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SF 562

as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 01/28/2019 03:35pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to elections; authorizing county auditors to transmit ballots electronically
to persons with disabilities; amending Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 204B.45,
subdivision 2; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 203B.


Section 1.

new text begin [203B.045] VOTERS WITH A DISABILITY.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Transmitting ballot and certificate of voter eligibility. new text end

new text begin (a) A voter with
a temporary or permanent disability may include in an application for absentee ballots a
request that the ballots, instructions, and a certificate of voter eligibility meeting the
requirements of section 203B.21, subdivision 3, be transmitted to the voter electronically
in an accessible format, including ballots with the ability to be marked by accessible software
or devices. Upon receipt of a properly completed application requesting accessible electronic
transmission, the county auditor shall electronically transmit the requested materials to the
new text end

new text begin (b) Electronic materials provided by a county auditor to a voter under this subdivision
must comply with the accessibility standards developed under section 16E.03, subdivision
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Marking ballots. new text end

new text begin The voter may electronically mark the ballot using accessible
software or devices.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. 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.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 204B.45, subdivision 2, is amended to read:

Subd. 2.


Notice of the election and the special mail procedure must be given
at least ten weeks prior to the election. Not more than 46 days nor later than 14 days before
a regularly scheduled election and not more than 30 days nor later than 14 days before any
other election, the auditor shall mail ballots by nonforwardable mail to all voters registered
in the city, town, or unorganized territory. No later than 14 days before the election, the
auditor must make a subsequent mailing of ballots to those voters who register to vote after
the initial mailing but before the 20th day before the election. Eligible voters not registered
at the time the ballots are mailednew text begin and eligible voters with a temporary or permanent disabilitynew text end
may apply for ballots as provided in chapter 203B. Ballot return envelopes, with return
postage provided, must be preaddressed to the auditor or clerk and the voter may return the
ballot by mail or in person to the office of the auditor or clerk. The auditor or clerk must
appoint a ballot board to examine the mail and absentee ballot return envelopes and mark
them "accepted" or "rejected" within three days of receipt if there are 14 or fewer days
before election day, or within five days of receipt if there are more than 14 days before
election day. The board may consist of deputy county auditors or deputy municipal clerks
who have received training in the processing and counting of mail ballots, who need not be
affiliated with a major political party. Election judges performing the duties in this section
must be of different major political parties, unless they are exempt from that requirement
under section 205.075, subdivision 4, or section 205A.10. If an envelope has been rejected
at least five days before the election, the ballots in the envelope must remain sealed and the
auditor or clerk shall provide the voter with a replacement ballot and return envelope in
place of the spoiled ballot. If the ballot is rejected within five days of the election, the
envelope must remain sealed and the official in charge of the ballot board must attempt to
contact the voter by telephone or e-mail to notify the voter that the voter's ballot has been
rejected. The official must document the attempts made to contact the voter.

If the ballot is accepted, the county auditor or municipal clerk must mark the roster to
indicate that the voter has already cast a ballot in that election. After the close of business
on the seventh day before the election, the ballots from return envelopes marked "Accepted"
may be opened, duplicated as needed in the manner provided by section 206.86, subdivision
5, initialed by the members of the ballot board, and deposited in the ballot box.

In all other respects, the provisions of the Minnesota Election Law governing deposit
and counting of ballots apply.

The mail and absentee ballots for a precinct must be counted together and reported as
one vote total. No vote totals from mail or absentee ballots may be made public before the
close of voting on election day.

The costs of the mailing shall be paid by the election jurisdiction in which the voter
resides. Any ballot received by 8:00 p.m. on the day of the election must be counted.