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Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

  

                         Laws of Minnesota 1986 

                        CHAPTER 408-S.F.No. 1839 
           An act relating to elections; recodifying and 
          clarifying the laws on election contests; amending 
          Minnesota Statutes 1984, sections 209.01; 209.02; 
          209.03; 209.05; 209.06; 209.07; 209.09; 209.10; and 
          209.12; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota 
          Statutes, chapter 209; repealing Minnesota Statutes 
          1984, sections 209.02, subdivisions 2, 3, 4, 4a, 5, 6, 
          7, and 8; 209.04; and 209.11. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
    Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 209.01, is 
amended to read: 
    209.01 [DEFINITIONS.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [IN GENERAL.] The words used in this 
chapter have the meanings prescribed to them definitions in 
chapter 200 apply to this chapter.  
    Subd. 2.  [STATEWIDE OFFICE.] For purposes of this chapter 
"statewide office" means the office of governor, lieutenant 
governor, attorney general, state auditor, state treasurer, 
secretary of state, chief justice or associate justice of the 
supreme court, judge of the court of appeals, United States 
senator, or presidential elector. 
    Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 209.02, is 
amended to read:  
    209.02 [ELECTION CONTESTS CONTESTANT; GROUNDS.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [CONTEST, WHO MAY INSTITUTE, GROUNDS.] 
Any eligible voter, including a candidate, may contest in the 
manner provided in this chapter:  (1) the nomination or election 
of any person for whom he the voter had the right to vote, 
who if that person is declared nominated or elected to the 
senate or the house of representatives of the United States, or 
to a state statewide, county, legislative, or municipal, or 
district court office,; or (2) the declared result of a 
constitutional amendment or other question voted upon at an 
election by proceeding as provided in this chapter.  The contest 
may be brought over an irregularity in the conduct of an 
election or canvass of votes, over the question of who received 
the largest number of votes legally cast, or on the grounds of 
deliberate, serious, and material violations of the provisions 
of the Minnesota election law. 
    Sec. 3.  [209.021] [NOTICE OF CONTEST.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [MANNER; TIME; CONTENTS.] Service of a 
notice of contest must be made in the same manner as the service 
of summons in civil actions.  The notice of contest must specify 
the grounds on which the contest will be made.  The contestant 
shall serve notice of the contest on the parties enumerated in 
this section.  Notice must be served and filed within five days 
after the canvass is completed in the case of a primary or 
within seven days after the canvass is completed in the case of 
a general election; except that if a contest is based on a 
deliberate, serious, and material violation of the election laws 
which was discovered from the statements of receipts and 
disbursements required to be filed by candidates and committees, 
the action may be commenced and the notice served and filed 
within ten days after the filing of the statements in the case 
of a general election or within five days after the filing of 
the statements in the case of a primary.  If a notice of contest 
questions only which party received the highest number of votes 
legally cast at the election, a contestee who loses may serve 
and file a notice of contest on any other ground during the 
three days following expiration of the time for appealing the 
decision on the vote count.  
    Subd. 2.  [NOTICE FILED WITH COURT.] If the contest relates 
to a nomination or election for statewide office, the contestant 
shall file the notice of contest with the district court clerk 
in Ramsey county.  For contests relating to any other office, 
the contestant shall file the notice of contest with the 
district court clerk in the county where the contestee resides. 
    If the contest relates to a constitutional amendment or 
other question voted on statewide, the contestant shall file the 
notice of contest with the district court clerk in Ramsey 
county.  If the contest relates to any other question, the 
contestant shall file the notice of contest with the district 
court clerk for the county or any one of the counties where the 
question appeared on the ballot. 
    Subd. 3.  [NOTICE SERVED ON PARTIES.] In all contests 
relating to the nomination or election of a candidate, the 
notice of contest must be served on the candidate who is the 
contestee, a copy of the notice must be sent to the contestee's 
last known address by certified mail, and a copy must be 
furnished to the official authorized to issue the certificate of 
election.  If personal or substituted service on the contestee 
cannot be made, an affidavit of the attempt by the person 
attempting to make service and the affidavit of the person who 
sent a copy of the notice to the contestee by certified mail is 
sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the court to decide the 
contest.  
    If the contest relates to a constitutional amendment or 
other question voted on statewide or voted on in more than one 
county, notice of contest must be served on the secretary of 
state, who is the contestee.  If a contest relates to a question 
voted on within only one county or one municipality, a copy of 
the notice of contest must be served on the county auditor or 
municipal clerk, respectively, who is the contestee.  If the 
contest relates to an irregularity in the conduct of an election 
or canvass of votes, a copy of the notice of contest must be 
served on the county auditor of the county where the 
irregularity is said to have occurred. 
    Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 209.03, is 
amended to read:  
    209.03 [CONTESTEE, CONTESTEE'S ANSWER.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [CONTEST OF VOTE COUNT.] When the If a 
notice of contest questions only which of the parties to the 
contest received the highest number of votes legally cast at the 
election, the contestee need not file an answer, unless the 
contestee desires to raise issues not specified in the notice of 
contest.  
    Subd. 2.  [OTHER CONTESTS.] For all other election contests 
or in any contest in which the contestee desires to offer 
testimony on points not specified in contestant's notice, he 
shall file and serve the contestee's answer to the notice of 
contest must be filed and served on the contestant an answer to 
the notice of contest.  The answer shall must so far as 
practicable, conform to the rules for pleading in civil 
actions.  If the contest relates to a primary, service of the 
answer shall must be made within the time fixed by the court, 
but not exceeding no more than five days after service 
of contestant's the notice upon him; of contest.  If the contest 
relates to a general election, service of the answer shall must 
be made within seven days after service of contestant's the 
notice upon him of contest.  Service of The contestee's answer 
shall must be made served in the same manner as provided for 
service of an the answer in a civil actions action or in 
such the manner as the court may by order direct order.  Any 
other notices shall must be served in such the manner and within 
such the times as the court may by order direct.  
    Sec. 5.  [209.045] [VENUE FOR STATEWIDE CONTESTS.] 
    If a notice of contest is filed in the district court of 
Ramsey county regarding a statewide office or constitutional 
amendment or other question voted on statewide, the district 
court clerk, within three days of receipt of the notice of 
contest, shall submit one copy of it and of the answer, if any, 
to the chief justice of the supreme court by certified mail.  
The case must be heard and determined in Ramsey county by three 
judges assigned by the chief justice of the supreme court.  If 
there is a division of opinion, the majority opinion prevails.  
    Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 209.05, is 
amended to read: 
    209.05 [CONTEST, GUARD OF GUARDING THE BALLOTS.] 
    In any election, upon demand made of the custodian of the 
ballots and upon notice to the opposing party candidate's 
opponent, a candidate may keep a continuous visual guard over 
the ballots at all hours of the day and night may be kept by a 
candidate until the expiration of the time for instituting 
contests, and.  In case of a contest it, the contestant or 
contestee may be kept by any party thereto keep a visual guard 
over the ballots.  The guard may be maintained either by the 
candidate or other party himself, contestant, or contestee, or 
by each of their duly authorized agents, not exceeding two at a 
time for each party at any one time to the contest.  In event of 
such demand If a candidate, contestant, or contestee seeks to 
guard the ballots, the custodian of the ballots shall appoint 
some suitable person as to guard over the ballots during such 
hours as he shall deem necessary in order to prevent leaving the 
same so they are not in the sole custody of the candidate or 
other party, contestant, contestee, or the their agents of one 
of them.  
    Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 209.06, is 
amended read: 
    209.06 [CONTEST, RECOUNT INSPECTION OF BALLOTS.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [RECOUNT, APPOINTMENT OF INSPECTORS.] After 
a contest has been instituted, either party may have the ballots 
inspected before preparing for trial.  The party applying for 
such requesting an inspection shall file with the clerk of 
district court in which district court where the contest is 
brought a verified petition, stating that he the case cannot 
properly prepare his case be prepared for trial without an 
inspection of such the ballots and designating the precincts in 
which he desires to have ballots inspected, and thereupon an 
inspection is desired.  A judge of the court wherein in which 
the trial of such case contest is pending shall then appoint as 
many sets of three persons inspectors for a legislative, county, 
municipal, district court or other office not specifically 
provided for herein, contest of any office or for any 
question voted upon at a county or municipal election, as are 
needed to count and inspect the ballots expeditiously.  One 
inspector must be selected by each of the parties to the contest 
and a third must be chosen by those two by whom such inspection 
shall be made inspectors.  In case If either party neglects or 
refuses to name an inspector, he shall be named by such the 
judge shall appoint the inspector.  The compensation of 
inspectors shall be is the same as for referees, unless 
otherwise stipulated.  
    Subd. 2.  [RECOUNT, BOND, TAXING OF COSTS.] The party 
applying for the inspection shall file with the clerk of 
district court a bond in the sum of $250 if the contest be 
within is in a single county; otherwise.  In other cases the 
bond shall be in a sum to be fixed set by the court in its 
discretion, with such sureties as shall be approved by the 
court, and conditioned that he the party seeking inspection will 
pay the administrative costs and expenses of such in case he 
fails to maintain his the inspection if that party loses the 
contest.  If the contestee succeeds, costs of the contest shall 
be taxed against the contestant.  If the contestant succeeds, 
costs of the contest shall be taxed against the contestee, 
except that if the contestee loses because of an error in the 
counting of ballots or canvass of the returns or by reason of 
any other irregularity in the election procedure, costs shall be 
taxed, in the discretion of the judge, upon those municipalities 
responsible for errors which resulted in the reversal of the 
prior results of the election.  
    Subd. 3.  [RECOUNT OF BALLOTS, STATEWIDE ELECTION.] If the 
contest relates to a state office or to the declared result of a 
constitutional amendment or other question voted upon at a 
statewide election, the party applying for the inspection shall 
designate the precincts in the counties in which he desires the 
inspection to be made; and the court shall order the appointment 
of as many sets of three inspectors as may be necessary to 
expeditiously count and inspect the ballots, and the ballots 
shall be inspected in the office of the county auditor who is 
the legal custodian of the ballots in question.  The inspectors 
in a state contest shall be selected in the manner provided in 
subdivision 1.  
    Subd. 4.  [RECOUNT OF BALLOTS, REPORT OF INSPECTORS.] 
The An inspection shall must be made in the office and in the 
presence of the legal custodian of the ballots, and.  The 
inspectors shall recanvass the votes cast for the parties to the 
contest or the question in issue in accordance with the rules 
for counting ballots provided in the Minnesota election law.  
They shall make a written report of such recanvass and report 
the inspection indicating the number of votes cast for each of 
the parties to the contest for candidate or each side of the 
question in each precinct that is recounted where the ballots 
were inspected and report indicating any disputed ballots upon 
which the inspectors cannot agree.  
    Sec. 8.  [209.065] [PLEADINGS; PROCEDURE.] 
    The notice of contest and any answer are the pleadings in 
the case and may be amended in the discretion of the court.  The 
contest proceedings must be brought on for trial by either the 
contestant or contestee as soon as practicable within 20 days 
after the filing of the notice of contest.  The court shall 
proceed in the manner provided for the trial of civil actions so 
far as practicable.  
    Sec. 9.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 209.07, is 
amended to read: 
    209.07 [RESULTS OF CONTEST, DETERMINATION.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [GENERALLY.] Upon a determination of the 
contest by If a nomination is contested, the court shall decide 
which candidate, if any, was nominated and is entitled to have 
his or her name printed on the official ballots.  When the court 
decides an election contest for any office other than state 
senator or state representative, after and the time for appeal 
has expired or, in case of an appeal, after the final judicial 
determination of the contest, if the contestant succeeds in the 
contest, the court may invalidate and revoke any election 
certificate which has been issued to the contestee, and.  If the 
contest involved an error in the counting of ballots, the 
official authorized to issue the certificate of election shall 
issue the certificate to the person entitled thereto; except 
that to it, but if a contestant succeeds in a contest where 
there is no question as to which of the candidates received the 
highest number of votes cast at the election, the 
contestant shall is not, by reason of the disqualification of 
the contestee, be entitled to the certificate of election.  
    Subd. 2.  [DEFECTIVE BALLOTS.] In a contested election, if 
the court decides that a serious and material defect in the 
ballots used changed the outcome of the election for the 
contested office, the election must be declared invalid for that 
office.  
    Subd. 3.  [COSTS OF CONTEST.] If the contestee succeeds, 
costs of the contest must be paid by the contestant.  If the 
contestant succeeds, costs of the contest must be paid by the 
contestee; except that if the contestee loses because of an 
error in the counting of ballots or canvass of the returns or 
because of any other irregularity in the election procedure, 
costs must be paid, in the discretion of the judge, by the 
election jurisdictions responsible for errors which resulted in 
the reversal of the prior results of the election.  
    Sec. 10.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 209.09, is 
amended to read: 
    209.09 [APPEALS.] 
    When an appeal is taken from If the determination decision 
of the district court in any contest instituted under this 
chapter is appealed, the party appealing appellant shall file in 
the district court a bond in a sum, not less than of $500, and 
with such sureties, as shall be approved by the judge, 
conditioned for the payment of all costs incurred by the 
respondent in case if appellant fails on his appeal.  The notice 
of appeal shall must be served and filed in the court of appeals 
in the case of a general election no later than ten days in case 
of a general election and, in the case of a primary, no later 
than five days in case of a primary after the entry of 
the determination of the district court court's decision in the 
contest.  The return of the record on appeal shall must be made, 
certified, and filed in the court of appeals or, in the case of 
a contest relating to the office of state representative or 
senator, in the supreme court as soon as practicable and in any 
event within 15 days after service of notice of appeal.  The 
appeal may be brought on for hearing in the court at any 
time when it is in session, upon such notice from either party, 
as the court may determine.  The notice may be served during 
term time or in vacation determines; and it may be heard and 
determined summarily by the court.  The appeal from a 
determination of an election contest relating to the office of 
state senator or representative shall take precedence over all 
other business on the supreme court docket, and shall be 
disposed of with all convenient dispatch.  A copy of the 
decision shall be forwarded to the chief clerk of the house of 
representatives or the secretary of the senate, as appropriate.  
    Sec. 11.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 209.10, is 
amended to read: 
    209.10 [CONTEST OF STATE LEGISLATIVE OFFICE.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [NOTICE IN LEGISLATIVE CONTEST, DUTIES OF 
COURT, TRANSMITTAL TO PROPER HOUSE.] When the contest relates to 
the office of state senator or representative, the judge trying 
the proceedings shall determine the contest, issue appropriate 
orders, and make written findings of fact and conclusions of 
law.  Unless appealed to the supreme court, the judge shall, by 
the first day of the legislative session, transmit the findings, 
conclusions and orders to the chief clerk of the house of 
representatives or the secretary of the senate, as appropriate, 
together with the files and records of the proceedings.  The 
provisions of this chapter shall not be construed as limiting 
the constitutional power of the legislature to be the judge of 
the election returns and eligibility of its own members.  In a 
legislative contest, the district court clerk, within three days 
of receipt of the notice of contest, shall submit one copy of it 
to the chief justice of the supreme court by certified mail.  
The clerk shall also submit one copy of the answer, if any, to 
the chief justice by certified mail within three days of receipt.
    Subd. 2.  [JUDGE SELECTION.] In cases where an unfair 
campaign practice is alleged, within five days of receipt of a 
notice of contest, the chief justice shall submit to the parties 
a list of all the district judges in the state, except those 
involved in a trial that would interfere with serving as a judge 
in the election contest and those whose health precludes serving 
as judge in the election contest.  Within two days after 
receiving the list of judges the parties shall meet together 
and, by alternating strikes they shall remove the names of all 
judges until only one remains.  If no unfair campaign practice 
is alleged, the parties shall follow the same procedure using 
only the names of judges of the judicial district or districts 
covering the area served by the contested office.  If the 
contestant does not proceed within the time provided for in this 
section, the action must be dismissed and the judge shall 
transmit a copy of the order for dismissal to the chief clerk of 
the house of representatives or the secretary of the senate, as 
appropriate. 
    Subd. 3.  [DUTIES OF COURT.] Within 15 days after notice of 
contest has been filed, the judge shall convene the proceeding 
at an appropriate place within the county, or, if the district 
includes all or portions of more than one county, a county 
within the legislative district, and hear testimony of the 
parties under the ordinary rules of evidence for civil actions.  
The judge shall decide the contest, issue appropriate orders, 
and make written findings of fact and conclusions of law.  
Unless the matter is appealed to the supreme court, the judge, 
by the first day of the legislative session, shall transmit the 
findings, conclusions, orders, and records of the proceeding to 
the chief clerk of the house of representatives or the secretary 
of the senate, as appropriate.  
    Subd. 4.  [APPEAL.] The judge's decision may be appealed to 
the supreme court no later than ten days after its entry in the 
case of a general election contest or five days after its entry 
in the case of a primary contest.  The record on appeal must be 
made, certified, and filed in the supreme court within 15 days 
after service of notice of appeal.  The appellant shall file in 
the district court a bond of $500 for the payment of 
respondent's costs if appellant fails on his appeal.  The appeal 
from an election contest relating to the office of state senator 
or representative takes precedence over all other matters before 
the supreme court.  A copy of the decision must be forwarded to 
the chief clerk of the house of representatives or the secretary 
of the senate, as appropriate.  
    Subd. 5.  [LEGISLATIVE CONTEST, HEARING, PROCEDURE.] In 
hearing the a contest, the house or senate shall proceed as 
follows: 
    (a) At the time appointed, the parties shall be called, 
and, if they appear, their appearance shall be recorded;.  
    (b) If the presiding officer be is a party, a speaker pro 
tem shall must be elected to preside;.  
    (c) The contestant's contestant shall submit evidence shall 
be submitted first, followed by that of the contestee, and the 
contestant shall open the argument, and close the same argument 
after the contestee has been heard;.  
    (d) The vote upon the contest shall must be viva voce, any 
member may offer reasons for the vote he or she intends to give, 
and a majority of the votes given shall decide; but decides the 
issue.  No party to the contest shall may vote upon any question 
relative relating thereto; and.  
    (e) The clerk or secretary shall enter the proceedings in 
the journal.  
    Subd. 6.  [NOT A LIMITATION.] This chapter does not limit 
the constitutional power of the house of representatives and the 
senate to judge the election returns and eligibility of their 
own members. 
    Sec. 12.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 209.12, is 
amended to read: 
    209.12 [FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE OFFICES CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE.] 
    When the a contest relates to the office of senator or a 
member of the house of representatives of the United States, the 
only question to be tried decided by the court, notwithstanding 
any other provision of law, shall be the question as to is which 
of the parties party to the contest received the highest number 
of votes legally cast at the election, and as to who is 
therefore entitled to receive the certificate of election.  The 
judge trying the proceedings shall make findings of fact and 
conclusions of law upon the that question so tried.  Further 
Evidence upon the on any other points specified in the notices 
notice of contest, including but not limited to the question as 
to of the right of any person to nomination or office on the 
ground of deliberate, serious, and material violation of the 
provisions of the Minnesota election law, shall must be taken 
and preserved by the judge trying the contest, or under his 
direction by some person appointed by him for that purpose,; but 
the judge shall make no findings or conclusion thereon on those 
points.  
    After the time for appeal has expired, or in case of an 
appeal, after the final judicial determination of the contest, 
upon application of either of the parties party to the contest, 
the clerk of the district court shall, without unnecessary 
delay, promptly certify and carefully seal and immediately 
forward all the files and records of the proceedings, with all 
the evidence taken, by mail or by express, addressed to the 
presiding officer of the senate or of the house of 
representatives as the case may be of the United States, 
Washington, District of Columbia; and shall also.  The clerk 
shall endorse upon on the transmittal envelope or container in 
which the same are transmitted the name of the case in which the 
same were taken, together with and the name of the party in 
whose behalf the same proceedings were taken held, and 
shall subscribe such sign the endorsement.  
    Sec. 13.  [REPEALER.] 
    Minnesota Statutes 1984, sections 209.02, subdivisions 2, 
3, 4, 4a, 5, 6, 7, and 8; 209.04; and 209.11, are repealed. 
    Approved March 24, 1986