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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 983

as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 05/17/2019 06:37pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to elections; authorizing jurisdictions to adopt ranked-choice voting;
establishing procedures for adoption, implementation, and use of ranked-choice
voting; allowing municipalities to use electronic voting systems with a reallocation
feature; authorizing rulemaking; amending Minnesota Statutes 2018, sections
205.13, subdivision 2; 206.58, subdivision 1; 206.83; 206.89, subdivisions 2, 3;
proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 206; proposing coding
for new law as Minnesota Statutes, chapter 204E.

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

Section 1.

new text begin [204E.01] APPLICABILITY.
new text end

new text begin This chapter applies to all elections expressly authorized by law to use ranked-choice
voting. All other provisions of the Minnesota Election Law also apply, to the extent they
are not inconsistent with this chapter.
new text end

Sec. 2.

new text begin [204E.02] DEFINITIONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Scope. new text end

new text begin The definitions in this section apply to this chapter.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Batch elimination. new text end

new text begin "Batch elimination" means a simultaneous defeat of multiple
continuing candidates that have no mathematical chance of being elected.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Chief election official. new text end

new text begin "Chief election official" means the principal officer in
the jurisdiction charged with duties relating to elections.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Duplicate ranking. new text end

new text begin "Duplicate ranking" means a voter has ranked the same
candidate at multiple rankings for the office being counted.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Exhausted ballot. new text end

new text begin "Exhausted ballot" means a ballot that can no longer be
advanced under the procedures in section 204E.06.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Highest continuing ranking. new text end

new text begin "Highest continuing ranking" means the ranking
on a voter's ballot with the lowest numerical value for a continuing candidate.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Mathematically impossible to be elected. new text end

new text begin "Mathematically impossible to be
elected" means either:
new text end

new text begin (1) the candidate cannot be elected because the candidate's current vote total plus all
votes that could possibly be transferred to the candidate in future rounds from candidates
with fewer votes or an equal number of votes and surplus votes would not be enough to
surpass the candidate with the next higher current vote total; or
new text end

new text begin (2) the candidate has a lower current vote total than a candidate who is described by
clause (1).
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Overvote. new text end

new text begin "Overvote" means a voter has ranked more than one candidate at
the same ranking.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 9. new text end

new text begin Partially defective ballot. new text end

new text begin "Partially defective ballot" means a ballot that is
defective to the extent that the election judges are unable to determine the voter's intent with
respect to the office being counted.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 10. new text end

new text begin Ranked-choice voting. new text end

new text begin "Ranked-choice voting" means an election method
in which voters rank candidates for an office in order of their preference, with each vote
counting for the highest-ranked continuing candidate on each ballot until that candidate has
been elected or defeated by the method established in this chapter.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 11. new text end

new text begin Ranked-choice voting tabulation center. new text end

new text begin "Ranked-choice voting tabulation
center" means the place selected for the automatic or manual processing and tabulation of
ballots.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 12. new text end

new text begin Ranking. new text end

new text begin "Ranking" means the number assigned by a voter to a candidate to
express the voter's preference for that candidate. Ranking number one is the highest ranking.
A ranking of lower numerical value indicates a greater preference for a candidate than a
ranking of higher numerical value.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 13. new text end

new text begin Round. new text end

new text begin "Round" means an instance of the sequence of voting tabulation steps
established in section 204E.06.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 14. new text end

new text begin Skipped ranking. new text end

new text begin "Skipped ranking" means a voter has left a ranking blank
and ranks a candidate at a subsequent ranking.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 15. new text end

new text begin Surplus. new text end

new text begin "Surplus" means the total number of votes cast for an elected
candidate in excess of the threshold.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 16. new text end

new text begin Surplus fraction of a vote. new text end

new text begin "Surplus fraction of a vote" means the proportion
of each vote to be transferred when a surplus is transferred. The surplus fraction is calculated
by dividing the surplus by the total votes cast for the elected candidate, calculated to four
decimal places, ignoring any remainder.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 17. new text end

new text begin Threshold. new text end

new text begin "Threshold" means the number of votes sufficient for a candidate
to be elected. In any given election, the threshold equals the total votes counted in the first
round after removing defective ballots, divided by the sum of one plus the number of offices
to be filled and adding one to the quotient, disregarding any fractions.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 18. new text end

new text begin Transfer value. new text end

new text begin "Transfer value" means the fraction of a vote that a transferred
ballot will contribute to the next ranked continuing candidate on that ballot. The transfer
value of a vote cast for an elected candidate is calculated by multiplying the surplus fraction
of each vote by its current value, calculated to four decimal places, ignoring any remainder.
The transfer value of a vote cast for a defeated candidate is the same as its current value.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 19. new text end

new text begin Transferable vote. new text end

new text begin "Transferable vote" means a vote or a fraction of a vote
for a candidate who has been either elected or defeated.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 20. new text end

new text begin Totally defective ballot. new text end

new text begin "Totally defective ballot" means a ballot that is
defective to the extent that election judges are unable to determine the voter's intent for any
office on the ballot.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 21. new text end

new text begin Undervote. new text end

new text begin "Undervote" means a voter did not rank any candidates for an
office.
new text end

Sec. 3.

new text begin [204E.03] AUTHORIZATION TO ADOPT RANKED-CHOICE VOTING;
IMPLEMENTATION.
new text end

new text begin (a) The following political subdivisions may adopt, in the manner provided in this section,
ranked-choice voting as a method of voting for local offices within the political subdivision:
new text end

new text begin (1) home rule charter or statutory cities;
new text end

new text begin (2) counties;
new text end

new text begin (3) townships; and
new text end

new text begin (4) school districts.
new text end

new text begin (b) A jurisdiction that adopts ranked-choice voting may do so by adopting an ordinance
or resolution or by a ballot question presented to the voters. The ranked-choice voting
method may be repealed by one of the same methods provided for adoption.
new text end

new text begin (c) A home rule charter jurisdiction that adopts a ranked-choice voting system in its
charter may adopt this chapter by reference in an ordinance, but is not required to do so.
Nothing in this chapter prevents a home rule charter jurisdiction from adopting another
voting method in its charter.
new text end

new text begin (d) Ranked-choice voting shall only be used to elect local offices at a general or special
election, or at a primary election which serves as a party-nominating election for a partisan
office. A primary election must not be held for any nonpartisan offices that are elected using
ranked-choice voting.
new text end

new text begin (e) A jurisdiction that adopts the use of ranked-choice voting in local elections must do
so no later than 30 days before the first day for filing affidavits of candidacy for the office
for which ranked-choice voting is to be used as the method of election.
new text end

new text begin (f) Repeal of ranked-choice voting must be no later than 30 days before the first day for
filing affidavits of candidacy for offices for which ranked-choice voting is used as the
method of election.
new text end

new text begin (g) The chief election official shall notify the secretary of state and, if applicable, the
county auditor within 30 days following adoption or repeal of ranked-choice voting.
new text end

Sec. 4.

new text begin [204E.04] BALLOTS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Ballot format. new text end

new text begin (a) If there are three or more qualified candidates, a ballot
must allow a voter to rank at least three candidates for each office in order of preference
and must also allow the voter to add write-in candidates.
new text end

new text begin (b) A ballot must:
new text end

new text begin (1) include instructions to voters that clearly indicate how to mark the ballot;
new text end

new text begin (2) include instructions to voters that clearly indicate how to rank candidates in order
of the voter's preference; and
new text end

new text begin (3) indicate the number of seats to be elected for each office.
new text end

new text begin (c) A jurisdiction may use ballots compatible with alphanumeric character recognition
voting equipment.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Mixed-election method ballots. new text end

new text begin If elections are held in which ranked-choice
voting is used in addition to other methods of voting, the ranked-choice voting and
non-ranked-choice voting elections must be on the same ballot card if possible, with
ranked-choice voting and non-ranked-choice voting portions clearly separated on the ballot
card. A separate ballot card may be used if necessary. A jurisdiction may deviate from the
standard ballot order of offices to allow separation of ranked-choice voting and
non-ranked-choice voting elections.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Ballot format rules. new text end

new text begin The chief election official shall establish administrative
rules for ballot format after a voting mechanism has been selected, consistent with this
section.
new text end

Sec. 5.

new text begin [204E.05] RANKED-CHOICE VOTING TABULATION CENTER.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Tabulation of votes; generally. new text end

new text begin The chief election official shall designate
one location to serve as the ranked-choice voting tabulation center. The center must be
accessible to the public for the purpose of observing the vote tabulation. Tabulation of votes
must be conducted as described in section 204E.06.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Precinct tabulation. new text end

new text begin When the hours for voting have ended and all voting has
concluded, the election judges in each precinct shall record and publicly declare the number
of first choices cast for each candidate in that precinct. The election judges must then securely
transfer all electronic voting data and ballots from the precinct to the ranked-choice voting
tabulation center designated under this section. Upon receipt at the ranked-choice voting
tabulation center, all electronic voting data and ballots shall be secured.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Notice of recess in count. new text end

new text begin At any time following receipt of materials under
subdivision 1, the chief election official may declare a recess. Notice of the recess must
include the date, time, and location at which the process of recording and tabulating votes
will resume and the reason for the recess. Notice must be posted on the city's official bulletin
board and on the door of the ranked-choice voting tabulation center.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Recording write-in votes. new text end

new text begin At a time set by the chief election official, the
election judges shall convene at the ranked-choice voting tabulation center to examine
ballots on which voters have indicated a write-in choice, and record the names and number
of votes received by each write-in candidate. In the event that votes cast for the write-in
category are not eliminated as provided in section 204E.06, the results must be entered into
the ranked-choice voting tabulation software.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Ranked-choice vote tabulation. new text end

new text begin After all votes have been recorded, and at a
time set by the chief election official, the process of tabulating votes cast for offices to be
elected using the ranked-choice method must begin. The counting must continue until
preliminary results for all races are determined, subject to subdivision 3.
new text end

Sec. 6.

new text begin [204E.06] TABULATION OF VOTES.
new text end

new text begin (a) Tabulation of votes at the ranked-choice voting tabulation center must proceed in
rounds for each office to be counted. The threshold must be calculated and publicly declared.
Each round must proceed sequentially as follows:
new text end

new text begin (1) the number of votes cast for each candidate for the current round must be counted.
If the number of candidates whose vote totals equal or exceed the threshold are equal to the
number of seats to be filled, those candidates who are continuing candidates are elected and
the tabulation is complete. If the number of candidates whose vote totals are equal to or
greater than the threshold is not equal to the number of seats to be filled, a new round begins
and the tabulation must continue as provided in the remainder of this paragraph;
new text end

new text begin (2) surplus votes for any candidates whose vote totals are equal to or greater than the
threshold must be calculated;
new text end

new text begin (3) after any surplus votes are calculated but not yet transferred, all candidates for whom
it is mathematically impossible to be elected must be defeated by batch elimination. Votes
for the defeated candidates must be transferred to each ballot's next-ranked continuing
candidate, and the tabulation process reiterates beginning with clause (2). If no candidate
can be defeated mathematically, the tabulation must continue as described in clause (4);
new text end

new text begin (4) the transfer value of each vote cast for an elected candidate must be transferred to
the next continuing candidate on that ballot. Of the candidates whose vote totals reach or
exceed the threshold, the candidate with the largest surplus is declared elected and that
candidate's surplus is transferred. A tie between two or more candidates must immediately
and publicly be resolved by lot by the chief election official at the tabulation center. The
surplus of the candidate chosen by lot must be transferred before other transfers are made.
The result of the tie resolution must be recorded and reused in the event of a recount. If no
candidate has a surplus, the tabulation must continue as described in clause (5); otherwise,
the tabulation process must reiterate beginning with clause (2);
new text end

new text begin (5) if there are no transferable surplus votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is
defeated. Votes for the defeated candidate must be transferred to each ballot's next-ranked
continuing candidate. Ties between candidates with the fewest votes must be decided by
lot, and the candidate chosen by lot must be defeated. The result of the tie resolution must
be recorded and reused in the event of a recount. The tabulation process must reiterate
beginning with clause (2); and
new text end

new text begin (6) the procedures in clauses (2) to (5) must be repeated until the number of candidates
whose vote totals are equal to or exceed the threshold is equal to the number of seats to be
filled, or until the number of continuing candidates is equal to the number of offices yet to
be elected. If the number of continuing candidates is equal to the number of offices yet to
be elected, the remaining continuing candidates must be declared elected. In the case of a
tie between two continuing candidates, the tie must be decided by lot as provided in section
204C.34, and the candidate chosen by lot must be defeated. The result of the tie resolution
must be recorded and reused in the event of a recount.
new text end

new text begin (b) When a single skipped ranking is encountered on a ballot, that ballot must count
toward the next nonskipped ranking. If any ballot cannot be advanced because no further
candidates are ranked on that ballot, because a voter has skipped more than one ranking, or
because an undervote, overvote, or duplicate ranking is encountered, the ballot must not
count toward any candidate in that round or in subsequent rounds for the office being
counted.
new text end

Sec. 7.

new text begin [204E.07] REPORTING RESULTS.
new text end

new text begin (a) Each precinct must print a precinct summary statement, which must include the
number of first choices cast for each candidate in that precinct.
new text end

new text begin (b) The ranked-choice voting tabulation center must print a summary statement with the
following information: total votes cast; number of undervotes; number of totally defective
and spoiled ballots; threshold calculation; total first choice rankings for all candidates;
round-by-round tabulation results, including simultaneous batch eliminations, surplus
transfers, and defeated candidate transfers; and exhausted ballots at each round.
new text end

new text begin (c) The election abstract must include the information required in the ranked-choice
voting tabulation center summary statement, with the addition of the number of registered
voters by precinct, the number of same-day voter registrations, and the number of absentee
voters.
new text end

Sec. 8.

new text begin [204E.08] RECOUNTS.
new text end

new text begin (a) A candidate defeated in the final round of tabulation may request a recount as provided
in section 204C.36.
new text end

new text begin (b) A candidate defeated in the final round of tabulation when the vote difference is
greater than that provided in section 204C.36 may request a recount at the candidate's own
expense. A candidate defeated in an earlier round of tabulation may request a recount at the
candidate's own expense. The candidate is responsible for all expenses associated with the
recount, regardless of the vote difference between the candidates in the round in which the
requesting candidate was defeated. The requesting candidate shall file with the filing officer
a bond, cash, or surety in an amount set by the filing officer for the payment of the recount
expenses. Expenses must be determined as provided in section 204C.36, subdivision 4.
new text end

new text begin (c) Rules adopted by the secretary of state under section 204C.36 for recounts apply to
recounts conducted under this section.
new text end

Sec. 9.

new text begin [204E.09] RULES.
new text end

new text begin The secretary of state may adopt rules necessary to implement the requirements and
procedures established by this chapter.
new text end

Sec. 10.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 205.13, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Notice of filing dates.

At least two weeks before the first day to file affidavits
of candidacy, the municipal clerk shall publish a notice stating the first and last dates on
which affidavits of candidacy may be filed in the clerk's office and the closing time for
filing on the last day for filing. The clerk shall post a similar notice at least ten days before
the first day to file affidavits of candidacy. new text beginThe notice must indicate the method of election
to be used for the offices on the ballot.
new text endThe notice must separately list any office for which
affidavits of candidacy may be filed to fill the unexpired portion of a term when a special
election is being held to fill a vacancy as provided in section 412.02, subdivision 2a.

Sec. 11.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 206.58, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Municipalities.

new text begin(a) new text endThe governing body of a municipality, at a regular
meeting or at a special meeting called for the purpose, may provide for the use of an
electronic voting system in one or more precincts and at all elections in the precincts, subject
to approval by the county auditor. The governing body shall disseminate information to the
public about the use of a new voting system at least 60 days prior to the election and shall
provide for instruction of voters with a demonstration voting system in a public place for
the six weeks immediately prior to the first election at which the new voting system will be
used.

new text begin (b) new text endNo system may be adopted or used unless it has been approved by the secretary of
state pursuant to section 206.57.

new text begin (c) The governing body of a municipality may provide for the use of an electronic voting
system that has been approved by the secretary of state under section 206.57 but includes
an automatic tabulating equipment reallocation feature that has not been approved by the
secretary of state if the municipal clerk certifies to the secretary of state, within 30 days
from the date of adoption under paragraph (a), that the reallocation feature:
new text end

new text begin (1) has been certified as required under section 206.57, subdivision 6; and
new text end

new text begin (2) meets the municipality's ordinance requirements for electronic voting systems.
new text end

Sec. 12.

new text begin [206.802] ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS; PURCHASING.
new text end

new text begin Any new voting equipment purchased for use in Minnesota for the purpose of replacing
a voting system must have the ability to:
new text end

new text begin (1) capture and store ballot data;
new text end

new text begin (2) keep data anonymous;
new text end

new text begin (3) accept ranked or cumulative voting data under a variety of tabulation rules;
new text end

new text begin (4) be programmable to follow all other specifications of the ranked-choice voting system
as provided in chapter 204E;
new text end

new text begin (5) provide a minimum of three rankings for ranked-choice voting elections;
new text end

new text begin (6) notify voters of the following errors: overvotes, skipped rankings, and duplicate
rankings in a ranked-choice voting election; and
new text end

new text begin (7) be programmable to print a zero tape indicating all rankings for all candidates in a
ranked-choice voting election.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective upon certification by the secretary of
state that equipment meeting the standards required by this section is available for purchase
and implementation.
new text end

Sec. 13.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 206.83, is amended to read:


206.83 TESTING OF VOTING SYSTEMS.

new text begin (a) new text endWithin 14 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 new text beginranked-choice voting if applicable, and new text endthrough 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. new text beginIf an
election is to be conducted using ranked-choice voting, the equipment must also be tested
to ensure that each ranking for each candidate is recorded properly.
new text end

new text begin (b) new text endIf 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.

new text begin (c) new text endAfter the completion of the test, the programs used and ballot cards must be sealed,
retained, and disposed of as provided for paper ballots.

Sec. 14.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 206.89, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Selection for review; notice.

At the canvass of the state primary, the county
canvassing board in each county must set the date, time, and place for the postelection
review of the state general election to be held under this section.new text begin In jurisdictions where
ranked-choice voting is used, the date, time, and place for postelection review must be set
by the county auditor at least 30 days before the election.
new text end The postelection review must not
begin before the 11th day after the state general election and must be complete no later than
the 18th day after the state general election.

At the canvass of the state general election, the county canvassing boards must select
the precincts to be reviewed by lot. The ballots to be reviewed for a precinct include both
the ballots counted at the polling place for that precinct and the absentee ballots counted
centrally by a ballot board for that precinct. The county canvassing board of a county with
fewer than 50,000 registered voters must conduct a postelection review of a total of at least
two precincts. The county canvassing board of a county with between 50,000 and 100,000
registered voters must conduct a review of a total of at least three precincts. The county
canvassing board of a county with over 100,000 registered voters must conduct a review
of a total of at least four precincts, or three percent of the total number of precincts in the
county, whichever is greater. At least one precinct selected in each county must have had
more than 150 votes cast at the general election.

The county auditor must notify the secretary of state of the precincts that have been
chosen for review and the time and place the postelection review for that county will be
conducted, as soon as the decisions are made. If the selection of precincts has not resulted
in the selection of at least four precincts in each congressional district, the secretary of state
may require counties to select by lot additional precincts to meet the congressional district
requirement. The secretary of state must post this information on the office website.

Sec. 15.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 206.89, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Scope and conduct of review.

The county canvassing board shall appoint the
postelection review official as defined in subdivision 1. The postelection review must be
conducted of the votes cast for president or governor; United States senator; and United
States representative. new text beginIn jurisdictions where ranked-choice voting is used, the review must
also include at least one single-seat ranked-choice voting election and at least one
multiple-seat ranked-choice voting election, if such an election occurred. A postelection
review of a ranked-choice voting election must be conducted for elections decided most
closely in the final round, by percentage.
new text endThe postelection review official may conduct
postelection review of the votes cast for additional offices.

The postelection review must be conducted in public at the location where the voted
ballots have been securely stored after the state general election or at another location chosen
by the county canvassing board. The postelection review official for each precinct selected
must conduct the postelection review and may be assisted by election judges designated by
the postelection review official for this purpose. The party balance requirement of section
204B.19 applies to election judges designated for the review. The postelection review must
consist of a manual count of the ballots used in the precincts selected and must be performed
in the manner provided by section 204C.21. The postelection review must be conducted in
the manner provided for recounts under section 204C.361 to the extent practicablenew text begin, and
where ranked-choice voting is used, must include testing of the accumulation software using
stored electronic data for those precincts that are not reviewed by manual count
new text end. The review
must be completed no later than two days before the meeting of the state canvassing board
to certify the results of the state general election.