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HF 334

as introduced - 88th Legislature (2013 - 2014) Posted on 02/04/2013 03:00pm

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

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A bill for an act
relating to elections; providing for early voting; appropriating money;amending
Minnesota Statutes 2012, sections 201.022, subdivision 1; 203B.001; 203B.01,
by adding a subdivision; 203B.03, subdivision 1; 203B.05, subdivision 1;
203B.081; 203B.085; 203B.121, subdivisions 1, 3, 4, 5, by adding a subdivision;
204B.28, subdivision 2; 206.82, subdivision 1; 206.83; proposing coding for new
law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 203B.

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

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 201.022, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Establishment.

The secretary of state shall maintain a statewide
voter registration system to facilitate voter registration and to provide a central database
containing voter registration information from around the state. The system must be
accessible to the county auditor of each county in the state. The system must also:

(1) provide for voters to submit their voter registration applications to any county
auditor, the secretary of state, or the Department of Public Safety;

(2) provide for the definition, establishment, and maintenance of a central database
for all voter registration information;

(3) provide for entering data into the statewide registration system;

(4) provide for electronic transfer of completed voter registration applications from
the Department of Public Safety to the secretary of state or the county auditor;

(5) assign a unique identifier to each legally registered voter in the state;

(6) provide for the acceptance of the Minnesota driver's license number, Minnesota
state identification number, and last four digits of the Social Security number for each
voter record;

(7) coordinate with other agency databases within the state;

(8) allow county auditors and the secretary of state to add or modify information in
the system to provide for accurate and up-to-date records;

(9) allow county auditors, municipal and school district clerks, and the secretary
of state to have electronic access to the statewide registration system for review and
search capabilities;

(10) provide security and protection of all information in the statewide registration
system and ensure that unauthorized access is not allowed;

(11) provide access to municipal clerks to use the system;

(12) provide a system for each county to identify the precinct to which a voter
should be assigned for voting purposes;

(13) provide daily reports accessible by county auditors on the driver's license
numbers, state identification numbers, or last four digits of the Social Security numbers
submitted on voter registration applications that have been verified as accurate by the
secretary of state; and

(14) provide reports on the number of absentee ballots transmitted to and returned
and cast by voters under section 203B.16.; and

(15) provide reports necessary for early voting.

The appropriate state or local official shall provide security measures to prevent
unauthorized access to the computerized list established under section 201.021.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 203B.001, is amended to read:


203B.001 ELECTION LAW APPLICABILITY.

The Minnesota Election Law is applicable to voting by absentee ballot and early
voting
unless otherwise provided in this chapter.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 203B.01, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


Subd. 5.

Early voting.

"Early voting" means voting in person before election day
at the office of the county auditor or designated municipal clerk within the time period
provided in section 203B.31.

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 203B.03, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Violation.

No individual shall intentionally:

(a) (1) make or sign any false certificate required by this chapter;

(b) (2) make any false or untrue statement in any application for absentee ballots;

(c) (3) apply for absentee ballots more than once in any election with the intent
to cast an illegal ballot;

(d) (4) exhibit a ballot marked by that individual to any other individual;

(e) (5) do any act in violation of the provisions of this chapter for the purpose of
casting an illegal vote in any precinct or for the purpose of aiding another to cast an
illegal vote;

(f) (6) use information from absentee ballot or early voting materials or records for
purposes unrelated to elections, political activities, or law enforcement;

(g) (7) provide assistance to an absentee or early voter except in the manner provided
by section 204C.15, subdivision 1;

(h) (8) solicit the vote of an absentee or early voter while in the immediate presence
of the voter during the time the individual knows the absentee or early voter is voting; or

(i) (9) alter an absentee ballot application after it has been signed by the voter,
except by an election official for administrative purposes.

Before inspecting information from absentee ballot or early voting materials or
records, an individual shall provide identification to the public official having custody of
the material or information.

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 203B.05, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Generally.

The full-time clerk of any city or town shall administer
the provisions of sections 203B.04 to 203B.15 if:

(1) the county auditor of that county has designated the clerk to administer them; or

(2) the clerk has given the county auditor of that county notice of intention to
administer them.

A clerk may only administer the provisions of sections 203B.04 to 203B.15 and
203B.30 to 203B.35
if the clerk has technical capacity to access the statewide voter
registration system in the secure manner prescribed by the secretary of state. The secretary
of state must identify hardware, software, security, or other technical prerequisites
necessary to ensure the security, access controls, and performance of the statewide voter
registration system. A clerk must receive training approved by the secretary of state
on the use of the statewide voter registration system before administering this section.
A clerk may not use the statewide voter registration system until the clerk has received
the required training.

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 203B.081, is amended to read:


203B.081 LOCATIONS FOR ABSENTEE VOTING IN PERSON.

An eligible voter may vote by absentee ballot in the office of the county auditor and
at any other polling place designated by the county auditor during the 46 days before:

(1) a regularly scheduled election for federal, state, county, city, or school board
office;

(2) a special election for a federal or county office; and

(3) an election held in conjunction with an election described in clauses (1) and (2),

and during the 30 days before any other election, except that an eligible voter may not vote
by absentee ballot in person during the period designated for early voting, as provided in
section 203B.31
. The county auditor shall make such designations at least 14 weeks before
the election. At least one voting booth in each polling place must be made available by the
county auditor for this purpose. The county auditor must also make available at least one
electronic ballot marker in each polling place that has implemented a voting system that is
accessible for individuals with disabilities pursuant to section 206.57, subdivision 5.

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 203B.085, is amended to read:


203B.085 COUNTY AUDITOR'S AND MUNICIPAL CLERK'S OFFICES TO
REMAIN OPEN DURING CERTAIN HOURS PRECEDING ELECTION.

The county auditor's office in each county and the clerk's office in each city or
town authorized under section 203B.05 to administer absentee balloting must be open
for acceptance of absentee ballot applications and casting of absentee ballots from 8:00
a.m. to 12:00 noon on the day immediately preceding a federal, state, or county election,
unless that day falls on a Sunday. When performing the duties of the county auditor in
stand-alone elections, the clerk's office must be open
from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on
Saturday and until 5:00 p.m. on the day immediately preceding a primary, special, or
general election unless that day falls on a Saturday or Sunday. Town clerks' offices must
be open for absentee voting from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on the Saturday before a town
general election held in March. The school district clerk, when performing the county
auditor's election duties, need not comply with this section.

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 203B.121, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Establishment; applicable laws.

(a) The governing body of each
county, municipality, and school district with responsibility to accept and reject absentee
ballots or to administer early voting must, by ordinance or resolution, establish a ballot
board. The board must consist of a sufficient number of election judges trained in the
handling of absentee ballots and appointed as provided in sections 204B.19 to 204B.22.
The board may include staff trained as election judges.

(b) Each jurisdiction must pay a reasonable compensation to each member of that
jurisdiction's ballot board for services rendered during an election.

(c) Except as otherwise provided by this section, all provisions of the Minnesota
Election Law apply to a ballot board.

Sec. 9.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 203B.121, is amended by adding a
subdivision to read:


Subd. 2a.

Duties of ballot board; early voting.

The members of the ballot board
shall administer the process of early voting as prescribed in section 203B.35, and shall
make a record of voters who cast ballots early and count those ballots as provided in
subdivisions 4 and 5.

Sec. 10.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 203B.121, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Record of voting.

(a) When applicable, the county auditor or municipal
clerk must immediately record that a voter's absentee ballot has been accepted or that the
voter has cast a ballot pursuant to the early voting procedures provided in this chapter. A
voter whose record indicates that the voter has cast an early ballot must not be permitted
to cast another ballot in that election
. After the close of business on the fourth day before
the election
day prior to the beginning of the early voting period as provided in section
203B.31
, a voter whose record indicates that an absentee ballot has been accepted must
not be permitted to cast another ballot at that election. In a state primary, general, or state
special election for federal or, state, or county office, the auditor or clerk must also record
this information in the statewide voter registration system.

(b) The roster must be marked, and a supplemental report of absentee and early
voters who submitted a voter registration application with their ballot must be created, no
later than the start of voting on election day to indicate the voters that have already cast a
ballot at the election. The roster may be marked either:

(1) by the county auditor or municipal clerk before election day;

(2) by the ballot board before election day; or

(3) by the election judges at the polling place on election day.

The record of a voter whose absentee ballot was received after the close of business
on the fourth day before the election is not required to be marked on the roster or contained
in a supplemental report as required by this paragraph.

Sec. 11.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 203B.121, subdivision 4, is amended to read:


Subd. 4.

Opening of envelopes.

After the close of business on the fourth day
before the election
day prior to the beginning of the early voting period as provided in
section 203B.31
, the ballots from return envelopes marked "Accepted" may 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 returned in the manner
provided by section 204C.25 for return of spoiled ballots, and may not be counted.

Sec. 12.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 203B.121, subdivision 5, is amended to read:


Subd. 5.

Storage and counting of absentee and early voting ballots.

(a) On a
day on which absentee or early voting ballots are inserted into a ballot box, two members
of the ballot board must:

(1) remove the ballots from the ballot box at the end of the day;

(2) without inspecting the ballots, ensure that the number of ballots removed from
the ballot box is equal to the number of voters who cast early votes and whose absentee
ballots were accepted that day; and

(3) seal and secure all voted and unvoted ballots present in that location at the end
of the day.

(b) After the polls have closed on election day, two members of the ballot board
must count the ballots, tabulating the vote in a manner that indicates each vote of the voter
and the total votes cast for each candidate or question. In state primary and state general
elections, the results must indicate the total votes cast for each candidate or question in each
precinct and report the vote totals tabulated for each precinct. The count shall be public.
No vote totals from ballots may be made public before the close of voting on election day.

In state primary and state general elections, these vote totals shall be added to the
vote totals on the summary statements of the returns for the appropriate precinct. In other
elections, these vote totals may be added to the vote totals on the summary statement of
returns for the appropriate precinct or may be reported as a separate total.

(c) In addition to the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b), if the task has not been
completed previously, the members of the ballot board must verify as soon as possible, but
no later than 24 hours after the end of the hours for voting, that voters whose absentee
ballots arrived after the rosters were marked or supplemental reports were generated
and whose ballots were accepted did not vote in person on election day. An absentee
ballot submitted by a voter who has voted in person on election day must be rejected. All
other accepted absentee ballots must be opened, duplicated if necessary, and counted by
members of the ballot board. The vote totals from these ballots must be incorporated into
the totals with the other absentee ballots and handled according to paragraph (b).

Sec. 13.

[203B.30] EARLY VOTING.

Any eligible voter may vote in person before election day in the manner provided
in sections 203B.31 to 203B.35.

Sec. 14.

[203B.31] TIME PERIOD FOR EARLY VOTING.

Early voting must be available to any eligible voter as provided in section 203B.32
for every primary, general, and special election for federal, state, or county office from 15
days before the election through 5:00 p.m. on the third day before the election. All voters
in line at 5:00 p.m. on the third day before the election must be allowed to vote.

Sec. 15.

[203B.32] HOURS FOR EARLY VOTING.

Early voting must be available between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on
each weekday during the time period provided in section 203B.31, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00
p.m. on at least one of those days, and from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the two Saturdays
before the election.

Sec. 16.

[203B.33] LOCATIONS FOR EARLY VOTING.

(a) Early voting must be made available at a polling place designated in the county
auditor's office and at the municipal clerk's office in every municipality that has been
delegated the responsibility to administer absentee voting as provided in section 203B.05.
At least one voting station and one ballot marking device for disabled voters must be made
available in each polling place.

(b) The county auditor must make an electronic ballot counter available in each
polling place.

Sec. 17.

[203B.34] NOTICE TO VOTERS.

The county auditor must prepare a notice to the voters of the days, times, and
locations for early voting. This notice must be posted on the county's Web site and the
Web site for each municipality in the county where an early voting location is designated
for the election at least 14 days before the first day for early voting.

Sec. 18.

[203B.35] PROCEDURES FOR EARLY VOTING.

Subdivision 1.

Voting procedure.

Each voter shall sign the certification provided in
section 204C.10. An individual who is not registered to vote must register in the manner
provided in section 201.061, subdivision 3.

After the voter has signed the certification, a member of the ballot board must
provide a ballot to the voter. Ballots must be prepared and distributed by members of the
ballot board in the manner provided in section 204C.09. The voter must mark the ballot
and deposit it in either a precinct voting system or a sealed ballot box. A voter may
not leave the polling place with the ballot.

Subd. 2.

Processing of ballots.

Ballots cast pursuant to sections 203B.30 to
203B.35 must be processed and counted by a ballot board.

Sec. 19.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 204B.28, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Election supplies; duties of county auditors and clerks.

(a) Except as
otherwise provided for absentee ballots in this section and in section 204B.35, subdivision
4
, the county auditor shall complete the preparation of the election materials for which
the auditor is responsible at least four days before every state primary and state general
election. At any time after all election materials are available from the county auditor
but not later than four days before the election each municipal clerk shall secure from
the county auditor:

(a) (1) the forms that are required for the conduct of the election;

(b) (2) any printed voter instruction materials furnished by the secretary of state;

(c) (3) any other instructions for election officers; and

(d) (4) a sufficient quantity of the official ballots, registration files, envelopes for
ballot returns, and other supplies and materials required for each precinct in order to
comply with the provisions of the Minnesota Election Law. The county auditor may
furnish the election supplies to the municipal clerks in the same manner as the supplies are
furnished to precincts in unorganized territory pursuant to section 204B.29, subdivision 1.

(b) Election materials for early voting must be prepared and made available to city
clerks designed to administer early voting under section 203B.05 at least one day prior to
the beginning of the early voting period as provided in section 203B.31.

Sec. 20.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 206.82, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Program.

A program or programs for use in an election conducted
by means of an electronic voting system or using an electronic ballot marker shall be
prepared at the direction of the county auditor or municipal clerk who is responsible for
the conduct of the election and shall be independently verified by a competent person
designated by that official. The term "competent person" as used in this section means a
person who can demonstrate knowledge as a computer programmer and who is other than
and wholly independent of any person operating or employed by the counting center or the
corporation or other preparer of the program. A test deck prepared by a competent person
shall be used for independent verification of the program; it shall test the maximum digits
used in totaling the returns and shall be usable by insertion during the tabulation process
as well as prior to tabulation. A test deck must also be prepared using the electronic ballot
marker program and must also be used to verify that all valid votes counted by the vote
tabulator may be selected using the electronic ballot marker. The computer program for
any election and an exact duplicate of the program for use as backup must be completed
and delivered to the election jurisdiction or the county auditor in charge of a common
central counting center at least 27 days prior to the election.
The secretary of state shall
adopt rules further specifying test procedures.

Sec. 21.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 206.83, is amended to read:


206.83 TESTING OF VOTING SYSTEMS.

Within 14 22 days before election day, the official in charge of elections shall have
the voting system tested to ascertain that the system will correctly mark ballots using all
methods supported by the system, including through assistive technology, and count the
votes cast for all candidates and on all questions. Public notice of the time and place of the
test must be given at least two days in advance by publication once in official newspapers.
The test must be observed by at least two election judges, who are not of the same major
political party, and must be open to representatives of the political parties, candidates, the
press, and the public. The test must be conducted by (1) processing a preaudited group
of ballots punched or marked to record a predetermined number of valid votes for each
candidate and on each question, and must include for each office one or more ballot cards
which have votes in excess of the number allowed by law in order to test the ability of
the voting system tabulator and electronic ballot marker to reject those votes; and (2)
processing an additional test deck of ballots marked using the electronic ballot marker
for the precinct, including ballots marked using the electronic ballot display, audio ballot
reader, and any assistive voting technology used with the electronic ballot marker. If any
error is detected, the cause must be ascertained and corrected and an errorless count must
be made before the voting system may be used in the election. After the completion of
the test, the programs used and ballot cards must be sealed, retained, and disposed of as
provided for paper ballots.

Sec. 22. EFFECTIVE DATE; APPLICABILITY.

The provisions of this act related to early voting are effective when the secretary
of state has certified that:

(1) the statewide voter registration system has been tested and shown to properly
allow for the tracking of the information required to conduct early voting, and can handle
the expected volume of use; and

(2) precinct voting equipment that can tabulate at least 30 different ballot styles
has been certified for use in this state. Upon certification pursuant to this section, the
provisions of this act related to early voting apply to all federal, state, and county elections
held on August 1, 2014, and thereafter. A jurisdiction may implement the requirements
of this act prior to the date provided in this section, if the secretary of state has made the
required certifications at least 90 days prior to the date of the election at which early
voting will be used.

Sec. 23. APPROPRIATION.

$....... is appropriated in fiscal year 2014 from the general fund to the secretary of
state to implement this act.

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