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HF 2405

as introduced - 85th Legislature (2007 - 2008) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to elections; providing for instant runoff voting in federal, state, and
local elections; amending Minnesota Statutes 2006, sections 200.02, by adding
a subdivision; 204B.36, subdivision 2; 204D.10, subdivision 1; 205A.03,
subdivision 1; 205A.06, subdivision 1a; 206.80; proposing coding for new law
in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 204C.

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

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 200.02, is amended by adding a
subdivision to read:


new text begin Subd. 25. new text end

new text begin Instant runoff voting. new text end

new text begin "Instant runoff voting" means the voting
procedure in sections 204C.331 to 204C.336.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 204B.36, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Candidates and offices.

The name of each candidate shall be printed at a
right angle to the length of the ballot. At a general election the name of the political party
or the political principle of each candidate for partisan office shall be printed above or
below the name of the candidate. The name of a political party or a political principle
shall be printed in capital and lowercase letters of the same type, with the capital letters
at least one-half the height of the capital letters used for names of the candidates. At a
general election, blank lines containing the words "write-in, if any" shall be printed below
the name of the last candidate for each office, or below the title of the office if no candidate
has filed for that office, so that a voter may write in the names of individuals whose names
are not on the ballot. One blank line shall be printed for each officer of that kind to be
elected. At a primary election, no blank lines shall be provided for writing in the names of
individuals whose names do not appear on the primary ballot.

new text begin At an election using instant runoff voting under sections 204C.331 to 204C.336, the
ballot must be as prescribed in section 204C.335.
new text end

new text begin At an election not using instant runoff voting, new text endon the left side of the ballot at the
same level with the name of each candidate and each blank line shall be printed a square
in which the voter may designate a vote by a mark (X). Each square shall be the same size.
Above the first name on each ballot shall be printed the words, "Put an (X) in the square
opposite the name of each candidate you wish to vote for." At the same level with these
words and directly above the squares shall be printed a small arrow pointing downward.
Directly underneath the official title of each office shall be printed the words "Vote for
one" or "Vote for up to ..." (any greater number to be elected).

Sec. 3.

new text begin [204C.331] DEFINITIONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Application. new text end

new text begin The definitions in this section apply to sections
204C.331 to 204C.336.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Choice. new text end

new text begin "Choice" means an indication on a ballot of a voter's ranking of
candidates for a particular office according to the voter's preference.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Continuing ballot. new text end

new text begin "Continuing ballot" means a ballot that is not
exhausted.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Exhausted ballot. new text end

new text begin "Exhausted ballot" means a ballot on which all available
choices have been used; for example, all choices made on the ballot have become votes
for the various candidates so indicated or contain choices for eliminated candidates or
both and contain no other choices.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Instant runoff voting. new text end

new text begin "Instant runoff voting" means a system of voting
whereby voters may rank up to three candidates for the same office in order of preference
so that voters may indicate a first choice, a second choice, and a third choice if they wish.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Last place candidate. new text end

new text begin "Last place candidate" means a candidate who has
received the fewest votes among the candidates who remain at any stage. Two or more
candidates simultaneously become last place candidates if their combined votes add up to
less than all votes for the candidate with the next highest number of votes.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Next choice. new text end

new text begin "Next choice" means the highest ranked choice for a
remaining candidate that has not become a vote at the stage referred to.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Remaining candidate; candidates who remain. new text end

new text begin "Remaining candidate"
means a candidate who has not been eliminated. "Candidates who remain" are all those
who have not been eliminated at the stage referred to.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 9. new text end

new text begin Stage; stage in the counting. new text end

new text begin "Stage" or "stage in the counting" means a
step in counting votes where votes for all remaining candidates are counted to determine
whether a candidate has achieved a majority and, if not, which candidate or candidates
are eliminated.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 10. new text end

new text begin Vote. new text end

new text begin "Vote" means a ballot choice that is counted toward nomination or
election of a candidate. All first choices are votes. Lower ranked choices are potential
votes that may, according to the procedures in sections 204C.335 and 204C.336, be
credited to a candidate, and thus become votes for the candidate.
new text end

Sec. 4.

new text begin [204C.332] APPLICATION.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Federal and state offices. new text end

new text begin Instant runoff voting applies to voting
in all primary, regular, and special elections where three or more candidates are running
for the same office, if the office is one of the following:
new text end

new text begin (1) president and vice president of the United States;
new text end

new text begin (2) members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives;
new text end

new text begin (3) governor and lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and state
auditor; or
new text end

new text begin (4) senator or representative in the legislature.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Statutory cities. new text end

new text begin A statutory city may approve the use of instant runoff
voting to elect the offices of mayor, clerk, treasurer, clerk-treasurer, or a member of the
city council elected from a single-member ward. Approval must be by a majority vote of
the electors voting on the question at a special election held under section 205.10. The
question presented must be "Shall instant runoff voting be used in city elections?"
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Home rule charter cities. new text end

new text begin Nothing in Minnesota Statutes prohibits a home
rule charter city from adopting by ordinance for use in city elections instant runoff voting,
cumulative voting, ranked-order voting, or another method of voting with a form of ballot
that differs from the form required by section 204B.36, subdivision 2.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin School districts. new text end

new text begin School district use of instant runoff voting is governed by
section 205A.03, subdivision 1.
new text end

Sec. 5.

new text begin [204C.333] COUNTING OF BALLOTS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin General explanation. new text end

new text begin In general, instant runoff counting proceeds
in the following manner:
new text end

new text begin (a) All votes must be counted. A candidate who receives a majority of the votes
is nominated or elected.
new text end

new text begin (b) If no candidate receives a majority at the first or any subsequent stage, then the
last-place candidate at each stage is eliminated.
new text end

new text begin (c) The next choices on ballots for an eliminated candidate become votes for the
candidates indicated in those choices, and this process continues until all but one candidate
has been eliminated.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Specific procedures. new text end

new text begin (a) This subdivision governs how votes must be
counted for each office covered by instant runoff voting, subject to the conditions in
section 204C.336.
new text end

new text begin (b) All first choices are counted first and if a candidate has obtained a majority of
those votes that candidate is nominated or elected and counting ends.
new text end

new text begin (c) If no candidate receives a majority of votes at the first stage, then second-stage
counting begins by eliminating the last-place candidate and the second choices made
on ballots for the eliminated candidate become votes for the second-choice candidate
indicated on those ballots. A candidate who receives a majority of votes at that stage
is nominated or elected.
new text end

new text begin (d) If no candidate receives a majority at a previous stage, the last-place candidate
among the remaining candidates is eliminated and the next choices made on ballots for
an eliminated candidate become votes for the candidate indicated on those ballots. A
candidate who receives a majority of votes at that stage is nominated or elected.
new text end

new text begin (e) If at any stage in the counting there are two or more last-place candidates, these
candidates are eliminated simultaneously and the next choices made on ballots that had
votes for one or more eliminated candidates become votes for indicated candidates who
remain.
new text end

new text begin (f) The counting process continues in this manner with successive last-place
candidates being eliminated and the next choices made on continuing ballots on which
votes were cast for eliminated candidates are counted for the remaining candidate or
candidates indicated by those choices until all but one candidate has been eliminated and
that candidate is then nominated or elected.
new text end

Sec. 6.

new text begin [204C.334] VOTING CONDITIONS AND LIMITATIONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Exhausted ballots. new text end

new text begin Once a ballot is exhausted it is disregarded
and no longer counted. A ballot assigning the same ranking to more than one candidate
for an office is exhausted when the duplicate ranking is reached, in which case no vote
is recorded for any of the duplicate candidates so chosen.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Skipped ranking. new text end

new text begin If a ballot choice skips a ranking, the next ranking
below the skipped choice is moved up and counted as though it were the rank of the
skipped choice.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Tie votes. new text end

new text begin Ties must be decided by lot according to section 204C.33.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Maximum effective choices. new text end

new text begin Only three choices for any one office are
counted.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Write-in votes. new text end

new text begin Voters may write in one candidate for each office and
assign a ranking to the write-in candidate along with candidates whose names are already
on the ballot. Write-in candidates with fewer than ten votes are automatically eliminated
in elections in jurisdictions where more than 1,000 total ballots were cast in the previous
election.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Insufficient choice votes made. new text end

new text begin If ballots do not contain sufficient
effective second and lower choices for a particular office, so that at the end of the counting
no candidate achieves a majority, the candidate who has received the most votes is
nominated or elected.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Votes for eliminated candidates. new text end

new text begin No votes may be counted for a candidate
who has been eliminated no matter how many second and lower-ranked choices might
otherwise have become votes for the candidate in a later stage.
new text end

Sec. 7.

new text begin [204C.335] BALLOT SPECIFICATIONS AND DIRECTIONS TO
VOTERS.
new text end

new text begin Sample ballots illustrating voting procedures must be posted in or near the voting
booth and included in the instruction packet of absentee ballots. Directions provided to
voters must conform substantially to the following specifications: "You may vote for
candidates in order of preference. Indicate your first choice by marking the number "1"
beside a candidate's name (or by marking in the column labeled "First Choice"), your
second choice by marking the number "2" (or by marking the column labeled "Second
Choice"), your third choice by marking the number "3" (or by marking in the column
labeled "Third Choice"), for as many or as few choices as you wish, up to three. You are
under no obligation to rank more than one candidate for each office, but ranking additional
candidates will not affect your first-choice candidate. Do not mark the same number
beside more than one candidate (or put more than one mark in each column for the office
you are voting on). Do not skip numbers."
new text end

Sec. 8.

new text begin [204C.336] CHANGES IN VOTING DEVICES AND COUNTING
METHODS.
new text end

new text begin Appropriate election officials of this state may provide for the use of electronic,
computerized, or other devices for marking, sorting, and counting the ballots and
tabulating the results and may modify the design and form of the ballots, the directions to
voters, and the details with respect to the method of marking, sorting, invalidating, and
retaining of ballots, and the counting of votes. No change may be made inconsistent with
provisions, purposes, or principles of this section. Election officials must provide voters
with a ballot that has a special design, format, or layout for offices to which instant runoff
voting applies, but the parts of ballots for contests that have only one or two candidates for
the same office may differ from the parts of a ballot to which instant runoff voting applies.
new text end

Sec. 9.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 204D.10, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Partisan offices; nominees.

The candidate for nomination of a
major political party for a partisan office on the state partisan primary ballot who receives
deleted text begin the highest numberdeleted text endnew text begin a majoritynew text end of votes new text beginor is the last candidate remaining under a system of
instant runoff voting
new text endshall be the nominee of that political party for that office, except as
otherwise provided in subdivision 2.

Sec. 10.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 205A.03, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Required primary in certain circumstances.

In a school district
election, if there are more than two candidates for a specified school board position or
more than twice as many school board candidates as there are at-large school board
positions available, a school district must new text begineither new text endhold a primarynew text begin or hold the general election
using instant runoff voting
new text end.

Sec. 11.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 205A.06, subdivision 1a, is amended to read:


Subd. 1a.

Filing period.

new text beginIn a school district that nominates candidates at a school
district primary,
new text endaffidavits of candidacy must be filed with the school district clerk no
earlier than the 70th day and no later than the 56th day before the first Tuesday after the
second Monday in September in the year when the school district general election is
held.new text begin In a school district that uses instant runoff voting, affidavits of candidacy must
be filed no earlier than the 70th day and no later than the 56th day before the school
district general election.
new text end

Sec. 12.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 206.80, is amended to read:


206.80 ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS.

(a) An electronic voting system may not be employed unless it:

(1) permits every voter to vote in secret;

(2) permits every voter to vote for all candidates and questions for whom or upon
which the voter is legally entitled to vote;

(3)new text begin supports cumulative voting and rank-order voting;
new text end

new text begin (4)new text end provides for write-in voting when authorized;

deleted text begin (4)deleted text endnew text begin (5)new text end automatically rejects, except as provided in section 206.84 with respect to
write-in votes, all votes for an office or question when the number of votes cast on it
exceeds the number which the voter is entitled to cast;

deleted text begin (5)deleted text endnew text begin (6)new text end permits a voter at a primary election to select secretly the party for which
the voter wishes to vote;

deleted text begin (6)deleted text endnew text begin (7)new text end automatically rejects all votes cast in a primary election by a voter when the
voter votes for candidates of more than one party; and

deleted text begin (7)deleted text endnew text begin (8)new text end provides every voter an opportunity to verify votes recorded on the permanent
paper ballot, either visually or using assistive voting technology, and to change votes or
correct any error before the voter's ballot is cast and counted, produces an individual,
discrete, permanent, paper ballot cast by the voter, and preserves the paper ballot as an
official record available for use in any recount.

(b) An electronic voting system purchased on or after June 4, 2005, may not be
employed unless it:

(1) accepts and tabulates, in the polling place or at a counting center, a marked
optical scan ballot; or

(2) creates a marked optical scan ballot that can be tabulated in the polling place or
at a counting center by automatic tabulating equipment certified for use in this state.

Sec. 13. new text beginEFFECTIVE DATE.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Effective date. new text end

new text begin This act is effective July 1, 2007, except that section
4, subdivision 1, and sections 9 to 11 are effective beginning with the first state primary
and general election following the declaration of readiness under subdivision 2.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Declaration of readiness. new text end

new text begin By January 15 of each even-numbered year, the
secretary of state shall report to the legislature on the readiness of the state to implement
instant runoff voting for the offices named in section 4, subdivision 1. Readiness may be
achieved by using paper ballots or by upgrading electronic voting equipment to have
the capacity to process a ranked ballot. When the state has achieved full readiness to
implement instant runoff voting as described in Minnesota Statutes, sections 204C.331
to 204C.336, at the following state primary and general election, the secretary of state
shall declare that fact.
new text end