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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

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

  

                         Laws of Minnesota 1990 

                        CHAPTER 453-S.F.No. 1920 
           An act relating to elections; making various changes 
          in laws applicable to school district elections; 
          amending Minnesota Statutes 1988, sections 201.071, 
          subdivision 3; 203B.08, subdivision 3; 204B.08, 
          subdivision 3; 204B.14, subdivision 5; 204B.17; 
          204B.44; 204C.22, subdivisions 9, 10, 15, and by 
          adding a subdivision; 204D.04, subdivision 2; 205A.05, 
          subdivision 1; 205A.07, by adding a subdivision; 
          205A.09, subdivision 2; 205A.11; 209.02, subdivision 
          1; 209.03; 209.09, subdivision 1; and 211A.01, 
          subdivision 6; and Minnesota Statutes 1989 Supplement, 
          sections 205A.10, subdivisions 2 and 3; and 209.021, 
          subdivision 1. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
    Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 201.071, 
subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 3.  [DEFICIENT REGISTRATION.] No registration is 
deficient if it contains the voter's name, address, date of 
birth, prior registration if any and signature.  The absence of 
a zip code number does not cause the registration to be 
deficient.  The election judges shall request an individual to 
correct a registration card if it is deficient or illegible or 
may request if the name or number of the voter's school district 
is missing or obviously incorrect.  No eligible voter may be 
prevented from voting unless the voter's registration card is 
deficient or the voter is duly and successfully challenged in 
accordance with sections 201.195 or 204C.12. 
    A registration card accepted prior to August 1, 1983, is 
not deficient for lack of date of birth.  The county or 
municipality may attempt to obtain the date of birth for a 
registration card accepted prior to August 1, 1983, by a request 
to the voter at any time except at the polling place.  Failure 
by the voter to comply with this request does not make the card 
deficient.  
    Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 203B.08, 
subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 3.  [PROCEDURES ON RECEIPT OF BALLOTS.] When absentee 
ballots are returned to a county auditor or town or 
city municipal clerk, that official shall stamp and date the 
return envelope with an official seal of the office and place it 
in a secure location with other return envelopes received by 
that office.  The county auditor or town or city municipal clerk 
shall deliver them to the appropriate election judges on 
election day.  
    Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 204B.08, 
subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 3.  [NUMBER OF SIGNATURES.] The number of signatures 
required on a nominating petition shall be as follows: 
    (a) For a state office voted on statewide or for United 
States senator, one percent of the total number of individuals 
voting in the state at the last preceding state general 
election, or 2,000, whichever is less; 
    (b) For a congressional or judicial district office, five 
percent of the total number of individuals voting in the 
district at the last preceding state general election, or 1,000, 
whichever is less; 
    (c) For a county or legislative office, ten percent of the 
total number of individuals voting in the county or legislative 
district at the last preceding state or county general election, 
or 500, whichever is less; and 
    (d) For a municipal office in a city of the first class, 
the number specified in section 205.121.; and 
    (e) For any other municipal or school district office, ten 
percent of the total number of individuals voting in the 
municipality, ward, school district, or other election district 
at the last preceding municipal, or school district if 
applicable, general election, or 500, whichever is less. 
    Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 204B.14, 
subdivision 5, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 5.  [PRECINCT BOUNDARIES; DESCRIPTION; MAPS.] Each 
municipal clerk shall prepare and file with the county auditor 
of each county in which the municipality is located, with the 
secretary of state and with the state planning commissioner maps 
showing the correct boundaries of each election precinct in the 
municipality.  At least 30 days before any change in an election 
precinct or in a corporate boundary becomes effective, the 
municipal clerk shall prepare maps showing the new boundaries of 
the precincts and shall forward copies of these maps to the 
secretary of state, the appropriate county auditors and the 
state planning commissioner.  The clerk shall retain copies of 
the precinct maps for public inspection.  The county auditor 
shall prepare and file precinct boundary maps for precincts in 
unorganized territories, and the municipal clerk designated in 
the combination agreement shall prepare and file precinct 
boundary maps in the case of municipalities combined for 
election purposes under subdivision 8, in the same manner as 
provided for precincts in municipalities.  For every election 
held in the municipality the election judges shall be furnished 
precinct maps as provided in section 201.061, subdivision 6.  If 
a municipality changes the boundary of an election precinct, the 
county auditor shall notify each school district with territory 
affected by the boundary change at least 30 days before the 
effective date of the change.  
    Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 204B.17, is 
amended to read: 
    204B.17 [CHANGE OF POLLING PLACE BY ELECTION JUDGES.] 
    When a designated polling place does not comply with the 
requirements of this chapter the election judges of that 
precinct, on or before the opening of the polls on election day 
and upon approval by the municipal clerk in municipalities or 
school districts or the county auditor in unorganized territory, 
shall procure a polling place which is as near the designated 
polling place as possible and which does comply with those 
requirements.  
    When a new polling place is procured by the election 
judges, they shall meet on election day at the original polling 
place where they shall fill any vacancies in their number, 
publicly announce the change in polling place to the voters who 
are present and post a notice in large print of the change in a 
conspicuous place.  They shall also post a notice in a location 
visible by voters who vote from their motor vehicles as provided 
in 204C.15, subdivision 2.  Upon completing these duties the 
election judges shall adjourn to the new polling place, where 
they shall post a similar notice of the change in polling 
place.  The election judges shall certify to the appropriate 
governing body the expenses incurred because of the change.  
These expenses shall be paid as part of the expenses of the 
election.  
    Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 204B.44, is 
amended to read: 
    204B.44 [ERRORS AND OMISSIONS; REMEDY.] 
    Any individual may file a petition in the manner provided 
in this section for the correction of any of the following 
errors, omissions or wrongful acts which have occurred or are 
about to occur:  
    (a) An error or omission in the placement or printing of 
the name or description of any candidate or any question on any 
official ballot; 
    (b) Any other error in preparing or printing any official 
ballot; 
    (c) Failure of the chair or secretary of the proper 
committee of a major political party to execute or file a 
certificate of nomination; 
    (d) Any wrongful act, omission, or error of any election 
judge, municipal clerk, county auditor, canvassing board or any 
of its members, the secretary of state, or any other individual 
charged with any duty concerning an election.  
    The petition shall describe the error, omission or wrongful 
act and the correction sought by the petitioner.  The petition 
shall be filed with any judge of the supreme court in the case 
of an election for state or federal office or any judge of the 
district court in that county in the case of an election for 
county or, municipal, or school district office.  The petitioner 
shall serve a copy of the petition on the officer, board or 
individual charged with the error, omission or wrongful act, and 
on any other party as required by the court.  Upon receipt of 
the petition the court shall immediately set a time for a 
hearing on the matter and order the officer, board or individual 
charged with the error, omission or wrongful act to correct the 
error or wrongful act or perform the duty or show cause for not 
doing so.  The court shall issue its findings and a final order 
for appropriate relief as soon as possible after the hearing.  
Failure to obey the order is contempt of court.  
    Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 204C.22, is 
amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
     Subd. 3a.  [VOTES YES AND NO.] If a voter votes both yes 
and no on a question, no vote may be counted for that question, 
but the rest of the ballot must be counted if possible. 
    Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 204C.22, 
subdivision 9, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 9.  [VOTES FOR ONLY SOME OFFICES OR QUESTIONS 
DETERMINED.] If the voter's choice for only some of the 
offices or questions can be determined from a ballot, the ballot 
shall be counted for those offices or questions only.  
    Sec. 9.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 204C.22, 
subdivision 10, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 10.  [DIFFERENT MARKS.] If a voter uniformly uses a 
mark other than (X) which clearly indicates an intent to mark a 
name or to mark yes or no on a question, and the voter does not 
use (X) anywhere else on the ballot, a vote shall be counted for 
each candidate or position response to a question marked.  If a 
voter uses two or more distinct marks, such as (X) and some 
other mark, a vote shall be counted for each candidate 
or position response to a question marked, unless the ballot is 
marked by distinguishing characteristics that make the entire 
ballot defective as provided in subdivision 13.  
    Sec. 10.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 204C.22, 
subdivision 15, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 15.  [BLANK BALLOT FOR ONE OR MORE OFFICES VALID.] If 
no name or position response to a question is marked and no name 
is written in, the ballot is blank with respect to that office 
or question.  A ballot that is blank with respect to one or more 
offices or questions is not defective.  
    Sec. 11.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 204D.04, 
subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 2.  [INSTRUCTIONS TO PRINTER; PRINTER'S BOND.] The 
official charged with the preparation and distribution of the 
ballots shall prepare instructions to the printer for rotation 
of the names of candidates, for layout of the ballot and for 
providing the ballots in groups of 50.  The instructions shall 
be approved by the legal advisor of the official before delivery 
to the printer.  Before a contract is awarded for printing 
ballots, the printer shall furnish a sufficient bond, letter of 
credit, or certified check, acceptable to the official 
responsible for printing the ballots, in an amount not less than 
$1,000 conditioned on printing the ballots in conformity with 
the Minnesota election law and the instructions delivered.  If 
the cost of the ballots exceeds $1,000 the official responsible 
for printing the ballots shall set the amount of the bond, 
letter of credit, or certified check in an amount no greater 
than the value of the purchase.  
    Sec. 12.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 205A.05, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
    Subdivision 1.  [QUESTIONS.] Special elections must be held 
for a school district on a question on which the voters are 
authorized by law to pass judgment.  The school board may on its 
own motion call a special election to vote on any matter 
requiring approval of the voters of a district.  Upon petition 
of 50 or more voters of the school district or five percent of 
the number of voters voting at the preceding regular school 
district election, the school board shall by resolution call a 
special election to vote on any matter requiring approval of the 
voters of a district.  A question is carried only with the 
majority in its favor required by law.  The election officials 
for a special election are the same as for the most recent 
school district general election unless changed according to 
law.  Otherwise, special elections must be conducted and the 
returns made in the manner provided for the school district 
general election.  A special election may not be held during the 
20 30 days before and the 30 days after any regularly scheduled 
statewide the state primary or state general election or.  In 
addition, a special election may not be held during the 20 days 
before and the 20 days after any regularly scheduled election of 
a municipality wholly or partially within the school district.  
Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the time period 
in which a special election must be conducted under any other 
law may be extended by the school board to conform with the 
requirements of this subdivision. 
    Sec. 13.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 205A.07, is 
amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
     Subd. 4.  [NO ADDITIONAL POSTING REQUIREMENTS.] A school 
district is only required to comply with the election posting 
requirements specified in the Minnesota election law and the 
education code and is not required to comply with additional 
posting requirements specified in any other law. 
    Sec. 14.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 205A.09, 
subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 2.  [OTHER SCHOOL DISTRICTS.] At a school district 
election in a school district other than one described in 
subdivision 1, the school board, by resolution adopted before 
giving notice of the election, may designate the time, in no 
event less than three hours, during which the polling places 
will remain open for voting at the next succeeding and all later 
school district general elections.  The resolution must remain 
in force until it is revoked by the school board or changed 
because of request by voters as provided in this subdivision.  
If a petition requesting longer voting hours, signed by a number 
of voters equal to 20 percent of the votes cast at the last 
school district election, is presented to the school district 
clerk no later than 30 days before a school district election, 
then the polling places for that election must open at 10:00 
a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.  The school district clerk must give 
ten days' published notice and posted notice of the changed 
voting hours and notify appropriate county auditors of the 
change.  School districts covered by this subdivision must 
certify their election hours to the county auditor in January of 
each year.  
    Sec. 15.  Minnesota Statutes 1989 Supplement, section 
205A.10, subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 2.  [ELECTION, CONDUCT.] A school district election 
must be by secret ballot and must be held and the returns made 
in the manner provided for the state general election, as far as 
practicable.  The vote totals from an absentee ballot board 
established pursuant to section 203B.13 may be tabulated and 
reported by the school district as a whole rather than by 
precinct.  For school district elections not held in conjunction 
with a statewide election, the school board shall appoint 
election judges as provided in section 204B.21, subdivision 
2.  The provisions of sections 204B.19, subdivision 5; 204C.15; 
204C.19; 206.63; 206.74, subdivision 3; 206.75; and 206.83 
relating to party balance in appointment of judges and to duties 
to be performed by judges of different major political parties 
do not apply to school district elections not held in 
conjunction with a statewide election. 
    Sec. 16.  Minnesota Statutes 1989 Supplement, section 
205A.10, subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 3.  [CANVASS OF RETURNS, CERTIFICATE OF ELECTION, 
BALLOTS, DISPOSITION.] Within two seven days after a school 
district election other than a recount of a special election 
conducted under section 124A.03, subdivision 2, or 475.59, the 
school board shall canvass the returns and declare the results 
of the election.  After the time for contesting elections has 
passed, the school district clerk shall issue a certificate of 
election to each successful candidate.  If there is a contest, 
the certificate of election to that office must not be issued 
until the outcome of the contest has been determined by the 
proper court.  If there is a tie vote, the school board shall 
determine the result by lot.  The clerk shall deliver the 
certificate of election to the successful candidate by personal 
service or certified mail.  The successful candidate shall file 
an acceptance and oath of office in writing with the clerk 
within 30 days of the date of mailing or personal service.  A 
person who fails to qualify prior to the time specified shall be 
deemed to have refused to serve, but that filing may be made at 
any time before action to fill the vacancy has been taken.  The 
school district clerk shall certify the results of the election 
to the county auditor, and the clerk shall be the final 
custodian of the ballots and the returns of the election. 
    A school district canvassing board shall perform the duties 
of the school board according to the requirements of this 
subdivision for a recount of a special election conducted under 
section 124A.03, subdivision 2, or 475.59.  
    Sec. 17.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 205A.11, is 
amended to read: 
    205A.11 [PRECINCTS; POLLING PLACES.] 
    The precincts and polling places for school district 
elections are those precincts or parts of precincts and polling 
places set in sections 204B.14 to 204B.16, except that at a 
school district election not held on the day of a statewide 
election, the school board may, in the manner specified in this 
section, combine several precincts into a single combined 
precinct with one polling place and one set of election judges.  
The school board shall establish combined precincts and polling 
places for an election by resolution adopted at least 30 days 
before an the election, post a map of the combined 
precincts, and file a copy of the map and resolution with the 
county auditor, and cause notice of the election to be published 
in the official newspaper of the district, which notice must 
include information concerning each established combined 
precinct and polling place.  At school district elections not 
held on the day of a statewide election, precincts located in 
separate counties may be combined into a single combined 
precinct with one polling place and one set of election judges 
if duplicate voter registration files are maintained for the 
voters of each county.  
    Sec. 18.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 209.02, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
    Subdivision 1.  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 the voter had the 
right to vote if that person is declared nominated or elected to 
the senate or the house of representatives of the United States, 
or to a statewide, county, legislative, municipal, school, or 
district court office; or (2) the declared result of a 
constitutional amendment or other question voted upon at an 
election.  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, over the number of votes legally cast in favor of or 
against a question, or on the grounds of deliberate, serious, 
and material violations of the Minnesota election law. 
    Sec. 19.  Minnesota Statutes 1989 Supplement, section 
209.021, subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
    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 
special primary or within seven days after the canvass is 
completed in the case of a special or 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 or special election 
or within five days after the filing of the statements in the 
case of a primary or special 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.  
    Sec. 20.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 209.03, is 
amended to read: 
    209.03 [CONTESTEE'S ANSWER.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [CONTEST OF VOTE COUNT.] 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 or the number of votes legally cast in favor of or 
against a question, 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 
the contestee's answer to the notice of contest must be filed 
and served on the contestant.  The answer must so far as 
practicable conform to the rules for pleading in civil actions.  
If the contest relates to a primary or special primary, service 
of the answer must be made within the time fixed by the court, 
but no more than five days after service of the notice of 
contest.  If the contest relates to a general or special 
election, service of the answer must be made within seven days 
after service of the notice of contest.  The contestee's answer 
must be served in the same manner as the answer in a civil 
action or in the manner the court may order.  Any other notices 
must be served in the manner and within the times the court may 
order.  
    Sec. 21.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 209.09, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
    Subdivision 1.  [MOST CONTESTS.] If the decision of the 
district court in any contest under this chapter is appealed, 
the appellant shall file in the district court a bond of $500 
for the payment of all costs incurred by the respondent if 
appellant fails on the appeal.  Except for a statewide contest 
or a state legislative contest, the notice of appeal must be 
served and filed in the court of appeals in the case of a 
general or special election no later than ten days and, in the 
case of a primary or special primary, no later than five days 
after the entry of the district court's decision in the 
contest.  The record on appeal must be made, certified, and 
filed in the court of appeals within 15 days after service of 
notice of appeal.  The appeal may be brought on for hearing in 
the court at any time, upon notice from either party, as the 
court determines; and may be heard and determined summarily by 
the court.  
    Sec. 22.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 211A.01, 
subdivision 6, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 6.  [DISBURSEMENT.] "Disbursement" means money, 
property, office, position, or any other thing of value that 
passes or is directly or indirectly conveyed, given, promised, 
paid, expended, pledged, contributed, or lent.  "Disbursement" 
does not include payment by a county, municipality, school 
district, or other political subdivision for election-related 
expenditures required or authorized by law. 
     Sec. 23.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
     This act is effective the day following final enactment. 
    Presented to the governor April 12, 1990 
    Signed by the governor April 16, 1990, 4:45 p.m.