203B.08 Marking and return of absentee ballots.
Subdivision 1. Marking and return by voter. 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 or may be left with the county auditor or municipal clerk who transmitted the absentee ballots to the voter.
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. 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.
Subd. 1a. Electronic voting system authorized. An electronic voting system approved and authorized for use under chapter 206 may be used for absentee voting when the voter applies in person to the municipal clerk for an absentee ballot and chooses to vote at the time of application. The municipal clerk designated under the provisions of section 203B.05 must give written notice to the county auditor prior to each state primary election that an electronic voting system will be used for absentee voting. The county auditor may provide that an electronic voting system approved and authorized for use under chapter 206 may be used for absentee voting when the voter applies in person to the county auditor for an absentee ballot and chooses to vote at the time of application. Paper ballots must be used when ballots are delivered to temporary or permanent residents or patients in a health care facility as provided in section 203B.11, or when applications are submitted by mail.
Subd. 2. Address on return envelopes. The county auditor or municipal clerk shall address return envelopes to allow direct mailing of the absentee ballots to:
(a) The county auditor or municipal clerk who sent the ballots to the voter;
(b) The clerk of the town or city in which the absent voter is eligible to vote; or
(c) The appropriate election judges.
Subd. 3. Procedures on receipt of ballots. When absentee ballots are returned to a county auditor or 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 municipal clerk shall deliver them to the appropriate election judges on election day.
Subd. 3a. Procedures for safeguarding electronically marked ballots. When the voter has completed marking the ballot as authorized under subdivision 1a, the voter shall remove the ballot card from the electronic voting device, insert it in a security envelope, and place the security envelope in an absentee ballot return envelope which is to be signed by the voter and witnessed as provided in section 203B.07, subdivision 2. The return envelope in which a ballot card is returned shall be dated and initialed by hand by the auditor or clerk and placed in a secure location with other absentee ballot cards marked under subdivision 1a.
Subd. 4. Rules. The secretary of state shall adopt rules establishing procedures to be followed by county auditors and municipal clerks to assure accurate and timely return of absentee ballots. The rules of the secretary of state may authorize procedures and methods of return in addition to those specified in this section.