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SF 1218

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

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to elections; changing certain procedures and requirements for absent
voters; providing for certain emergency situations; requiring a study; authorizing
rulemaking; amending Minnesota Statutes 2006, sections 203B.16, subdivision
2; 203B.17, subdivision 2; 203B.21, subdivisions 2, 3; 203B.22; 203B.24,
subdivision 1; 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 2006, section 203B.16, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Permanent residence outside United States.

Sections 203B.16 to
203B.27 provide the exclusive voting procedure for United States citizens who are
living permanently outside the territorial limits of the United States who meet all the
qualifications of an eligible voter except residence in Minnesota, but who are authorized
by federal law to vote in Minnesota because they maintained residence in Minnesota for
at least 20 days immediately prior to their departure from the United Statesnew text begin or because,
although they have never resided in the United States, they have a parent who is eligible to
vote in Minnesota
new text end. Individuals described in this subdivision shall be permitted to vote
only for the offices of president, vice-president, senator in Congress, and representative in
Congress.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 203B.17, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Required information.

An application shall be accepted if it contains the
following information stated under oath:

(a) the voter's name, birthdate, and present address of residence in Minnesota, or
former address of residence in Minnesota if the voter is living permanently outside the
United States;

(b) a statement indicating that the voter is in the military, or is the spouse or
dependent of an individual serving in the military, or is temporarily outside the territorial
limits of the United States, or is living permanently outside the territorial limits of the
United States and voting under federal law;

(c) a statement that the voter expects to be absent from the precinct at the time
of the election;

(d) the address to which absentee ballots are to be mailed;

(e) the voter's signature or the signature and relationship of the individual authorized
to apply on the voter's behalf; and

(f) the voter's military identification card number, passport number, or new text beginMinnesota
driver's license or state identification card number
new text end, if the voter deleted text begindoes not have a valid
passport or identification card, the signed statement of an individual authorized to
administer oaths or a commissioned or noncommissioned officer of the military not
below the rank of sergeant or its equivalent, certifying that the voter or other individual
requesting absentee ballots has attested to the truthfulness of the contents of the application
under oath.
deleted text end

deleted text begin The oath taken must be the standard oath prescribed by section 101(b)(7) of the
Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.
deleted text end

deleted text begin A form for providing this information shall be prepared by each county auditor
and shall be furnished to individuals who request it pursuant to this section.
deleted text end new text begin has one
of these documents.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 203B.21, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Mailing of ballots; return.

Ballots and instructions for marking them,
ballot envelopes, and return envelopes shall be sent by first class mail to addresses within
the continental United States and by air mail to addresses outside the continental United
Statesnew text begin, unless the voter requests to have the ballot, instructions, and certificate of voter
eligibility sent electronically, as provided for by section 203B.225
new text end. The ballot envelope
and return envelope shall be marked "Official Ballot," and shall contain sufficient postage
to assure proper return delivery. The return envelope shall be addressed to comply with any
method for return of absentee ballots as authorized under section 203B.08, subdivision 2.

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 203B.21, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Back of return envelope.

On the back of the return envelope an affidavit
form shall appear with space for:

(a) the voter's address of present or former residence in Minnesota;

(b) a statement indicating the category described in section 203B.16 to which the
voter belongs;

(c) a statement that the voter has not cast and will not cast another absentee ballot
in the same election or elections;

(d) a statement that the voter personally marked the ballots without showing them to
anyone, or if physically unable to mark them, that the voter directed another individual
to mark them; and

(e) the new text beginsame new text endvoter's military identification card number, passport number, ornew text begin
Minnesota driver's license or state identification card number as provided on the absentee
ballot application
new text end, if the voter deleted text begindoes not have a valid passport or identification card,
the signature and certification of an individual authorized to administer oaths under
federal law or the law of the place where the oath was administered or commissioned
or noncommissioned personnel of the military not below the rank of sergeant or its
equivalent
deleted text endnew text begin has one of these documentsnew text end.

The affidavit shall also contain a signed and dated oath in the form required by
section 705 of the Help America Vote Act, Public Law 107-252, which must read:

"I swear or affirm, under penalty of perjury, that:

I am a member of the uniformed services or merchant marine on active duty or
an eligible spouse or dependent of such a member; a United States citizen temporarily
residing outside the United States; or other United States citizen residing outside the
United States; and I am a United States citizen, at least 18 years of age (or will be by the
date of the election), and I am eligible to vote in the requested jurisdiction; I have not
been convicted of a felony, or other disqualifying offense, or been adjudicated mentally
incompetent, or, if so, my voting rights have been reinstated; and I am not registering,
requesting a ballot, or voting in any other jurisdiction in the United States except the
jurisdiction cited in this voting form. In voting, I have marked and sealed my ballot in
private and have not allowed any person to observe the marking of the ballot, except for
those authorized to assist voters under state or federal law. I have not been influenced.

My signature and date below indicate when I completed this document.

The information on this form is true, accurate, and complete to the best of my
knowledge. I understand that a material misstatement of fact in completion of this
document may constitute grounds for a conviction for perjury."

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 203B.22, is amended to read:


203B.22 MAILING BALLOTS.

The county auditor shall mail the appropriate ballots, as promptly as possible, to an
absent voter whose application has been recorded under section 203B.19. If the county
auditor determines that a voter is not eligible to vote at the primary but will be eligible to
vote at the general election, only general election ballots shall be mailed. Only one set of
ballots shall be mailed to any applicant for any electionnew text begin, except that the county auditor
may mail a replacement ballot to a voter whose ballot has been spoiled or lost in transit
or whose mailing address has changed after the date on which the original application
was submitted as confirmed by the county auditor
new text end. Ballots to be sent outside the United
States shall be given priority in mailing. A county auditor may make use of any special
service provided by the United States government for the mailing of voting materials
under sections 203B.16 to 203B.27.

Sec. 6.

new text begin [203B.225] TRANSMITTING AND RETURNING BALLOTS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Transmitting ballot and voter certification. new text end

new text begin Upon receipt of a
properly completed application, the county auditor may electronically transmit to the
voter the appropriate ballots, instructions, and affidavit form and certification of voter
eligibility provided in section 203B.21, subdivision 3, with an added statement that the
voter understands that if the voter receives the ballot electronically the county auditor and
election judges will know how the voter has voted but must not disclose that information.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Returning voted ballots. new text end

new text begin The voter must return the voted ballots and the
certificate of voter eligibility to the county auditor in a sealed envelope. Upon receipt
of a ballot, the county auditor must immediately compare the information provided on
the absentee ballot application with the information provided on the certificate of voter
eligibility. After the information on the certificate of voter eligibility has been verified, the
votes marked on the ballot must be transferred to a duplicate ballot in the manner provided
in section 206.86, subdivision 5, and sealed in a ballot secrecy envelope. The certificate of
voter eligibility must be attached to the ballot secrecy envelope and placed with the other
absentee ballots for the precinct in which the voter resides. The county auditor must not
disclose the person for whom the voter has voted.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Rejecting transmitted ballots. new text end

new text begin If the county auditor cannot verify that the
ballots were returned by the same person to whom the absentee ballot application was
submitted, the ballots must be rejected and no votes on the ballots may be counted.
new text end

Sec. 7.

new text begin [203B.226] RANKED VOTING STUDY.
new text end

new text begin The secretary of state shall study other states' use of ranked voting to ensure that the
votes of military and overseas voters are received prior to the deadline and are counted.
new text end

Sec. 8.

new text begin [203B.227] WRITE-IN ABSENTEE BALLOT.
new text end

new text begin An eligible voter who will be outside the territorial limits of the United States during
the 180 days prior to the state general election may use the federal write-in absentee ballot
to vote in any federal, state, or local election.
new text end

Sec. 9.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 203B.24, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Check of voter eligibility; proper execution of affidavit.

Upon
receipt of an absentee ballot returned as provided in sections 203B.16 to 203B.27, the
election judges shall compare the voter's name with the names appearing on their copy of
the application records to insure that the ballot is from a voter eligible to cast an absentee
ballot under sections 203B.16 to 203B.27. The election judges shall mark the return
envelope "Accepted" and initial or sign the return envelope below the word "Accepted" if
the election judges are satisfied that:

(1) the voter's name on the return envelope appears in substantially the same form as
on the application records provided to the election judges by the county auditor;

(2) the voter has signed the federal oath prescribed pursuant to section 705(b)(2) of
the Help America Vote Act, Public Law 107-252;

(3) the voter has set forth the new text beginsame new text endvoter's military identification number deleted text beginordeleted text endnew text begin,new text end passport
numbernew text begin,new text end ordeleted text begin, if those numbers do not appear, a person authorized to administer oaths under
federal law or the law of the place where the oath was administered or a witness who is
military personnel with a rank at or above the rank of sergeant or its equivalent has signed
the ballot
deleted text endnew text begin Minnesota driver's license or state identification card number as submitted on
the application, if the voter has one of these documents
new text end; and

(4) the voter has not already voted at that election, either in person or by absentee
ballot.

An absentee ballot case pursuant to sections 203B.16 to 203B.27 may only be
rejected for the lack of one of clauses (1) to (4). In particular, failure to place the ballot
within the security envelope before placing it in the outer white envelope is not a reason to
reject an absentee ballot.

Election judges must note the reason for rejection on the back of the envelope in the
space provided for that purpose.

Failure to return unused ballots shall not invalidate a marked ballot, but a ballot
shall not be counted if the affidavit on the return envelope is not properly executed. In
all other respects the provisions of the Minnesota Election Law governing deposit and
counting of ballots shall apply.

Sec. 10.

new text begin [203B.28] EMERGENCY POWERS.
new text end

new text begin If a national or local emergency or other situation arises which makes substantial
compliance with the provisions of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting
Act impossible or unreasonable, such as a natural disaster or an armed conflict involving
the United States armed forces, or mobilization of those forces, including National Guard
and reserve components of this state, the secretary of state may prescribe, by emergency
orders, special procedures or requirements necessary to facilitate absentee voting by those
citizens directly affected who otherwise are eligible to vote in this state. The secretary of
state shall adopt rules describing the emergency powers and the situations in which the
powers must be exercised.
new text end