text begin (b) new text endA violation of this section is a felony.

Sec. 11. new text beginEFFECTIVE DATE.
new text end

new text begin This act is effective on January 1, 2022, and applies to elections held on or after that
date.
new text end