If the election judges fail to deliver returns as required by section 204C.27, the county auditor or municipal or school district clerk to whom the returns should have been delivered shall dispatch a special messenger to obtain them. The messenger shall receive the same compensation as an election judge would receive for performing the same service and shall be subject to the same penalties as an election judge for violation of any provision of the Minnesota Election Law.
An officer to whom election returns are required to be made shall not refuse to receive them because they are delivered in any manner other than that prescribed by law, except that the returns must be sealed. No canvassing board shall refuse to include any returns in its canvass of votes because of any informality in holding the election or making returns. All returns shall be received and the votes canvassed by the canvassing board and included in its statements when there is substantial compliance with the provisions of the Minnesota Election Law.
No individual who is appointed to carry a report, certificate, or certified copy of election returns shall intentionally mutilate, tear, deface or obliterate any portion of it or do any act to prevent its delivery. No individual shall take or accept from a messenger any report, certificate or certified copy of election returns with intent to prevent its delivery, or having taken or accepted it, shall mutilate, tear, deface, obliterate, or destroy any portion of it. A violation of this subdivision is a felony.