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HF 365

as introduced - 92nd Legislature (2021 - 2022) Posted on 04/07/2022 01:00pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to elections; modifying certain requirements related to investigations of
suspicious activity in a voter registration application or absentee ballot application;
specifying certain persons who are permitted to mail or deliver an absentee ballot
on behalf of a voter; establishing a criminal penalty; establishing a voting fraud
penalty assessment; amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, sections 201.275; 203B.03,
subdivision 1; 203B.08, subdivision 1; 211B.32, subdivision 1; proposing coding
for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 609.

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

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 201.275, is amended to read:


201.275 INVESTIGATIONS; PROSECUTIONS.

(a) A deleted text beginlaw enforcement agency that isdeleted text endnew text begin county attorney shall promptly investigate upon
being
new text end notified by affidavit of an alleged violation of this chapter deleted text beginshall promptly investigate.
Upon receiving an affidavit alleging a violation of this chapter, a county attorney shall
promptly forward it to a law enforcement agency with jurisdiction for investigation. If there
is probable cause for instituting a prosecution, the county attorney shall proceed according
to the generally applicable standards regarding the prosecutorial functions and duties of a
county attorney, provided that the county attorney is not required to proceed with the
prosecution if the complainant withdraws the allegation.
deleted text endnew text begin, or upon receipt of evidence of
suspicious activity in a voter registration application submitted under section 201.061,
subdivision 1, or an absentee ballot application submitted under section 203B.04, subdivision
1, or 203B.17, subdivision 2. If there is probable cause for instituting a prosecution, the
county attorney shall proceed by complaint or present the charge, with whatever evidence
has been found, to a grand jury.
new text end A county attorney who refuses or intentionally fails to
faithfully perform this or any other duty imposed by this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor
and upon conviction shall forfeit office.new text begin The county attorney, under the penalty of forfeiture
of office, shall prosecute all violations of this chapter and chapter 203B where probable
cause exists, except violations of this section. If a complainant withdraws an allegation
under this chapter, the county attorney is not required to proceed with the prosecution.
new text end

(b) Willful violation of this chapter by any public employee constitutes just cause for
suspension without pay or dismissal of the public employee.

(c) Where the matter relates to a voter registration application submitted electronically
through the secure website established in section 201.061, subdivision 1, alleged violations
of this chapter may be investigated and prosecuted in the county in which the individual
registered or attempted to register.

new text begin (d) A county attorney that receives an affidavit or an application that shows evidence
of suspicious activity under this section must, within one year of receiving the affidavit or
evidence, submit a report to the secretary of state and to the chairs and ranking minority
members of the committees of the legislature with jurisdiction over elections policy detailing
the investigation and its findings, including whether the investigation resulted in a
prosecution. This paragraph does not require the submission of data that is not public due
to its use in an active criminal investigation.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE; APPLICABILITY. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following
final enactment and applies to affidavits or applications submitted on or after that date.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 203B.03, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Violation.

(a) No individual shall intentionally:

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

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

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

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

(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;

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

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

(8) solicit the vote of an absentee voter while in the immediate presence of the voter
during the time the individual knows the absentee voter is voting; deleted text beginor
deleted text end

(9) alter an absentee ballot application after it has been signed by the voter, except by
an election official for administrative purposesdeleted text begin.deleted text endnew text begin; or
new text end

new text begin (10) engage in any activity prohibited by section 211B.13 for the purpose of inducing
a person to apply for, complete, or cast an absentee ballot.
new text end

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

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 203B.08, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Marking and return by voternew text begin; penaltynew text end.

new text begin(a) new text endAn eligible voter who
receives absentee ballots as provided in this chapter shall mark them in the manner specified
in the directions for casting the absentee ballots. The return envelope containing marked
ballots may be mailed as provided in the directions for casting the absentee ballots or may
be left with the county auditor or municipal clerk who transmitted the absentee ballots to
the voter. If delivered in person, the return envelope must be submitted to the county auditor
or municipal clerk by 3:00 p.m. on election day.

deleted text begin The voter may designate an agent to deliver in person the sealed absentee ballot return
envelope to the county auditor or municipal clerk or to deposit the return envelope in the
mail. An agent may deliver or mail the return envelopes of not more than three voters in
any election. Any person designated as an agent who tampers with either the return envelope
or the voted ballots or does not immediately mail or deliver the return envelope to the county
auditor or municipal clerk is guilty of a misdemeanor.
deleted text end

new text begin (b) Except as provided in this paragraph, absentee ballots may only be mailed or delivered
by the voter who received them. At the request of the voter, one of the following persons
may mail or deliver an absentee ballot on behalf of the voter, provided that the person is at
least 18 years of age:
new text end

new text begin (1) the voter's spouse; parent or stepparent; sibling or stepsibling; child or stepchild;
grandparent or stepgrandparent, or grandchild or stepgrandchild;
new text end

new text begin (2) the voter's legal guardian;
new text end

new text begin (3) another member of the voter's household; or
new text end

new text begin (4) an agent as authorized by section 203B.11.
new text end

new text begin (c) A person who mails or delivers an absentee ballot on behalf of a voter who is not
authorized to do so under this subdivision or section 203B.11 is guilty of a felony. A person
authorized to mail or deliver a voter's absentee ballot who subsequently tampers with either
the return envelope or voted ballot is guilty of a felony. A person authorized to mail or
deliver a voter's absentee ballot who does not immediately mail or deliver the ballot is guilty
of a misdemeanor.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 211B.32, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Administrative remedy; exhaustion.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph
(b)new text begin or (c)new text end, a complaint alleging a violation of chapter 211A or 211B must be filed with the
office. The complaint must be finally disposed of by the office before the alleged violation
may be prosecuted by a county attorney.

(b) Complaints arising under those sections and related to those individuals and
associations specified in section 10A.022, subdivision 3, must be filed with the Campaign
Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

new text begin (c) Complaints alleging a violation of section 211B.13 need not be filed with the office
and may be prosecuted by a county attorney as provided in section 211B.16, consistent with
the standards provided in section 201.275.
new text end

Sec. 5.

new text begin [609.476] VOTING FRAUD PENALTY ASSESSMENT.
new text end

new text begin (a) When a court sentences an adult convicted of violating section 201.014; 201.054,
subdivision 2; 201.061, subdivision 5; 203B.03; 203B.08; 204C.12; 204C.14; 204C.41; or
211B.13, the court shall impose an assessment of $1,000. The assessment is in addition to
any fine imposed by the court and the surcharge required by section 357.021, subdivision
6.
new text end

new text begin (b) The court may not waive payment of the assessment required by this section. If the
defendant qualifies for the services of a public defender or the court finds on the record that
the convicted person is indigent or that immediate payment of the assessment would create
undue hardship for the convicted person or that person's immediate family, the court may
reduce the amount of the minimum assessment to not less than $100. The court may also
authorize payment of the assessment in installments.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end