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SF 3469

2nd Engrossment - 92nd Legislature (2021 - 2022) Posted on 03/31/2022 08:24am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to elections; amending requirements related to returning absentee ballots
and absentee ballot drop boxes; authorizing absentee ballot board observers;
requiring certain election activity to be livestreamed and recorded; requiring the
commissioner of information technology services to retain and make certain video
recordings available to the public; amending requirements on releasing vote totals;
requiring a report; appropriating money; amending Minnesota Statutes 2020,
sections 201.121, subdivision 1; 203B.121, subdivision 5, by adding subdivisions;
204C.19, subdivision 3; 206.83; Minnesota Statutes 2021 Supplement, sections
203B.08, subdivision 1; 203B.082; 203B.121, subdivision 1; Laws 2021, First
Special Session chapter 12, article 1, section 6; 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 2020, section 201.121, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Entry of registration information.

(a) At the time a voter registration
application is properly completed, submitted, and received in accordance with sections
201.061 and 201.071, the county auditor shall enter the information contained on it into the
statewide new text beginvoter new text endregistration system. Voter registration applications completed before election
day must be entered into the statewide new text beginvoter new text endregistration system within ten days after they
have been submitted to the county auditor. Voter registration applications completed on
election day must be entered into the statewide new text beginvoter new text endregistration system deleted text beginwithin 42 days
after the election, unless the county auditor notifies the secretary of state before the deadline
has expired that the deadline will not be met. Upon receipt of a notification under this
paragraph, the secretary of state must extend the deadline for that county auditor by an
additional 28 days. The secretary of state may waive a county's obligations under this
paragraph if, on good cause shown, the county demonstrates its permanent inability to
comply
deleted text endnew text begin before the canvass of that election is startednew text end.

The secretary of state must post data on each county's compliance with this paragraph on
the secretary of state's website including, as applicable, the date each county fully complied
deleted text begin or the deadline by which a county's compliance must be completedeleted text end.

(b) Upon receiving a completed voter registration application, the secretary of state deleted text beginmaydeleted text endnew text begin
must
new text end electronically transmit the information on the application to the appropriate county
auditor as soon as possible for review by the county auditor before final entry into the
statewide new text beginvoter new text endregistration system. deleted text beginThe secretary of state may mail the voter registration
application to the county auditor.
deleted text end

(c) Within ten days after the county auditor has entered information from a voter
registration application into the statewide new text beginvoter new text endregistration system, the secretary of state
shall compare the voter's name, date of birth, and driver's license number, state identification
number, or the last four digits of the Social Security number with the same information
contained in the Department of Public Safety database.

(d) The secretary of state shall provide a report to the county auditor on a weekly basis
that includes a list of voters whose name, date of birth, or identification number have been
compared with the same information in the Department of Public Safety database and cannot
be verified as provided in this subdivision. The report must list separately those voters who
have submitted a voter registration application by mail and have not voted in a federal
election in this state.

(e) The county auditor shall compile a list of voters for whom the county auditor and
the secretary of state are unable to conclude that information on the voter registration
application and the corresponding information in the Department of Public Safety database
relate to the same person.

(f) The county auditor shall send a notice of incomplete registration to any voter whose
name appears on the list and change the voter's status to "incomplete." A voter who receives
a notice of incomplete registration from the county auditor may either provide the information
required to complete the registration at least 21 days before the next election or at the polling
place on election day.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

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

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2021 Supplement, section 203B.08, subdivision 1, is amended
to read:


Subdivision 1.

Marking and return by voter.

(a) An 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, may be deleted text beginleft withdeleted text endnew text begin
personally delivered to
new text end the county auditor or municipal clerk who transmitted the absentee
ballots to the voter, or may be left in a drop box as provided in section 203B.082. 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.

(b) 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.new text begin An agent must not deposit the absentee ballot return envelope of another
person in a drop box.
new text end 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.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2021 Supplement, section 203B.082, is amended to read:


203B.082 ABSENTEE BALLOT DROP BOXES; SECURITY AND INTEGRITY.

Subdivision 1.

Definition.

As used in this section, "drop box" means a secure receptacle
or container established to receive completed absentee ballots 24 hours per day. Drop box
does not include a receptacle or container maintained by the United States Postal Service,
or a location at which a voter or an agent may return a completed absentee ballot by providing
it directly to an employee of the county auditor or municipal clerk.

Subd. 2.

Minimum security and integrity standards.

The county auditor or municipal
clerk may provide locations at which a voter may deposit a completed absentee ballot
enclosed in the completed signature envelope in a secure drop box, consistent with the
following security and integrity standards:

(1) each drop box must be continually deleted text beginrecordeddeleted text endnew text begin livestreamednew text end during the absentee voting
periodnew text begin as established in section 203B.155new text end;

new text begin (2) each drop box must be located within 100 feet of a door of the building where the
county auditor or municipal clerk's office is located;
new text end

new text begin (3) each drop box must be available for use during the absentee voting period as
established in section 203B.155;
new text end

new text begin (4) each drop box must be assigned a unique identification number;
new text end

deleted text begin (2)deleted text endnew text begin (5)new text end each drop box must be designed to prevent an unauthorized person from moving,
removing, or tampering with the drop box;

deleted text begin (3)deleted text endnew text begin (6)new text end each drop box placed in an outdoor location must be fastened to a building, bolted
to a concrete pad, or otherwise attached to a similarly secure structure;

deleted text begin (4)deleted text endnew text begin (7)new text end ballots deposited in a drop box must be secured against access by any unauthorized
person, and in the case of a drop box located in an outdoor location, the drop box must be
secured against damage due to weather or other natural conditions;

deleted text begin (5)deleted text endnew text begin (8)new text end each drop box must contain signage or markings that:

(i) clearly identifies the drop box as an official absentee ballot return location; deleted text beginand
deleted text end

(ii) include the location and hours where an agent may return an absentee ballot;

new text begin (iii) include the statement: "STOP! You can only return your own ballot in this drop
box."; and
new text end

new text begin (iv) the unique identification number assigned to the drop box;
new text end

deleted text begin (6)deleted text endnew text begin (9)new text end deposited ballots must be collected at least once per deleted text beginbusinessdeleted text end day during the
absentee voting period by the county auditor, municipal clerk, or an elections official trained
by the county auditor or municipal clerk in the proper maintenance and handling of absentee
ballots and absentee ballot drop boxes, and in the security measures used to protect absentee
ballots; and

deleted text begin (7)deleted text endnew text begin (10)new text end ballots collected from each drop box must be properly date-stamped and stored
in a locked ballot container or other secured and locked space consistent with any applicable
laws governing the collection and storage of absentee ballots.

Subd. 3.

Publication of locations required.

(a) The county auditor or municipal clerk
must provide a list of designated absentee ballot drop box locations to the secretary of state
no later than 40 days prior to the start of the absentee voting period at every regularly
scheduled primary or general election. The list must be published on the website of the
county or municipality and on the website of the secretary of state at least 35 days prior to
the start of the absentee voting period.

(b) The county auditor or municipal clerk must provide an updated list of designated
absentee ballot drop box locations to the secretary of state no later than 20 days prior to the
start of the absentee voting period at every regularly scheduled primary or general election,
if any locations have changed or been added since submission of the list under paragraph
(a). The list must be published on the website of the county or municipality and on the
website of the secretary of state at least 15 days prior to the start of the absentee voting
period.

Subd. 4.

Electioneering prohibited.

Section 211B.11 applies to conduct within 100
feet of an absentee ballot drop box established under this section.

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Ballot collection log and report. new text end

new text begin (a) The county auditor or municipal clerk
must maintain a log for each drop box. The log must include the unique identification number
assigned to the drop box. The log must include the following information for each day
during the absentee voting period:
new text end

new text begin (1) the date and time of each ballot collection;
new text end

new text begin (2) the person who collected the ballots; and
new text end

new text begin (3) the number of ballots collected.
new text end

new text begin (b) Before the meeting of the local canvassing board, each county auditor and municipal
clerk must total the number of ballots collected from each drop box for each day during the
absentee voting period and submit the totals to the local canvassing board and the secretary
of state. Before the meeting of the state canvassing board for an election, the secretary of
state must compile the totals, broken down by county. Prior to the state canvassing board
beginning the state canvass, the secretary of state must submit the totals to the state
canvassing board and the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees
having jurisdiction over election policy.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Rulemaking prohibited. new text end

new text begin The secretary of state is not authorized to adopt rules
to implement or supplement the provisions of this section.
new text end

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2021 Supplement, 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
must, by ordinance or resolution, establish a ballot board. The board must consist of a
sufficient number of election judges appointed as provided in sections 204B.19 to 204B.22.
The board deleted text beginmaydeleted text endnew text begin must notnew text end include deputy county auditors or deputy city clerks deleted text beginwho have
received training in the processing and counting of absentee ballots
deleted text endnew text begin, unless the deputy county
auditor or deputy city clerk has been appointed an election judge as provided in sections
204B.19 to 204B.22
new text end. Each member of the ballot board must be provided adequate training
on the processing and counting of absentee ballots, including but not limited to instruction
on accepting and rejecting absentee ballots, storage of absentee ballots, timelines and
deadlines, the role of the ballot board, procedures for opening absentee ballot envelopes,
procedures for counting absentee ballots, and procedures for reporting absentee ballot totals.

(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.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

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

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 203B.121, subdivision 5, is amended to read:


Subd. 5.

Storage and counting of absentee ballots.

(a) On a day on which absentee
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 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 must be recorded on a
summary statement in substantially the same format as provided in section 204C.26. The
ballot board shall submit at least one completed summary statement to the county auditor
or municipal clerk. The county auditor or municipal clerk may require the ballot board to
submit a sufficient number of completed summary statements to comply with the provisions
of section 204C.27, or the county auditor or municipal clerk may certify reports containing
the details of the ballot board summary statement to the recipients of the summary statements
designated in section 204C.27.

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.

The deleted text begincount shalldeleted text endnew text begin counting of ballots mustnew text end be public. deleted text beginNo vote totals from ballots may be
made public before the close of voting on election day.
deleted text endnew text begin Vote totals must only be disclosed
in accordance with section 204C.19.
new text end

(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).

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

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

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 203B.121, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Ballot board observers. new text end

new text begin (a) A candidate or party on a ballot at an election may
appoint a person to serve as an absentee ballot board observer. All appointments must be
made at least 30 days prior to the start of the absentee voting period, except that if an observer
is unable to perform the required duties the observer may be replaced by the appointing
candidate or party. The candidate or party must notify the county auditor, city clerk, or
school district clerk if a ballot board observer is appointed and provide the observer's name,
address, phone number, and e-mail address. A ballot board observer must complete election
judge training as described in section 204B.25. The following individuals are not eligible
to serve as absentee ballot board observers: election judges, candidates on the ballot, and
immediate family members of candidates on the ballot.
new text end

new text begin (b) During the absentee voting period, a ballot board observer must be allowed to observe
the following activities of the ballot board:
new text end

new text begin (1) examining envelopes and accepting or rejecting envelopes as required by subdivision
2;
new text end

new text begin (2) opening envelopes and duplicating ballots, if necessary, as required by subdivision
4;
new text end

new text begin (3) depositing absentee ballots into a ballot box as required by subdivision 5, paragraph
(a); and
new text end

new text begin (4) counting and tabulating the ballots as required by subdivision 5, paragraph (b).
new text end

new text begin (c) The county auditor, municipal clerk, or school district clerk must notify each ballot
board observer of the date, time, and location anytime the activities in paragraph (b) will
take place. The notice must be in writing and delivered to the ballot board observer at least
seven days before the activity is to take place.
new text end

new text begin (d) A ballot board observer may present questions or make challenges to the head election
official. A ballot board observer must be allowed to be within four feet of the ballots or
envelopes being handled. A ballot board observer must not handle any absentee ballots,
envelopes, or other election documents. A ballot board observer may record any of the
activities described in paragraph (b). A ballot board observer must not interfere with the
conduct of the ballot board. The ballot board may have a ballot board observer removed if
the observer is disrupting the activities of the ballot board. The sole act of recording does
not constitute sufficient grounds for the ballot board to remove a ballot board observer.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective May 15, 2022, and applies to absentee
voting periods beginning on or after June 24, 2022.
new text end

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 203B.121, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Livestreaming. new text end

new text begin (a) For the 7 days immediately preceding an election and on
election day, the county auditor, municipal clerk, or school district clerk must ensure that
all ballot board activity is livestreamed as provided by this subdivision and section 203B.155.
At a minimum, the following activities must be livestreamed:
new text end

new text begin (1) examining envelopes and accepting or rejecting envelopes as required by subdivision
2;
new text end

new text begin (2) opening envelopes and duplicating ballots, if necessary, as required by subdivision
4;
new text end

new text begin (3) depositing absentee ballots into a ballot box as required by subdivision 5, paragraph
(a); and
new text end

new text begin (4) counting and tabulating the ballots as required by subdivision 5, paragraph (b).
new text end

new text begin (b) The county auditor, municipal clerk, or school district clerk must position one or
more cameras so as to livestream the following:
new text end

new text begin (1) the ballot board members performing the activities described in paragraph (a);
new text end

new text begin (2) all ballots in the room where the activities in paragraph (a) are taking place; and
new text end

new text begin (3) all doors in the room where the activities in paragraph (a) are taking place.
new text end

new text begin To the extent possible while complying with clauses 1 to 3, the cameras must be positioned
so as to avoid livestreaming private data included on absentee ballot envelopes or other
documents.
new text end

Sec. 8.

new text begin [203B.155] LIVESTREAMING REQUIREMENTS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin (a) The following terms have the meanings given for purposes
of this section.
new text end

new text begin (b) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of information technology services.
new text end

new text begin (c) "Department" means the Department of Information Technology Services.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Livestreaming. new text end

new text begin (a) When livestreaming is required by sections 203B.082,
subdivision 2, clause (1), and 203B.121, the commissioner must ensure the livestream is
available on the department's website in a manner that allows members of the public to
easily access and view the livestream. The commissioner must not charge a fee to the public
or to the county, municipality, or school district for providing this service.
new text end

new text begin (b) The secretary of state must include information on the office's website on how to
find and access livestreams on the department's website. Each county auditor, municipal
clerk, and school district clerk must post the same information on their respective local
government's website, if there is one.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Data. new text end

new text begin The commissioner must record all livestreamed video and retain the
recording for four years after the date of the recording. The commissioner must retain the
recordings of livestreamed activities required by sections 203B.082, subdivision 2, clause
(1), and 203B.121, as provided by this section. The recordings are public data, except that
the commissioner may obscure private data on individuals that is visible on a recording.
Notwithstanding chapter 13 or any other law to the contrary, the county auditor, city clerk,
or school board clerk is not required to maintain any livestreamed or recorded data or provide
access to the data.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Livestream disruptions. new text end

new text begin If a livestream is disrupted or disabled, the
commissioner, county auditor, municipal clerk, or school district clerk is not liable if the
disruption is due to a cause outside of the control of the commissioner, county auditor,
municipal clerk, or school district clerk. If there is a disruption in a livestream, the
commissioner must work with the county auditor, municipal clerk, or school district clerk
to reinstate livestreaming as soon as possible. If all appointed ballot board observers are
present and there is a disruption in livestreaming, the activities of the ballot board may
continue. If all appointed ballot board observers are not present and there is a disruption in
livestreaming, the ballot board must stop all activities until the livestream is reinstated or
all ballot board observers are present.
new text end

Sec. 9.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 204C.19, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Premature disclosure of count results.

deleted text beginNodeleted text endnew text begin The county auditor, municipal
clerk, school district clerk, election judge, or any other person must not disclose
new text end count results
from any precinct deleted text beginshall be disclosed by any election judge or other individualdeleted text end until all count
results from that precinct deleted text beginare available, nor shalldeleted text endnew text begin have been counted and totaled, including
absentee votes received and processed by 8 p.m. on election day. Absentee ballots may
continue to be processed and counted after 8 p.m. on election day as provided in section
203B.121, subdivision 5, paragraph (c).
new text end The public media new text beginmust not new text enddisclose any count
results from any precinct before the time when voting is scheduled to end in the state.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

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

Sec. 10.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, 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 through assistive technology, and count the votes cast
for all candidates and on all questions. deleted text beginPublic notice of the time and place of the test must
be given at least two days in advance by publication once in official newspapers.
deleted text end 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.

new text begin (b) At least 14 days before conducting the testing required by paragraph (a), the official
in charge of elections must give notice of the time and place of the testing in the following
manner:
new text end

new text begin (1) by publishing the notice once in the official newspaper;
new text end

new text begin (2) by prominently posting the notice on the applicable county, municipal, or school
district website, if there is one; and
new text end

new text begin (3) by sending the notice to the chairs of each major political party in the state.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

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

Sec. 11.

Laws 2021, First Special Session chapter 12, article 1, section 6, is amended to
read:


Sec. 6. SECRETARY OF STATE

$
9,684,000
$
9,152,000

$750,000 each year is for transfer to the voting
equipment grant account under Minnesota
Statutes, section 206.95.

$1,000,000 each year is for grants to local
units of government to implement the
provisions of Minnesota Statutes, section
203B.082.new text begin This is a onetime appropriation.
new text end

Sec. 12. new text beginELECTION SECURITY AND INTEGRITY GRANTS; REPORT.
new text end

new text begin No later than January 15, 2024, the secretary of state must submit a report to the chairs
and ranking minority members of the legislative committees having jurisdiction over elections
on grants awarded under Laws 2021, First Special Session chapter 12, article 1, section 6,
for ballot dropbox security and integrity. The report must detail each grant awarded including
the jurisdiction, the amount of the grant, and what the grant money is intended to purchase.
new text end

Sec. 13. new text beginAPPROPRIATION.
new text end

new text begin (a) $...... in fiscal year 2023 is appropriated from the general fund to the secretary of
state to make grants to local units of government to comply with livestreaming requirements
under Minnesota Statutes, sections 203B.082, subdivision 2, and 203B.121, subdivision 7.
This is a onetime appropriation and is available until June 30, 2025.
new text end

new text begin (b) $...... in fiscal year 2023 is appropriated from the general fund to the commissioner
of information and technology services to livestream and record election-related activity
and to retain data as required under Minnesota Statutes, section 203B.155. The base for this
appropriation in fiscal year 2024 is ........ The base for this appropriation in fiscal year 2025
and each fiscal year thereafter is ........
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective July 1, 2022.
new text end

Sec. 14. new text beginEFFECTIVE DATE.
new text end

new text begin Except as otherwise provided, this act is effective September 1, 2022, and applies to
elections conducted on or after that date.
new text end