Minnesota Glossary

200.02   DEFINITIONS.

Subdivision 1. Application. The terms defined in this section apply to the Minnesota Election Law.

Subd. 2. General election. “General election” means an election held at regular intervals on a day determined by law or charter at which the voters of the state or any of its subdivisions choose by ballot public officials or presidential electors.

Subd. 3. Primary. “Primary” means an election at which the voters of the state or any of its subdivisions

choose by ballot the nominees for the offices to be filled at a general election.

Subd. 4. Special election. “Special election” means:

(1)          an election held at any time to fill vacancies in state or federal offices; or

(2)          an election for a special purpose held by a subdivision of the state on a date authorized by section 205.10, subdivision 3a, or 205A.05, subdivision 1a.

Subd. 5. Special primary. “Special primary” means an election held to choose the nominees for vacant

public offices to be filled at a special election.

Subd. 6. Political party. “Political party” means an association of individuals under whose name a

candidate files for partisan office.

Subd. 7. Major political party. (a) "Major political party" means a political party that maintains a party organization in the state, political division or precinct in question and that has presented at least one candidate for election to the office of:

(1)          governor and lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, or attorney general at the last preceding state general election for those offices; or

(2)          presidential elector or U.S. senator at the last preceding state general election for presidential electors; and whose candidate received votes in each county in that election and received votes from not less than five percent of the total number of individuals who voted in that election.

(b)          "Major political party" also means a political party that maintains a party organization in the state, political subdivision, or precinct in question and that has presented at least 45 candidates for election to the office of state representative, 23 candidates for election to the office of state senator, four candidates for election to the office of representative in Congress, and one candidate for election to each of the following offices: governor and lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and state auditor, at the last preceding state general election for those offices.

(c)           "Major political party" also means a political party that maintains a party organization in the state, political subdivision, or precinct in question and whose members present to the secretary of state at any time before the close of filing for the state partisan primary ballot a petition for a place on the state partisan primary ballot, which petition contains valid signatures of a number of the party members equal to at least five percent of the total number of individuals who voted in the preceding state general election. A signature is valid only if signed no more than one year prior to the date the petition was filed.

(d)          A political party whose candidate receives a sufficient number of votes at a state general election described in paragraph (a) or a political party that presents candidates at an election as required by paragraph (b) becomes a major political party as of January 1 following that election and retains its major party status for at least two state general elections even if the party fails to present a candidate who receives the number and percentage of votes required under paragraph (a) or fails to present candidates as required by paragraph (b) at subsequent state general elections.

(e)          A major political party whose candidates fail to receive the number and percentage of votes required under paragraph (a) and that fails to present candidates as required by paragraph (b) at each of two consecutive state general elections described by paragraph (a) or (b), respectively, loses major party status as of December 31 following the later of the two consecutive state general elections.

Subd. 8. City. “City” means a home rule charter or statutory city.

Subd. 9. Municipality. “Municipality” means any city or town.

Subd. 10. Governing body. “Governing body” means the board of commissioners of a county, the elected council of a city, or the board of supervisors of a town.

Subd. 11. Precinct. “Precinct” means a geographical area the boundaries of which are established for

election purposes in accordance with section 204B.14.

Subd. 12. Polling place. “Polling place” means the place of voting.

Subd. 13. Convention. “Convention” means an organized body of delegates assembled for the purpose of transacting the business of a major political party.

Subd. 14. Election board. “Election board” means the election judges serving in a precinct.

Subd. 15. Eligible voter. “Eligible voter” means an individual who is eligible to vote under section 201.014.

Subd. 16. County auditor. “County auditor” means the county auditor or, in counties where that office

does not exist, the principal county officer charged with duties relating to elections.

Subd. 17. Member of a major political party. “Member of a major political party” means an individual who:

(a)          Supports the general principles of that party’s constitution;

(b)          Voted for a majority of that party’s candidates in the last general election; or

(c)           Intends to vote for a majority of that party’s candidates in the next general election.

Subd. 18. Oath, swear, sworn. “Oath” means an oath or affirmation, as the conscience of the individual dictates. If an affirmation is given instead of an oath, “swear” means to affirm and “sworn” means affirmed.

Subd. 19. School district. “School district” means an independent, special, or county school district.

Subd. 20. Statewide registration system. “Statewide registration system” means the computerized central statewide voter registration system and database developed and maintained by the secretary of state pursuant to section 201.022.

Subd. 21. Local election official. “Local election official” means the municipal clerk or principal officer

charged with duties relating to elections.

Subd. 23. Minor political party. (a) "Minor political party" means a political party that has adopted a state constitution, designated a state party chair, held a state convention in the last two years, filed with the secretary of state no later than December 31 following the most recent state general election a certification that the party has met the foregoing requirements, and met the requirements of paragraph (b) or (e), as applicable.

(b)          To be considered a minor party in all elections statewide, the political party must have presented at least one candidate:

(1)          for election to the office of governor and lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, or attorney general, at the last preceding state general election for those offices; or

(2)          for election to the office of presidential elector or U.S. senator at the preceding state general election for presidential electors; and

(3)          who received votes in each county that in the aggregate equal at least one percent of the total number of individuals who voted in the election, or its members must have presented to the secretary of state at any time before the close of filing for the state partisan primary ballot a nominating petition in a form prescribed by the secretary of state containing the valid signatures of party members in a number equal to at least one percent of the total number of individuals who voted in the preceding state general election. A signature is valid only if signed no more than one year prior to the date the petition was filed.

(c)           A political party whose candidate receives a sufficient number of votes at a state general election described in paragraph (b) becomes a minor political party as of January 1 following that election and retains its minor party status for at least two state general elections even if the party fails to present a candidate who receives the number and percentage of votes required under paragraph (b) at subsequent state general elections.

(d)          A minor political party whose candidates fail to receive the number and percentage of votes required under paragraph (b) at each of two consecutive state general elections described by paragraph (b) loses minor party status as of December 31 following the later of the two consecutive state general elections.

(e)          A minor party that qualifies to be a major party loses its status as a minor party at the time it becomes a major party. Votes received by the candidates of a major party must be counted in determining whether the party received sufficient votes to qualify as a minor party, notwithstanding that the party does not receive sufficient votes to retain its major party status. To be considered a minor party in an election in a legislative district, the political party must have presented at least one candidate for a legislative office in that district who received votes from at least ten percent of the total number of individuals who voted for that office, or its members must have presented to the secretary of state a nominating petition in a form prescribed by the secretary of state containing the valid signatures of party members in a number equal to at least ten percent of the total number of individuals who voted in the preceding state general election for that legislative office. A signature is valid only if signed no more than one year prior to the date the petition was filed.

Subd. 24. Metropolitan area. "Metropolitan area" means the counties of Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Washington, and Wright.

Subd. 25. Polling place roster. “Polling place roster” or “roster” refers to a roster in (1) printed format; or (2) electronic format as permitted by section 201.225.

Subd. 26. Voter signature certificate. “Voter signature certificate” means a printed form or label generated from an electronic polling place roster that contains the voter’s name, address of residence, date of birth, voter identification number, the oath required by section 204C.10, and a space for the voter’s original signature. A voter signature certificate is not a “voter certificate” under section 204C.12.

Subd. 27. Partisan offices. “Partisan offices” means federal offices, presidential electors, constitutional

offices, and legislative offices.

Subd. 28. Nonpartisan offices. “Nonpartisan offices” means all judicial, county, municipal, school district, and special district offices.

Subd. 29. Original signature. “Original signature” does not include an electronic signature.

History: 1959 c 675 art 1 s 2; Ex1961 c 10 s 1; 1973 c 123 art 3 s 1; art 5 s 7; 1973 c 576 s 1; 1973 c 676 s 1,2; 1973 c

725 s 37; 1978 c 725 s 2; 1981 c 29 art 1 s 3; 1984 c 560 s 1; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 3; 1990 c 585 s 1; 1991 c 227 s 3; 1996

c 419 s 2,3,10; 1999 c 220 s 48; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 4,5; 1Sp2003 c 9 art 2 s 41,42; 1Sp2003 c 17 s 1; 2005 c 156 art

6 s 11-13; 2014 c 288 art 2 s 1; 2014 c 288 art 2 s 2; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 4-7; 2016 c 158 art 1 s 77 ; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 9;

2017 c 92 art 2 s 7

200.031 DETERMINATION OF RESIDENCE.

Residence shall be determined in accordance with the following principles, so far as they may be applicable to the facts of the case:

(a)          The residence of an individual is in the precinct where the individual’s home is located, from which the individual has no present intention of moving, and to which, whenever the individual is absent, the individual intends to return;

(b)          An individual does not lose residence if the individual leaves home to live temporarily in another state or precinct;

(c)           An individual does not acquire a residence in any precinct of this state if the individual is living there only temporarily, without the intention of making that precinct home;

(d)          If an individual goes into another state or precinct with the intention of making it home or files an affidavit of residence there for election purposes, the individual loses residence in the former precinct;

(e)          If an individual moves to another state with the intention of living there for an indefinite period, the individual loses residence in this state, notwithstanding any intention to return at some indefinite future time;

(f)           Except as otherwise provided in this section, an individual’s residence is located in the precinct where the individual’s family lives, unless the individual’s family is living in that precinct only temporarily;

(g)          If an individual’s family lives in one precinct and the individual lives or does business in another, the individual’s residence is located in the precinct where the individual’s family lives, unless the individual establishes a home in the other precinct and intends to remain there, with or without the individual’s family;

(h)          The residence of a single individual is in the precinct where the individual lives and usually sleeps;

(i)            The mere intention to acquire a new residence, is not sufficient to acquire a new residence, unless the individual moves to that location; moving to a new location is not sufficient to acquire a new residence unless the individual intends to remain there;

(j)            The residence of an individual who is working temporarily in any precinct of this state is in the precinct

where the individual’s permanent home is located;

(k)           The residence of an individual who is living permanently in a soldiers’ home or nursing home is in the

precinct where the home is located.

(l)            If an individual’s home lies in more than one precinct or political subdivision, the residence of the

individual is in the precinct in which a majority of the room in which the individual usually sleeps is located.

(m)         If an individual’s home is destroyed or rendered uninhabitable by fire or natural disaster, the individual does not lose residence in the precinct where the home is located if the individual intends to return to the home when it is reconstructed or made habitable.

History: 1981 c 29 art 1 s 4; 1986 c 444; 1997 c 147 s 1; 1999 c 132 s 2

NOTES AND DECISIONS 200.031

Vacation home for which owner receives homestead tax benefit not determinative of residence for purpose of qualifying for public office. Pope v. McKenna, No. C2-86-1230 (Minn. Sup. Ct. Referee's Findings, August 5, 1986). Order, No. C2-86-1230 (Minn. Sup. Ct., August 7, 1986) (denying petition to strike name from ballot).

Residence, for purposes of voting, is based on considerations of physical presence and intent. Bell v. Gannaway, 227 N.W. 2d 797 (Minn. 1975). Determination of whether an individual is a resident involves matters of fact. Id.

Question of residence is not a legal inquiry, it is one of fact, and the attorney general cannot determine questions of fact. The question is one for the proper election board to determine. Op. Atty. Gen. 590J-2, February 26, 1955.

That construction of this section should not be adopted which will result in the disfranchisement of a considerable number of voters, unless such construction is rendered necessary by express and unequivocal language. Op. Atty. Gen. 64-S, March 19, 1954.

When a man enters military service and his wife lives with him outside of Minnesota, neither loses his residence for purpose of voting. Op. Atty. Gen. 490J- 1, June 19, 1952. See also Op. Atty. Gen. 490K, September 2, 1944; Op. Atty. Gen. 490K, October 6, 1936.

Residence of wife ordinarily follows residence of husband. Op. Atty. Gen. 490J-2, March 28, 1952.

Ordinarily, and in absence of facts negating a person's statement of his intentions in regard to his residence, his statement should be accepted. Op. Atty. Gen. 226A-8, May 14, 1941.

Residency of school teachers and students is largely a matter of intention of permanent home. Op. Atty. Gen. 490L, December 1, 1938. See also Op. Atty. Gen. 490L, October 22, 1934; Op. Atty. Gen. 424B-19, March 16, 1934.

Even though a man is only temporarily employed in election district, if he intends permanent habitation, he may be a resident for voting purposes. Op. Atty. Gen. 490J-2, March 29, 1938. See also Op. Atty. Gen. 490A, September 2, 1938.

Persons receiving relief are not disqualified from exercising their right to vote. Op Atty. Gen. 339N, October 17, 1936.

Residence for voting purposes of person employed by the federal government in Washington, D.C. is not lost by reason of new tenant moving into building in Minnesota where such person formerly lived. All facts must be considered. Op. Atty. Gen. 490J-2, September 23, 1936.

Where the circumstances are such that a person may claim his legal residence at either one of two places, the place he regards as his home will be his residence for the purpose of voting. Ops. Atty. Gen. 490J-1, February 14, 1936; 440D, June 25, 1934; 28C-1, August 12, 1938; 274, P. 218, 1922.

Persons living on tax exempt property can vote if they have constitutional qualifications. Op. Atty. Gen. 187A-9, April 29, 1935.

Persons on relief rolls of a municipality may establish residence in another municipality for voting purposes. Op. Atty. Gen. 490L, November 28, 1934.

Commissioner should sustain a challenge and thereby annul the registration after considering all the evidence submitted by both sides only when it clearly appears from the evidence that the registrant is disqualified. Op. Atty. Gen. 183R, January 23, 1928.

A person should not be deprived of his right to vote in a doubtful case without at least giving him time to appeal before election. Id.

See also Minn. Const. art VII, s 2 and notes thereunder.

204B.145 DUTIES OF SECRETARY OF STATE; REDISTRICTING.

Following the completion of legislative redistricting, the secretary of state may coordinate and facilitate the exchange of information between the legislative redistricting computer system, the statewide voter registration system, and a computer system developed to assist the counties, municipalities, and school districts in redrawing election districts and establishing election precincts.

History: 1991 c 345 art 1 s 80

204B.146 DUTIES OF SECRETARY OF STATE.

Subdivision 1. Redistricting. The secretary of state shall conduct conferences with the county auditors, municipal clerks, and school district clerks to instruct them on the procedures for redistricting of election districts and establishment of election precincts in the year ending in one.

Subd. 2. Precinct and election district boundaries. The secretary of state shall maintain a computer database of precinct and election district boundaries. The secretary of state shall revise the information in the database whenever a precinct or election district boundary is changed. The secretary of state shall prepare maps illustrating precinct and election district boundaries in either paper or electronic formats and make them available to the public at the cost of production.

The secretary of state may authorize municipalities and counties to provide updated precinct and election district boundary information in electronic formats.

The secretary of state shall provide periodic updates of precinct and election district boundaries to the Legislative Coordinating Commission, the state demographer, and the land management information center. At the request of the county auditor, the secretary of state shall provide the county auditor with precinct maps.

The county auditor shall forward the maps to the appropriate municipal clerks, who shall post the map in the polling place on the day of the state primary and the state general election.

Subd. 3. Correction to election district boundaries. When a municipal boundary has changed and is coterminous with (1) a congressional, legislative, or county commissioner district boundary, or (2) a soil and water conservation district supervisor district boundary elected by district under section 103C.311, subdivision 2, and the affected territory contains 50 or fewer registered voters, the secretary of state may order corrections to move the affected election district boundaries so the boundaries are again coterminous with the municipal boundary. The election district boundary change is effective 28 days after the date that the order is issued. The secretary of state shall immediately notify the municipal clerk and county auditor affected by the boundary change and the Legislative Coordinating Commission. The municipal clerk shall send a nonforwardable notice

stating the location of the polling place to every household containing a registered voter affected by the boundary change at least 25 days before the next election.

History: 1991 c 349 s 35; 1993 c 208 s 3; 1997 c 147 s 27; 1999 c 132 s 18; 1999 c 237 s 2; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 6

204B.15 UNORGANIZED TERRITORY; ELECTION PRECINCTS.

A county board may establish new election precincts to serve the residents of unorganized territories. The board shall designate a polling place for the new precinct that is convenient for the individuals residing in it.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 15; 1997 c 147 s 28

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.15

County board has discretion to maintain polling places in reduced unorganized territory, despite fact that only suitable polling place is within ten miles of another voting place. Op. Atty. Gen. 185A-5, August 11, 1964.

204C.24 ELECTION RETURNS; SUMMARY STATEMENTS.

Subdivision 1. Information requirements. Precinct summary statements shall be submitted by the election judges in every precinct. For all elections, the election judges shall complete three or more copies of the summary statements, and each copy shall contain the following information for each kind of ballot:

(a)          the number of ballots delivered to the precinct as adjusted by the actual count made by the election judges, the number of unofficial ballots made, and the number of absentee ballots delivered to the precinct;

(b)          the number of votes each candidate received or the number of yes and no votes on each question, the number of undervotes, the number of overvotes, and the number of defective ballots with respect to each office or question;

(c)           the number of spoiled ballots, the number of duplicate ballots made, the number of absentee ballots rejected, and the number of unused ballots, presuming that the total count provided on each package of unopened prepackaged ballots is correct;

(d)          the number of individuals who voted at the election in the precinct which must equal the total number of ballots cast in the precinct, as required by sections 204C.20 and 206.86, subdivision 1;

(e)          the number of voters registering on election day in that precinct; and

(f)           the signatures of the election judges who counted the ballots certifying that all of the ballots cast were properly piled, checked, and counted; and that the numbers entered by the election judges on the summary statements correctly show the number of votes cast for each candidate and for and against each question.

At least two copies of the summary statement must be prepared for elections not held on the same day as the state elections.

Subd. 2. Sealing in envelopes. The election judges shall place a full set of completed summary statements in each of three separate envelopes and seal them so that the envelopes cannot be opened without leaving evidence that they have been opened. The election judges shall then sign each envelope over the sealed part so that no envelope can be opened without disturbing the continuity of the signatures. Each of the envelopes shall show substantially the following information on its face:

“Summary statements of the returns of the .... election precinct, (Town) or (City) of          , or (School District Number) ...., in the County of      , State of Minnesota.”

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 24; 1981 c 217 s 7; 1983 c 253 s 15; 1984 c 447 s 31; 1987 c 175 s 8; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 40; 1988 c 646 s 6; 1999 c 132 s 22; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 47; 2010 c 201 s 40

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.24

The function of canvassing election returns is ministerial, and it entails review only of the precinct summary statements of returns, not examination of actual ballots.  Coleman v. Ritchie, 759 N.W.2d 47 (Minn. 2009).

County auditor can appoint messenger only when and if judges do not perform their duties by delivering election returns. Op. Atty. Gen. 183S, October 31, 1962.

During the time that an election judge is performing his duties, he does not have the right to be performing any other public duties of any kind or nature. Op. Atty. Gen. 183L, May 27, 1953.

204C.25 DISPOSITION OF BALLOTS.

After the count and the summary statements have been completed, in the presence of all the election judges, the counted, defective and blank ballots shall be placed in envelopes, and the envelopes shall be sealed. The election judges shall sign each envelope over the sealed part so that the envelope cannot be opened without disturbing the continuity of the signatures. The number of ballots in each envelope, the name of the town or city, and the name of the precinct shall be plainly written upon the envelopes. The number and name of the district must be plainly written on envelopes containing school district ballots. The spoiled ballots shall be placed in separate envelopes and returned with the unused ballots to the county auditor or municipal or school district clerk from whom they were received.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 25; 1983 c 253 s 16; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 41; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 35

204C.26 SUMMARY STATEMENTS AND ENVELOPES FOR BALLOT RETURNS; ELECTION OFFICIALS TO FURNISH.

Subdivision 1. Summary statements. For state elections, each official responsible for printing ballots shall furnish three or more blank summary statement forms for the returns of those ballots for each precinct. At least two copies of the summary statement must be prepared for elections not held on the same day as the state elections. The blank summary statement forms shall be furnished at the same time and in the same manner as the ballots. The county auditor shall furnish blank summary statement forms containing separate space for the summary statement of the returns of the state general election ballot.

Subd. 2. Summary statements; contents. The blank summary statement forms furnished to each precinct shall identify the precinct, ward number if any, city, school district if applicable, or town, date, and kind of election and, under appropriate headings identifying each color ballot, shall contain spaces for the election judges to enter the information required by section 204C.24, subdivision 1.

Each blank summary statement form shall also contain a certificate to be signed by the election judges stating that the national flag was displayed on a suitable staff during voting hours; that all of the ballots cast were properly piled, checked, and counted; and that the numbers entered by the election judges on the summary statements correctly show the number of votes cast for each candidate and for and against each question.

Subd. 3. Secretary of state. No later than ten weeks before the state primary in each even-numbered year, the secretary of state shall prescribe the form for summary statements of election returns and the methods by which returns for the state primary and state general election shall be recorded by precinct, county, and state election officials. Each county auditor and municipal or school district clerk required to furnish summary statements shall prepare them in the manner prescribed by the secretary of state. The summary statement of the primary returns shall be in the same form as the summary statement of the general election returns except that a separate part of the summary statement shall be provided for the partisan primary ballot and a separate part for the nonpartisan primary ballot.

Subd. 4. Envelopes for counted ballots. Each official responsible for printing ballots shall also furnish envelopes to contain those ballots after they have been counted. The envelopes shall be made of heavy paper, printed or marked to distinguish the color of the ballots to be contained in them. They shall be of convenient size to hold the ballots and shall be furnished at the same time and in the same manner as the ballots.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 26; 1981 c 217 s 8; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 42,43; 1999 c 132 s 23 ; 2010 c 184 s 19; 2014 c

264 s 18

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.26

Statutory requirement that all ballots must be initialed by election judges is intended to assure voter that he is given an authentic ballot, to enable public to identify actual ballot cast in event of election contest, and to prevent fraud. Johnson v. Trinka, 277 Minn. 470, 154 N.W. 2d 185 (1967).

County auditor can appoint messenger only when and if judges do not perform their duties by delivering election returns. Op. Atty. Gen. 183S, October 31, 1962.

During the time that an election judge is performing his duties, he does not have the right to be performing any other public duties of any kind or nature. Op. Atty. Gen. 183L, May 27, 1953.

204C.27 DELIVERY OF RETURNS TO COUNTY AUDITORS.

Amendment is effective August 1, 2021  One or more of the election judges in each precinct shall deliver two one set sets of summary statements;

all spoiled ballots; and the envelopes containing the ballots either directly to the municipal clerk for transmittal

to the county auditor’s office or directly to the county auditor’s office as soon as possible after the vote counting is completed but no later than 24 hours after the end of the hours for voting. One or more election judges shall deliver the remaining set of summary statements and returns, all unused and spoiled municipal and school district ballots, the envelopes containing municipal and school district ballots, and all other things furnished by

the municipal or school district clerk, to the municipal or school district clerk’s office within 24 hours after the end of the hours for voting. The municipal or school district clerk shall return all polling place rosters and completed voter registration cards to the county auditor within 48 hours after the end of the hours for voting.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 27; 1984 c 560 s 16; 1987 c 175 s 9; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 44; 1990 c 585 s 29; 2013 c 131

art 2 s 36; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 12

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.27

County auditor can appoint messenger only when and if judges do not perform their duties by delivering election returns. Op. Atty. Gen. 183S, October 31, 1962.

During the time that an election judge is performing his duties, he does not have the right to be performing any other public duties of any kind or nature. Op. Atty. Gen. 183L, May 27, 1953.

204C.28 ELECTION NIGHT; DUTIES OF COUNTY AUDITORS AND MUNICIPAL CLERKS.

Subdivision 1. County auditor. Every county auditor shall remain at the auditor’s office to receive delivery of the returns, to permit public inspection of the summary statements, and to tabulate the votes until all have been tabulated and the results made known, or until 24 hours have elapsed since the end of the hours for voting, whichever occurs first. Every county auditor shall, in the presence of the municipal clerk or the election judges who deliver the returns, make a record of all materials delivered, the time of delivery, and the names of the municipal clerk or election judges who made delivery. The record must include the number of ballots delivered to the precinct, as certified by section 204B.28, and the total number of ballots returned, as certified by the election judges under section 204C.24. A discrepancy between the number of ballots delivered to the precinct and the number of total ballots returned by election judges that cannot be reconciled by taking into account the adjustments made by the election judge counts and any unofficial ballots must be noted, but does not necessarily require disqualification of the votes from that precinct or invalidation of the election. The county auditor shall file the record and all envelopes containing ballots in a safe and secure place with envelope seals unbroken. Access to the record and ballots shall be strictly controlled. Accountability and a record of access shall be maintained by the county auditor during the period for contesting elections or, if a contest is filed, until the contest has been finally determined. Thereafter, the record, shall be retained in the auditor’s office for the same period as the ballots as provided in section 204B.40.

The county auditor shall file all envelopes containing ballots in a safe place with seals unbroken. If the envelopes were previously opened by proper authority for examination or recount, the county auditor shall have the envelopes sealed again and signed by the individuals who made the inspection or recount. The envelopes may be opened by the county canvassing board if necessary to procure election returns that the election judges inadvertently may have sealed in the envelopes with the ballots. In that case, the envelopes shall be sealed again and signed in the same manner as otherwise provided in this subdivision.

Subd. 2. Clerks. The clerk of every first, second, and third class city shall remain at the clerk’s office to receive delivery of returns, or until 24 hours have elapsed since the end of the hours for voting, whichever occurs first. The clerk of every first class city shall keep a book in which, in the presence of the election judges or other individuals who deliver the returns, the clerk shall make a record of all materials delivered, the time of delivery, and the names of the election judges or other individuals who made delivery. The record must include the number of ballots delivered to the precinct, as certified by section 204B.28, and the total number of ballots returned, as certified by the election judges under section 204C.24. A discrepancy between the number of ballots delivered to the precinct and the number of total ballots returned by election judges that cannot be reconciled by taking into account the adjustments made by the election judge counts and any unofficial ballots must be noted, but does not necessarily require disqualification of the votes from that precinct or invalidation of the election. The book shall be retained in the clerk’s office for the same period as the ballots as provided in section 204B.40.

Subd. 3. School district returns and materials. At a school district election held in conjunction with a state election, the county auditor or municipal clerk shall deliver the summary statements of the school district election returns, all unused and spoiled school district ballots, and the envelope containing the school district ballots from each precinct to the clerk of the appropriate school district within 48 hours after the polls close.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 28; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 45; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 48; 2010 c 201 s 41, 42

204C.29 IMPROPER DELIVERY OF RETURNS.

Subdivision 1. Failure of election judges to make delivery; penalty. 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.

Subd. 2. Irregularities in delivery. 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.

Subd. 3. Damaging returns or preventing delivery; penalty. 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.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 29; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 46

204C.30 Subdivision 1. [Repealed, 2015 c 70 art 1 s 63]

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 30

CANVASSING BOARDS; CERTIFICATION OF ELECTION RESULTS 204C.31 CANVASSING BOARDS; MEMBERSHIP.

Subdivision 1. County canvassing board. The county canvassing board shall consist of the county auditor, the court administrator of the district court, the mayor or chair of the town board of the county’s most populous municipality, and two members of the county board selected by the board from its members who are not candidates at the election. Any member of the canvassing board may appoint a designee to appear at the meeting of the board, except that no designee may be a candidate for public office. If one of these individuals fails to appear at the meeting of the canvassing board and in the absence of any selection by the county board from among its own members, the county auditor shall appoint an eligible voter of the county who is not a public official or a candidate for public office to fill the vacancy. Three members constitute a quorum.

Subd. 2. State Canvassing Board. The state canvassing board shall consist of the secretary of state, two judges of the supreme court, and two judges of the district court selected by the secretary of state. None of the judges shall be a candidate at the election. If a judge fails to appear at the meeting of the canvassing board, the secretary of state shall fill the vacancy in membership by selecting another judge who is not a candidate at the election. Not more than two judges of the supreme court shall serve on the canvassing board at one time.

Subd. 3. Duties of canvassing boards. The returns from every election held in this state must be reported to a legally constituted canvassing board. The duties of each canvassing board are limited to those duties specified in sections 204C.32 to 204C.39.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 31; 1986 c 444; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82; 1987 c 175 s 10; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 13; 1993 c 223 s

13; 1997 c 147 s 39

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.31

Canvassing board does not determine whether write-in candidate has qualifications for position. Op. Atty. Gen. 399E, December 3, 1962.

Only the county canvassing board canvasses returns for statewide office and forwards results of said canvass to secretary of state. Op. Atty. Gen. 183E, November 15, 1962.

County canvassing board may not open ballot boxes and inspect each paper ballot except after notice to candidates. Op. Atty. Gen. 183C, November 12, 1962.

County canvassing board must inspect the registering counter or other mechanical device on each voting machine used and compare the numbers with those reported by the election officials. Op. Atty. Gen. 183C, November 8, 1962.

When the county auditor inadvertently fails to include the congressional candidates’ names on the primary ballot, the county canvassing board should perform their duties in the routine manner. Op. Atty. Gen. 183B, September 13, 1962.

State canvassing board may be convened as soon as possible when required subsequent to special election. Op. Atty. Gen. 185B-1, February 25, 1958. Clerk of court and auditor may serve on canvassing board even though candidates for reelection. Op. Atty. Gen. 183C, November 1, 1950.

204C.32 CANVASS OF STATE PRIMARIES.

Subdivision 1. County canvass. The county canvassing board shall meet at the county auditor’s office on either the second or third day following the state primary. After taking the oath of office, the canvassing board shall publicly canvass the election returns delivered to the county auditor. The board shall complete the canvass by the third day following the state primary and shall promptly prepare and file with the county auditor a report that states:

(a)          The number of individuals voting at the election in the county, and in each precinct;

(b)          The number of individuals registering to vote on election day and the number of individuals registered before election day in each precinct;

(c)           For each major political party, the names of the candidates running for each partisan office and the number of votes received by each candidate in the county and in each precinct;

(d)          The names of the candidates of each major political party who are nominated; and

(e)          The number of votes received by each of the candidates for nonpartisan office in each precinct in the county and the names of the candidates nominated for nonpartisan office.

Upon completion of the canvass, the county auditor shall mail or deliver a notice of nomination to each nominee for county office voted for only in that county. The county auditor shall transmit one of the certified copies of the county canvassing board report for state and federal offices to the secretary of state by express mail or similar service immediately upon conclusion of the county canvass. The secretary of state shall mail a notice of nomination to each nominee for state or federal office.

Subd. 2. State canvass. The State Canvassing Board shall meet at a public meeting space located in the Capitol complex area seven days after the state primary to canvass the certified copies of the county canvassing board reports received from the county auditors. Immediately after the canvassing board declares the results, the secretary of state shall certify the names of the nominees to the county auditors. The secretary of state shall mail to each nominee a notice of nomination.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 32; 1983 c 303 s 14; 1984 c 560 s 17; 1993 c 223 s 14; 1997 c 147 s 40; 2000 c 467 s 20; 2010 c 194 s 18 ; 2011 c 65 s 4; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 20

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.32

State canvassing board may be directed to reconvene to correct error. Haroldson v. Norman, 146 Minn. 426, 178 N.W. 1003 (1920). Function of canvassing boards is ministerial. Taylor v. Taylor, 10 Minn. 107, Gil. 81 (1865).

Clerk of court and auditor may serve on canvassing board even though candidates for reelection. Op. Atty. Gen. 183C, November 1, 1950. Canvassing board does not determine whether write-in candidates has qualifications for position. Op. Atty. Gen. 399E, December 3, 1962.

Only the county canvassing board canvasses returns for statewide office and forwards results of said canvass to secretary of state. Op. Atty. Gen. 183E, November 15, 1962.

County canvassing board may not open ballot boxes and inspect each paper ballot except after notice to candidates. Op. Atty. Gen. 183C, November 12, 1962.

County canvassing board must inspect the registering counter or other mechanical device on each voting machine used and compare the numbers with those reported by the election officials. Op. Atty. Gen. 183C, November 8, 1962.

When the county auditor inadvertently fails to include the congressional candidates’ names on the primary ballot, the county canvassing board should perform their duties in the routine manner as provided in this section. Op. Atty. Gen. 183B, September 13, 1962.

State canvassing board may be convened as soon as possible when required subsequent to special election. Op. Atty. Gen. 185B-1, February 25, 1958.

204C.33 CANVASS OF STATE GENERAL ELECTIONS.

Subdivision 1. County canvass. The county canvassing board shall meet at the county auditor's office between the third and tenth days following the state general election. After taking the oath of office, the board shall promptly and publicly canvass the general election returns delivered to the county auditor. Upon completion of the canvass, the board shall promptly prepare and file with the county auditor a report which states:

(a)          The number of individuals voting at the election in the county and in each precinct;

(b)          The number of individuals registering to vote on election day and the number of individuals registered before election day in each precinct;

(c)           The names of the candidates for each office and the number of votes received by each candidate in the county and in each precinct;

(d)          The number of votes counted for and against a proposed change of county lines or county seat; and

(e)          The number of votes counted for and against a constitutional amendment or other question in the county and in each precinct.

The result of write-in votes cast on the general election ballots must be compiled by the county auditor before the county canvass, except that write-in votes for a candidate for federal, state, or county office must not be counted unless the candidate has timely filed a request under section 204B.09, subdivision 3. The county auditor shall arrange for each municipality to provide an adequate number of election judges to perform this duty or the county auditor may appoint additional election judges for this purpose. The county auditor may open the envelopes or containers in which the voted ballots have been sealed in order to count and record the write-in votes and must reseal the voted ballots at the conclusion of this process. The county auditor must prepare a separate report of votes received by precinct for write-in candidates for federal, state, and county offices who have requested under section 204B.09 that votes for those candidates be tallied.

Upon completion of the canvass, the county canvassing board shall declare the candidate duly elected who received the highest number of votes for each county and state office voted for only within the county. The county auditor shall transmit a certified copy of the county canvassing board report for state and federal offices to the secretary of state by messenger, express mail, or similar service immediately upon conclusion of the county canvass.

Subd. 2. County canvassing board reports; public availability. The county auditor of each county shall provide a certified copy of the county canvassing board report to anyone who requests it upon payment to the auditor of costs of reproduction actually incurred by the auditor’s office. The auditor shall not take into account the general office expenses or other expenses.

Subd. 3. State canvass. The State Canvassing Board shall meet at a public meeting space located in the Capitol complex area on the third Tuesday following the state general election to canvass the certified copies of the county canvassing board reports received from the county auditors and shall prepare a report that states:

(1)          The number of individuals voting in the state and in each county;

(2)          The number of votes received by each of the candidates, specifying the counties in which they were cast; and

(3)          The number of votes counted for and against each constitutional amendment, specifying the counties in which they were cast.

All members of the state canvassing board shall sign the report and certify its correctness. The state canvassing board shall declare the result within three days after completing the canvass.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 33; 1983 c 303 s 15; 1997 c 147 s 41; 2000 c 467 s 21; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 26; 2010 c 194 s 19, 20; 2010 c 201 s 43; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 21

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.33

Action brought by presidential elector against Minnesota’s Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act did not fall within mootness exception for cases capable of repetition yet evading review because elector waited until three weeks after claim arose to file, leaving just over two weeks for definitive expiration of his claim on date Congress counted elector votes. Abdurrahman v. Dayton, 903 F.3d 813 (8th Cir. 2018).

The function of canvassing election returns is ministerial, and it entails review only of the precinct summary statements of returns, not examination of actual ballots.  Coleman v. Ritchie, 759 N.W.2d 47 (Minn. 2009).

Although county canvassing board could not be reconvened under former M.S. 204A.515, if obvious error will thereby be corrected, fact that reconvened is but a technical irregularity. Application of Anderson, 264 Minn. 257, 119 N.W. 2d 1 (1962). But see M.S. 204C.38.

State canvassing board may be directed to reconvene to correct error. Haroldson v. Norman, 146 Minn. 426, 178 N.W. 1003 (1920).

Court has jurisdiction to review whether constitutional amendment was legally adopted. In re McConaughy, 106 Minn. 392, 119 N.W. 408 (1909). Function of canvassing boards is ministerial. Taylor v. Taylor, 10 Minn. 107, Gil. 81 (1865).

Canvassing board does not determine whether write-in candidate has qualifications for position. Op. Atty. Gen. 339E, December 3, 1962.

Only the county canvassing board canvasses returns for statewide office and forwards results of said canvass to secretary of state. Op. Atty. Gen. 183E, November 15, 1962.

County canvassing board may not open ballot boxes and inspect each paper ballot except after notice to candidates. Op. Atty. Gen. 183C, November 12, 1962.

County canvassing board must inspect the registering counter or other mechanical device on each voting machine used and compare the numbers with those reported by the election officials. Op. Atty. Gen. 183C, November 8, 1962.

When the county auditor inadvertently fails to include the congressional candidates’ names on the primary ballot, the county canvassing board should perform their duties in the routine manner as provided in this section. Op. Atty. Gen. 183B, September 13, 1962.

Secretary of state has no statutory authority to withhold certificate of election of representative in congress, but Congress may have authority to direct that procedure be held in abeyance. Op. Atty. Gen. 185B-1, December 4, 1958.

The duties of canvassing board as provided by Minnesota statutes are purely ministerial. Such a board may not determine that the death of a party nominee results in the nomination of the party candidate receiving the next highest number of votes. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-1, September 22, 1948.

204C.34 TIE VOTES.

In case of a tie vote for nomination or election to an office, the canvassing board with the responsibility for declaring the results for that office shall determine the tie by lot.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 34

RECOUNTS 204C.35 FEDERAL, STATE, AND JUDICIAL RACES.

Subdivision 1. Publicly funded recounts. (a) In a state primary when the difference between the votes cast for the candidates for nomination to:

(1)          a state legislative office is less than one-half of one percent of the total number of votes counted for that nomination or is ten votes or less and the total number of votes cast for the nomination is 400 votes or less; or

(2)          a statewide federal office, state constitutional office, statewide judicial office, congressional office, or district judicial office is less than one-quarter of one percent of the total number of votes counted for that nomination or is ten votes or less and the total number of votes cast for the nomination is 400 votes or less; and the difference determines the nomination, the canvassing board with responsibility for declaring the results for that office shall manually recount the vote upon receiving a written request from the candidate whose nomination is in question.

Immediately following the meeting of the board that has responsibility for canvassing the results of the nomination, the filing officer must notify the candidate that the candidate has the option to request a recount of the votes at no cost to the candidate. This written request must be received by the filing officer no later than 5:00 p.m. on the second day after the canvass of the primary for which the recount is being sought.

(b)          In a state general election when the difference between the votes of a candidate who would otherwise be declared elected to:

(1)          a state legislative office is less than one-half of one percent of the total number of votes counted for that office or is ten votes or less and the total number of votes cast for the office is 400 votes or less; or

(2)          a statewide federal office, state constitutional office, statewide judicial office, congressional office, or district judicial office and the votes of any other candidate for that office is less than one-quarter of one percent of the total number of votes counted for that office or is ten votes or less if the total number of votes cast for the office is 400 votes or less, the canvassing board shall manually recount the votes upon receiving a written request from the candidate whose election is in question.

Immediately following the meeting of the board that has responsibility for canvassing the results of the general election, the filing officer must notify the candidate that the candidate has the option to request a recount of the votes at no cost to the candidate. This written request must be received by the filing officer no later than 5:00 p.m. on the second day after the canvass of the election for which the recount is being sought.

(c)           A recount must not delay any other part of the canvass. The results of the recount must be certified by the canvassing board as soon as possible.

(d)          Time for notice of a contest for an office which is recounted pursuant to this section shall begin to run upon certification of the results of the recount by the canvassing board.

Subd. 2. Discretionary candidate recounts. (a) A losing candidate whose name was on the ballot for nomination or election to a statewide federal office, state constitutional office, statewide judicial office, congressional office, state legislative office, or district judicial office may request a recount in a manner provided in this section at the candidate's own expense when the vote difference is greater than the difference required by this section. The votes shall be manually recounted as provided in this section if the candidate files a request during the time for filing notice of contest of the primary or election for which a recount is sought.

(b)          The requesting candidate shall file with the filing officer a bond, cash, or surety in an amount set by the filing officer for the payment of the recount expenses. The requesting candidate is responsible for the following expenses: the compensation of the secretary of state, or designees, and any election judge, municipal clerk, county auditor, administrator, or other personnel who participate in the recount; necessary supplies and travel related to the recount; the compensation of the appropriate canvassing board and costs of preparing for the canvass of recount results; and any attorney fees incurred in connection with the recount by the governing body responsible for the recount.

(c)           a discretionary recount of a primary must not delay delivery of the notice of nomination to the winning candidate under section 204C.32.

(d)          The requesting candidate may provide the filing officer with a list of up to three precincts that are to be recounted first and may waive the balance of the recount after these precincts have been counted. If the candidate provides a list, the recount official must determine the expenses for those precincts in the manner provided by paragraph (b).

(e)          The results of the recount must be certified by the canvassing board as soon as possible.

(f)           If the winner of the race is changed by the optional recount, the cost of the recount must be paid by the jurisdiction conducting the recount.

(g)          If a result of the vote counting in the manual recount is different from the result of the vote counting reported on election day by a margin greater than the standard for acceptable performance of voting systems provided in section 206.89, subdivision 4, the cost of the recount must be paid by the jurisdiction conducting the recount.

Subd. 3. Scope of recount. A recount conducted as provided in this section is limited in scope to the determination of the number of votes validly cast for the office to be recounted. Only the ballots cast in the election and the summary statements certified by the election judges may be considered in the recount process. Original ballots that have been duplicated under section 206.86, subdivision 5, are not within the scope of a recount and must not be examined except as provided by a court in an election contest under chapter 209.

Subd. 4. Filing officer. For the purpose of this section, the secretary of state is the filing officer for candidates for all federal offices and for state offices voted on in more than one county. The county auditor is the filing officer for state offices voted on in only one county.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 35; 1981 c 187 s 1; 1983 c 253 s 17; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 14; 1990 c 486 s 1; 1993 c 68 s 1;

1998 c 254 art 2 s 24; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 28; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 27; 2008 c 336 s 2, 3; 2010 c 201 s 44, 45; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 37, 38; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 42, 43

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.35

During automatic administrative recount, absent a voluntary agreement between local election officials and two candidates for seat in United States Senate that absentee ballots had been rejected in error and that the absentee-ballot envelopes should be opened and the ballots should be counted, resolution of whether the absentee ballots were rejected in error would have to await an election contest proceeding. Coleman v. Ritchie, 759 N.W. 2d 47 (Minn. 2009).

A manual administrative recount, which is necessary when the margin of victory in an election is less than one-half of one percent, is intended to ensure that the votes cast in the election were accurately counted. Coleman v. Ritchie, 759 N.W.2d 47 (Minn. 2009).

204C.36 RECOUNTS IN COUNTY, SCHOOL DISTRICT, AND MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS.

Amendment to subd. 1 is effective August 1, 2021            Subdivision 1. Publicly funded recounts. (a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c), a losing candidate for nomination or election to a county, municipal, or school district office may request a recount of the votes cast for the nomination or election to that office if the difference between the vote cast for that candidate and for a winning candidate for nomination or election is less than one-quarter of one percent of the total votes counted for that office. In case of offices where two or more seats are being filled from among all the candidates for the office, the one-quarter of one percent difference is between the elected candidate with the fewest votes and the candidate with the most votes from among the candidates who were not elected.

(b)          A losing candidate for nomination or election to a county, municipal, or school district office may request a recount of the votes cast for nomination or election to that office if the difference between the votes cast for that candidate and for a winning candidate for nomination or election is less than one-half of one percent, and the total number of votes cast for the nomination or election of all candidates is more than 400 but less than 50,000. In cases of offices where two or more seats are being filled from among all the candidates for the office, the one-half of one percent difference is between the elected candidate with the fewest votes and the candidate with the most votes from among the candidates who were not elected.

(c)           A losing candidate for nomination or election to a county, municipal, or school district office may request a recount of the votes cast for nomination or election to that office if the difference between the vote cast for that candidate and for a winning candidate for nomination or election is ten votes or less, and the total number of votes cast for the nomination or election of all candidates is no more than 400. In cases of offices where two or more seats are being filled from among all the candidates for the office, the ten vote difference is between the elected candidate with the fewest votes and the candidate with the most votes from among the candidates who were not elected.

(d)          Candidates for county offices shall file a written request for the recount with the county auditor. Candidates for municipal or school district offices shall file a written request with the municipal or school district clerk as appropriate. All requests under this paragraph shall be filed by between the close of the canvass of a primary or special primary and 5:00 p.m. on the fifth day after the canvass of a primary or special primary or by between the close of the canvass of a special or general election and 5:00 p.m. on the seventh day of the canvass of a special or general election for which a recount is sought.

(e)          Upon receipt of a request made pursuant to this section, the county auditor shall recount the votes for a county office at the expense of the county, the governing body of the municipality shall recount the votes for a municipal office at the expense of the municipality, and the school board of the school district shall recount the votes for a school district office at the expense of the school district.

Subd. 2. Discretionary candidate recounts. (a) A losing candidate for nomination or election to a county, municipal, or school district office may request a recount in the manner provided in this section at the candidate's own expense when the vote difference is greater than the difference required by subdivision 1, clauses (a) to (e). The votes shall be manually recounted as provided in this section if the requesting candidate files with the county auditor, municipal clerk, or school district clerk a bond, cash, or surety in an amount set by the governing body of the jurisdiction or the school board of the school district for the payment of the recount expenses.

(b)          The requesting candidate may provide the filing officer with a list of up to three precincts that are to be recounted first and may waive the balance of the recount after these precincts have been counted. If the candidate provides a list the recount official must determine the expenses for those precincts in the manner provided by paragraph (b).

(c)           A discretionary recount of a primary must not delay delivery of the notice of nomination to the winning candidate under section 204C.32.

(d)          The results of the recount must be certified by the canvassing board as soon as possible.

(e)          If the winner of the race is changed by the optional recount, the cost of the recount must be paid by the jurisdiction conducting the recount.

(f)           If a result of the vote counting in the manual recount is different from the result of the vote counting reported on election day by a margin greater than the standard for acceptable performance of voting systems provided in section 206.89, subdivision 4, the cost of the recount must be paid by the jurisdiction conducting the recount.

Subd. 3. Discretionary ballot question recounts. A recount may be conducted for a ballot question when the difference between the votes for and the votes against the question is less than or equal to the difference provided in subdivision 1. A recount may be requested by any person eligible to vote on the ballot question. A written request for a recount must be filed with the filing officer of the county, municipality, or school district placing the question on the ballot and must be accompanied by a petition containing the signatures of 25 voters eligible to vote on the question. Upon receipt of a written request when the difference between the votes for and the votes against the question is less than or equal to the difference provided in subdivision 1, the county auditor shall recount the votes for a county question at the expense of the county, the governing body of the municipality shall recount the votes for a municipal question at the expense of the municipality, and the school board of the school district shall recount the votes for a school district question at the expense of the school district. If the difference between the votes for and the votes against the question is greater than the difference provided in subdivision 1, the person requesting the recount shall also file with the filing officer of the county, municipality, or school district a bond, cash, or surety in an amount set by the appropriate governing body for the payment of recount expenses. The written request, petition, and any bond, cash, or surety required must be filed during the time for notice of contest for the election for which the recount is requested.

Subd. 4. Expenses. In the case of a question, a person, or a candidate requesting a discretionary recount, is responsible for the following expenses: the compensation of the secretary of state, or designees, and any election judge, municipal clerk, county auditor, administrator, or other personnel who participate in the recount; necessary supplies and travel related to the recount; the compensation of the appropriate canvassing board and costs of preparing for the canvass of recount results; and any attorney fees incurred in connection with the recount by the governing body responsible for the recount.

Subd. 5. Notice of contest. Time for notice of contest of a nomination or election to a county office which is recounted pursuant to this section shall begin to run upon certification of the results of the recount by the county canvassing board. Time for notice of contest of a nomination or election to a municipal office which is recounted pursuant to this section shall begin to run upon certification of the results by the governing body of the municipality. Time for notice of contest of a school district election that is recounted under this subdivision begins to run on certification of the results of the recount by the school board.

Subd. 6. Scope of recount. A recount conducted as provided in this section is limited in scope to the determination of the number of votes validly cast for the office or question to be recounted. Only the ballots cast in the election and the summary statements certified by the election judges may be considered in the recount process.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 36; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 47; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 15; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 29,30; 2004 c 293

art 2 s 28; 2008 c 336 s 4; 2010 c 201 s 46, 47; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 39; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 44, 45; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 13

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.36

Certificate of proper canvassing board declaring election result is prima facie evidence of result and places on contestant burden of showing that person declared elected did not receive majority of votes. Kearin v. Roach, 381 N.W. 2d 531 (Minn. Ct. App. 1986).

204C.361 RULES FOR RECOUNTS.

(a)          The secretary of state shall adopt rules according to the Administrative Procedure Act establishing uniform recount procedures. All recounts provided for by sections 204C.35, 204C.36, and 206.88, shall be conducted in accordance with these rules.

(b)          Notwithstanding Minnesota Rules, part 8235.0800, the requirement that ballots be recounted by precinct means that a recount official shall maintain the segregation of ballots by precinct but the recount official may recount more than one precinct at a time in physically separate locations within the room in which the recount is administered.

History: 1983 c 253 s 18; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 16; 1990 c 426 art 1 s 25; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 29

MISCELLANEOUS

204C.37 COUNTY CANVASS; RETURN OF REPORTS TO SECRETARY OF STATE.

A copy of the report required by sections 204C.32, subdivision 1 and 204C.33, subdivision 1 shall be certified under the official seal of the county auditor. The copy shall be enclosed in an envelope addressed to the secretary of state, with the county auditor’s name and official address and the words “Election Returns” endorsed on the envelope. The copy of the canvassing board report must be sent by express mail or delivered to the secretary of state. If the copy is not received by the secretary of state within ten days following the applicable election, the secretary of state shall immediately notify the county auditor, who shall deliver another copy to the secretary of state by special messenger.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 37; 2000 c 467 s 22; 2010 c 201 s 48; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 10

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.37

The function of canvassing election returns is ministerial, and it entails review only of the precinct summary statements of returns, not examination of actual ballots.  Coleman v. Ritchie, 759 N.W.2d 47 (Minn. 2009).

204C.38 CORRECTION OF OBVIOUS ERRORS; WHEN CANDIDATES AGREE.

Subdivision 1. Errors of election judges. If the candidates for an office unanimously agree in writing that the election judges in any precinct have made an obvious error in the counting or recording of the votes for that office, they shall deliver the agreement to the county auditor of that county who shall reconvene the county canvassing board, if necessary, and present the agreement to it. The county canvassing board shall correct the error as specified in the agreement.

Subd. 2. Errors of county canvassing board. If the candidates for an office unanimously agree in writing that the county canvassing board has made an obvious error in the counting and recording of the vote for that office they shall notify the county auditor who shall reconvene the canvassing board. The county canvassing board shall promptly correct the error as specified in the agreement and file an amended report. When an error is corrected pursuant to this subdivision, the county canvassing board and the county auditor shall proceed in accordance with sections 204C.32 to 204C.36.

Subd. 3. Errors of state canvassing board. If the candidates for an office unanimously agree in writing that the state canvassing board has made an obvious error in the counting and recording of the vote for that office they shall deliver the agreement to the secretary of state. If a certificate of election has not been issued, the secretary of state shall reconvene the state canvassing board and present the agreement to it. The board shall promptly correct the error as specified in the agreement and file an amended statement. When an error is corrected pursuant to this subdivision by the state canvassing board, the state canvassing board and the secretary of state shall proceed in accordance with sections 204C.32 to 204C.36.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 38

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.38

Improper rejection of an absentee ballot envelope was not within the scope of errors subject to correction under statutory procedure for correction by county canvassing boards of obvious errors in the counting and recording of votes, and therefore county canvassing boards lacked statutory authority to count such ballots on that basis. Coleman v. Ritchie, 759 N.W.2d 47 (Minn. 2009).

During automatic administrative recount, absent a voluntary agreement between local election officials and two candidates for seat in United States Senate that absentee ballots had been rejected in error and that the absentee-ballot envelopes should be opened and the ballots should be counted, resolution of whether the absentee ballots were rejected in error would have to await an election contest proceeding. Coleman v. Ritchie, 759 N.W.2d 47 (Minn. 2009).

Former section intended to protect potential candidates for public office from errors and omissions of person charged with properly completed procedural and mechanical duties attendant to election process. It does not apply to error of applicant who in affidavit of candidacy inadvertently designated legislative district of her residence as “43B” instead of “43A” and who sought order directing county auditor to place her name on primary election ballot. Schroeder v. Johnson, 311 Minn. 144, 252 N.W. 2d 851 (1976).

Candidates not admitted or entitled to be admitted to practice law in state are not eligible for office of associate justice of Supreme Court. In re Scarrella, 300 Minn. 500, 221 N.W. 2d 562 (1974).

Premeditated attempt to group names of endorsed candidates on primary election ballots would raise inference of unfairness sufficiently serious to constitute an error. Mattson v. McKenna, 301 Minn. 103, 222 N.W. 2d 273 (1974).

Reconvened county canvassing board may be compelled under former section 204A.52, although letter is technically incorrect procedure. Application of Andersen, 264 Minn. 257, 119 N.W. 2d 1 (1962).

Candidate for election by petition held included by inference in former section. Williams v. Donovan, 253 Minn. 493, 92 N.W., 2d 915 (1958).

204C.39 CORRECTION OF OTHER OBVIOUS ERRORS.

Subdivision 1. Manner of correction. A county canvassing board may determine by majority vote that the election judges have made an obvious error in counting or recording the votes for an office. The county canvassing board shall then promptly notify all candidates for that office of the determination, including a description of the error. A candidate who receives notification pursuant to this subdivision or any candidate who believes that the election judges in a precinct have made an obvious error in the counting or recording of the votes for an office may apply without unreasonable delay to the district court of the county containing the precinct in which the alleged error was made for an order determining whether or not an obvious error has been made. The applicant shall describe the alleged error in the application and may submit additional evidence as directed by the court. The applicant shall notify the county canvassing board and all candidates for the affected office in the manner directed by the court. If the court finds that the election judges made an obvious error it shall issue an order specifying the error and directing the county canvassing board to inspect the ballots and returns of the precinct in order to correct the error and to proceed further in accordance with this section or otherwise as the court may direct.

Subd. 2. Inspection; time; place. The county auditor shall schedule a meeting of the county canvassing board at the auditor’s office as soon as practicable after the court issues an order under subdivision 1 and shall give sufficient advance notice of the meeting to the affected candidates. The board, in the presence of all the candidates for the office or their representatives shall inspect the ballots and returns, correct any error and proceed further in accordance with the order of the court. Preparation of the county canvassing board report with respect to other offices on the ballot shall not be delayed because of an inspection required by this section.

Subd. 3. Report of canvassing board; addendum. After the canvassing board has inspected the ballots and returns, it shall promptly submit to the county auditor an addendum to its regular report, which addendum shall contain the following information:

(a)          A copy of the order of the court, if any;

(b)          The minutes of the meeting showing the time, date, and place of the meeting, the names of the candidates or their representatives who were present, and the action taken by the board;

(c)           A copy of the meeting notice given to each candidate and proof of service; and

(d)          The names of the candidates for each office for which votes were inspected and the total number of votes received by each candidate for that office in the county and in each precinct.

Subd. 4. Canvassing board; declaration of results; notification. The canvassing board shall declare the results of the election upon completing the inspection for the office in question. The report and declaration shall be filed by the county auditor, who shall mail a copy to each candidate for that office. The county auditor shall promptly notify the secretary of state by United States mail and electronic mail of the action of the county canvassing board.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 39; 1986 c 444; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 11

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.39

Improper rejection of an absentee ballot envelope was not within the scope of errors subject to correction under statutory procedure for correction by county canvassing boards of obvious errors in the counting and recording of votes, and therefore county canvassing boards lacked statutory authority to count such ballots on that basis. Coleman v. Ritchie, 759 N.W.2d 47 (Minn. 2009).

During automatic administrative recount, absent a voluntary agreement between local election officials and two candidates for seat in United States Senate that absentee ballots had been reflected in error and that the absentee-ballot envelopes should be opened and the ballots should be counted, resolution of whether the absentee ballots were rejected in error would have to await an election contest proceeding. Coleman v. Ritchie, 759 N.W.2d 47 (Minn. 2009).

See notes to sections 204C.33, 204C.38.

204C.40 CERTIFICATES OF ELECTION.

Subdivision 1. Preparation; method of delivery. The county auditor shall prepare an election certificate for every county candidate declared elected by the county canvassing board, and the secretary of state shall prepare a certificate for every state and federal candidate declared elected by either a county canvassing board or the state canvassing board. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the secretary of state or county auditor, as appropriate, shall deliver an election certificate on demand to the elected candidate. In an election for United States representative, the secretary of state shall deliver the original election certificate to the chief clerk of the United States house of representatives. In an election for United States senator, the governor shall prepare an original certificate of election, countersigned by the secretary of state, and deliver it to the secretary of the United States senate. In an election for state representative or state senator, the secretary of state shall deliver the original election certificate to the chief clerk of the house or the secretary of the senate. The chief clerk of the house or the secretary of the senate shall give a copy of the certificate to the representative-elect or senator-elect. Upon taking the oath of office, the representative or senator shall receive the original certificate of election. If a recount is undertaken by a canvassing board pursuant to section 204C.35, no certificate of election shall be prepared or delivered until after the recount is completed. In case of a contest, the court may invalidate and revoke the certificate as provided in chapter 209.

Subd. 2. Time of issuance; certain offices. No certificate of election shall be issued until seven days after the canvassing board has declared the result of the election.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 40; 1986 c 475 s 15; 1991 c 227 s 18; 1999 c 132 s 24; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 46

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.40

State statute under which governor was prohibited from issuing a certificate of election to either United States Senate candidate until a state court had finally decided a then-pending election contest did not infringe upon or usurp the authority of United States Senate to determine the “Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members,” as provided by the United States Constitution; election contest under state law could properly be characterized as an integral part of the electoral process within the ambit of the broad powers delegated to the States, and nothing prevented the United States Senate from seating petitioner, the apparent winner, on a provisional or conditional basis. Franken v. Pawlent y, 762 N.W. 2d 558 (Minn. 2009).

No federal constitutional or statutory mandate requires governor to issue to petitioner, the apparent winner in election for United States Senate, a certificate of election by the date designated by Congress for commencement of newly-elected Senators’ terms. Franken v. Pawlenty, 762 N.W.2d 558 (Minn. 2009).

Provision of state election-contest statute mandating issuance of certificate of election upon completion of recount did not conflict with nor otherwise supersede provision precluding issuance of certificate until state courts had finally decided a pending election contest. Franken v. Pawlenty, 762 N.W. 2d 558 (Minn. 2009).

State statute that precluded issuance of certificate of election until state courts had finally decided a pending election contest applied to elections for

United States Senate; applicability of statute’s contest tolling provision, under which governor refused to issue certificate, was dependent upon existence of a court of proper jurisdiction which could finally determine the contest, and despite exclusive authority of Senate to decide contests pending in Congress, “contest,” as used in statute, applied to contests initiated pursuant to general election laws of the state, in state courts. Franken v. Pawlenty, 762 N.W.2d 558 (Minn. 2009).

Former section held not to apply to election contests pending in the Congress of the United States pursuant to U.S. Const. art 1, s 4, 5. Odegard v. Olson, 264 Minn. 439, 119 N.W. 2d 717 (1963).

Certificate of election is prima facie evidence against direct challenge to election and conclusive against collateral attack. Doyle v. Ries, 205 Minn. 82, 285 N.W. 480 (1939).

Secretary of state has no statutory authority to withhold certificate of election of representative in Congress, but Congress may have authority to direct that procedure be held in abeyance. Op. Atty. Gen. 185B-1, December 4, 1958.

204C.41 NEGLECT OF DUTY; OTHER OFFENSES BY ELECTION OFFICIALS; PENALTY.

An election officer or other individual required by law to safely keep and produce ballots on election day or to perform any other act, who intentionally fails or refuses to perform the act required, or who is required by law to abstain from any act, and intentionally does the act, or who in either of these cases is guilty of fraud, corruption, partiality or misbehavior in conducting or aiding in the conduct of an election, or in counting or making returns of votes, or who wrongfully refuses to make or deliver a certificate of election, or who falsely or corruptly performs any required act, for which a punishment has not been otherwise expressly provided for by law, is guilty of a felony.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 41; 1986 c 444

204C.50 [Repealed, 2006 (see MS 206.89).]

History: 2004 c 293 art 2 s 30; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 49, 50

CHAPTER 211B - FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES

211B.01 DEFINITIONS.

Subdivision 1. Application. The definitions in chapter 200 and this section apply to this chapter.

Subd. 2. Campaign material. "Campaign material" means any literature, publication, or material that is disseminated for the purpose of influencing voting at a primary or other election, except for news items or editorial comments by the news media.

Subd. 3. Candidate. “Candidate” means an individual who seeks nomination or election to a federal, statewide, legislative, judicial, or local office including special districts, school districts, towns, home rule charter and statutory cities, and counties, except candidates for president and vice-president of the United States.

Subd. 4. Committee. “Committee” means two or more persons acting together or a corporation or association acting to influence the nomination, election, or defeat of a candidate or to promote or defeat a ballot question. Promoting or defeating a ballot question includes efforts to qualify or prevent a proposition from qualifying for placement on the ballot.

Subd. 5. Disbursement. “Disbursement” means an act through which money, property, office, or position or other thing of value is directly or indirectly promised, paid, spent, contributed, or lent, and any money, property, office, or position or other thing of value so promised or transferred.

Subd. 6. Political purposes. An act is done for “political purposes” when the act is intended or done to influence, directly or indirectly, voting at a primary or other election. This does not include news items or editorial comments published or broadcast by the news media.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 1; 2004 c 293 art 3 s 1

NOTES AND DECISIONS

211B.01

Because of potential chilling effect on free speech rights of chambers of commerce that operated as nonprofit corporations, chambers satisfied injury-in- fact requirement for Article III standing in action challenging constitutionality of statutes; case was ripe for review; and chambers had reasonable fear of prosecution under statute. St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce v. Gaertner, 439 F.3rd 481 (8th Cir. 2006).

Previous provision of statute defining “campaign material” as any material that “tend(s) to influence voting at a primary or other election” was unconstitutionally vague under the First Amendment. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, Inc. v. Kelley, 291 F.Supp.2d 1052 (D. Minn. 2003), affirmed in part and reversed in part on other grounds, 427 F.3d 1106 (8th Cir. 2005).

Fair Campaign Practices Act is directed to actions of candidate and persons for whom he is responsible; and where there is nothing to show that candidate sanctioned improper activities, that are not chargeable to him. Munnell v. Rowlette, 275 Minn. 94, 145 N.W. 2d 531 (1966).

To set forth a “prima facie case” on a complaint alleging a violation of Campaign Financial Reports Act or Fair Campaign Practices Act, the party must either submit evidence or allege facts that, if unchallenged or accepted as true, would be sufficient to prove that the party is entitled to the requested relief.

Abrahamson v. St. Louis County School Dist., 802 N.W.2d 393 (Minn. App. 2011).

Complaint alleging that school district and school board violated Campaign Financial Reports Act and Fair Campaign Practices Act, by using public funds to promote the passage of bond issue ballot questions in referendum election, was insufficient to set forth a prima facie violation, as required to entitle complainants to hearing; although complaint identified several expenditures for printing and video work that district had made during campaign period preceding election, and alleged that district superintendent and school Principal had promoted passage of ballot questions, complaint failed to describe the content of any message communicated by district employees or board. Barry v. St. Anthony-New Brighton Independent Sch. Dist. 282, 781 N.W.2d 898 (Minn. App. 2010).

Respondent’s “legislative review,” distributed as paid insert to local paper, constituted campaign material within the meaning of statute. Gadsden v. Kiffmeyer, OAH 3-0320-21609-CV (November 1, 2010).

Act applies to city charter election. Op. Atty. Gen. 627B-1, August 18, 1966.

Committee formed to support constitutional amendment must file statement of receipts and disbursements. Op. Atty. Gen. 627B-2, August 26, 1952.

The term “voluntary committee” is but another name for a political committee under this section. Such a committee may not be organized as a mere subterfuge to evade the Fair Campaign Practices Act. Op. Atty. Gen. 627C-7, August 30, 1946.

The Fair Campaign Practices Act applies to activities of which the purpose is to secure the adoption or defeat of a constitutional amendment. The act also applies to the activities of a committee formed for purpose of bringing about or preventing the adoption of an ordinance. Op. Atty. Gen. 627B-1, October 14, 1942.

211B.02 FALSE CLAIM OF SUPPORT.

A person or candidate may not knowingly make, directly or indirectly, a false claim stating or implying that a candidate or ballot question has the support or endorsement of a major political party or party unit or of an organization. A person or candidate may not state in written campaign material that the candidate or ballot question has the support or endorsement of an individual without first getting written permission from the individual to do so.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 2

NOTES AND DECISIONS

211B.02

Plaintiffs were not likely to succeed on merits of claim that statute barring false claims of support for political candidates violated First Amendment. Minn. RFL Republican Farmer Labor Caucus v. Freeman, No. 19-CV-1949, 2020 WL 5512509 (D. Minn. Sept. 14, 2020).

Campaign statute governing false claims of support, violated by Minnesota Supreme Court candidate who falsely claimed that a party’s judicial-election committee endorsed her, was not overbroad in violation of the First Amendment; statute only prohibited a candidate from making a knowingly false claim, statute did not prohibit a candidate from truthfully reporting receipt of a party sub-unit’s endorsement, and counter-speech, even media statements and retractions, was not an effective alternative means to combat false claims of support or endorsement. Linert v. MacDonald, 901 N.W.2d 664 (Minn. Ct.

App. 2017).

Use of sample ballot falsely implied party endorsement. Matter of Contest of Election in DFL Primary, 344 N.W.2d 826 (Minn. 1983).

Prominent political leaders are not “units of political party.” Graves v. Meland, 264 N.W.2d 401 (Minn. 1978).

Complainant demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that Respondent violated statute by falsely stating in written campaign material that Respondent had the endorsement of particular state legislators. Forney v. Bourn, OAH 11-0325-20954-CV (March 19, 2010).

Complainant failed to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that Respondent violated statute by stating that Respondent had endorsement of union before endorsement was officially made; statute requires candidates to obtain written permission before claiming to have been endorsed by individuals, not organizations. Bourn v. Forney, OAH 11-0325-20954-CV (March 19, 2010).

Complainant failed to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that Respondent violated statute where Respondent’s website from a previous campaign, accessible only due to web-browser glitch, accurately described endorsements made in that campaign, and Respondent corrected error when she learned of it.  Bourn v. Forney, OAH 11-0325-20954-CV (March 19, 2010)

Statute requires actual written permission of purported endorser in order to allow claim of endorsement; there is no exception for national political

leaders, or for inferences drawn from leaders’ public statements. Repke v. Better Ballot Campaign, OAH 3-0325-20939-CV (November 30, 2009)

Candidate’s claim of endorsement from a person, published without the person’s written permission, justified levying fine on candidate, even though person did in fact support candidate. Bicking v. Rybak, OAH 4-6326-20522-CV (July 28, 2009).

211B.03 USE OF THE TERM REELECT.

A person or candidate may not, in the event of redistricting, use the term “reelect” in a campaign for elective office unless the candidate is the incumbent of that office and the office represents any part of the new district.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 3

211B.04 CAMPAIGN MATERIAL MUST INCLUDE DISCLAIMER

Subdivision 1. Campaign material. (a) A person who participates in the preparation or dissemination of campaign material other than as provided in section 211B.05, subdivision 1, that does not prominently include the name and address of the person or committee causing the material to be prepared or disseminated in a disclaimer substantially in the form provided in paragraph (b) or (c) is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(b)          Except in cases covered by paragraph (c), the required form of disclaimer is: "Prepared and paid for by the .......... committee,              (address)" for material prepared and paid for by a principal campaign committee, or

"Prepared and paid for by the .......... committee,              (address)" for material prepared and paid for by a person

or committee other than a principal campaign committee. The address must be either the committee’s mailing address or the committee’s Web site, if the Web site includes the committee’s mailing address. If the material is produced and disseminated without cost, the words “paid for” may be omitted from the disclaimer.

(c)           In the case of broadcast media, the required form of disclaimer is: "Paid for by the               committee."

If the material is produced and broadcast without cost, the required form of the disclaimer is: “The ……..

committee is responsible for the content of this message.”

Subd. 2. Independent expenditures. (a) The required form of the disclaimer on a written independent

expenditure is: “This is an independent expenditure prepared and paid for by.     (name of entity participating in the expenditure),  (address). It is not coordinated with or approved by any candidate nor is any candidate responsible for it.” The address must be either the entity’s mailing address or the entity’s Web site, if the Web site includes the entity’s mailing address. When a written independent expenditure is produced and disseminated without cost, the words “and paid for” may be omitted from the disclaimer.

(b) The required form of the disclaimer on a broadcast independent expenditure is: “This independent expenditure is paid for by   (name of entity participating in the expenditure). It is not coordinated with or approved by any candidate nor is any candidate responsible for it.” When a broadcast independent expenditure is produced and disseminated without cost, the following disclaimer may be used: “…             (name of entity participating in the expenditure) is responsible for the contents of this independent expenditure. It is not coordinated with or approved by any candidate nor is any candidate responsible for it.”

Subd. 3. Material that does not need a disclaimer. (a) This section does not apply to fund-raising tickets, business cards, personal letters, or similar items that are clearly being distributed by the candidate.

(b)          This section does not apply to an individual or association that is not required to register or report under chapter 10A or 211A.

(c)           This section does not apply to the following:

(1)          bumper stickers, pins, buttons, pens, or similar small items on which the disclaimer cannot be conveniently printed;

(2)          skywriting, wearing apparel, or other means of displaying an advertisement of such a nature that the inclusion of a disclaimer would be impracticable; and

(3)          online banner ads and similar electronic communications that link directly to an online page that includes the disclaimer.

(d)          This section does not modify or repeal section 211B.06.

Subd. 4. Web sites. The requirements of this section are satisfied for an entire Web site or social media page when the disclaimer required in subdivision 1 or 2 appears once on the homepage of the site.

Subd. 5. Font size. For written communications other than an outdoor sign, Web site, or social media page, the disclaimer must be printed in 8-point font or larger.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 4; 1991 c 227 s 24; 1998 c 376 s 2; 2004 c 293 art 3 s 2; 2010 c 397 s 15; 2015 c 73 s 22;

2018 c 119 s 33 NOTES AND DECISIONS 211B.04

Statute requiring campaign materials to include disclaimer regarding preparation of materials did not impermissibly restrict right to free speech, because statute expressly limited reach to political candidates and campaign committee. Lewison v. Hutchinson, 929 N.W.2d 444 (Minn. Ct. App. 2019).

Public display of political candidate’s lawn signs without required disclaimer to inform voters about election-related spending was continuing violation of statute requiring disclaimer, and thus applicable one-year limitations period for challenging violations of statute did not begin to run while signs remained up. Lewison v. Hutchinson, 929 N.W.2d 444 (Minn. Ct. App. 2019).

Respondent’s “legislative review,” distributed as paid insert to local paper, substantially complied with disclaimer requirement contained in statute. Gadsden v. Kiffmeyer, OAH 3-0320-221609-CV (November 1, 2010)

Former sections (a) and (b) of this section were unconstitutional pursuant to McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm’n, 514 U.S. 334, 115 S. Ct. 1511 (1994). Op. Atty. Gen. 82t, August 27, 1997.

Because disclaimer requirement in statute directly attacks core political speech unsupported by an interest in avoiding the appearance of corruption, statute violates the First Amendment. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, Inc. v. Kelley, 291 F.Supp.2d 1052 (D. Minn. 2003), affirmed in part and reversed in part on other grounds, 427 F.3rd 1106 (8th cir. 2005).

Absence of authorship clause on cards held trivial. Miske v. Fisher, 193 Minn. 514, 259 N.W. 18 (1935).

Because disclaimer requirement in statute could be violated by completely truthful anonymous statements made by individuals acting independently from any candidate and using their own resources, and there were no overriding state interests that permitted statute to limit such political expression under the exacting scrutiny standard, disclaimer requirement was overbroad and unconstitutionally restricted pure speech in violation of the First Amendment. Riley v. Jankowski, 713 N.W.2d 379 (Minn. App. 2006).

If open letter is circulated in interest of better government and not for particular candidate, then section does not require, in addition to author’s name and address, name of any candidate. Op. Atty. Gen. 627J-3, October 6, 1948. See also Op. Atty. Gen. 627J-3, February 10, 1947 on the same issue. Emery boards must bear name and address of author. Op. Atty. Gen. 627F-1, September 24, 1948.

Sticker with nothing more on it than the name of a person for whom votes are desired is not in effect a campaign card. Op. Atty. Gen. 627J-1, August 18, 1942.

Use of a patriotic poster with candidate’s solicitation of votes thereon must bear the name and address of the author. Op. Atty. Gen. 627F-1, August 18, 1942.

Name of person or persons on committee who authorize insertion of advertisement must be stated. Op. Atty. Gen. 627C-5, October 1, 1938.

Candidate for office may include word “lawyer” on campaign card but such a card must contain address of author, while card containing a mere statement that a person is a candidate for office without anything in the way of an appeal or argument does not need to state its authorship. Op. Atty. Gen. 627J-1, March 16, 1936.

211B.045 NONCOMMERCIAL SIGNS EXEMPTION.

All noncommercial signs of any size may be posted in any number beginning 46 days before the state primary in a state general election year until ten days following the state general election. Municipal ordinances may regulate the size and number of noncommercial signs at other times.

History: 1990 c 585 s 30; 2004 c 142 s 1; 2010 c 184 s 42; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 74

211B.05 PAID ADVERTISEMENTS IN NEWS.

Subdivision 1. Acceptance of paid advertisements. A newspaper, periodical, or magazine may not intentionally accept for insertion in the newspaper, magazine, or periodical a political advertisement unless the words “PAID ADVERTISEMENT,” and the disclaimer required under section 211B.04 are included at the beginning or end of the advertisement. The disclaimer must be in a legible text size and font. A radio station, television station, or cable system may not accept for broadcast a political advertisement unless the words

“PAID ADVERTISEMENT” are included at the beginning or end of the advertisement.

Subd. 2. Advertising rates. Rates charged for advertising to support or oppose a candidate or ballot question must be the same as the charges made for any other political candidate and may be no greater than charges made for any other comparable purpose or use according to the seller’s rate schedule.

Subd. 3. Compensation prohibited, except for paid advertisement. An owner, publisher, editor, reporter, agent, broadcaster, or employee of a newspaper, periodical, magazine, radio or television broadcast station, or cable system may not directly or indirectly solicit, receive, or accept a payment, promise, or compensation, nor may a person pay or promise to pay or in any manner compensate an owner, publisher, editor, reporter, agent, broadcaster, or employee directly or indirectly for influencing or attempting to influence voting at an election or primary through printed material in the newspaper or periodical, or radio, television, or cable broadcast, except as a “PAID ADVERTISEMENT” as provided in this section.

Subd. 4. Unpaid material identification. Unpaid material published in a newspaper, magazine, or other publication that is: (1) in unique typeset or otherwise differentiated from other unpaid material, (2) designed to influence or attempt to influence the voting at any election or the passage or defeat of legislation, and (3) not placed on the editorial page must be clearly identified as an editorial opinion.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 5; 2001 c 143 s 1

NOTES AND DECISION 211B.05

Newspaper’s decision to reprint candidates’ campaign ads due to errors in initial printing did not violate statute, even though reprinting, unlike initial printing, was in ad space usually costing more than candidates paid for initial printing. Clausen v. Star Tribune, OAH 3-0325- 20975-CV (November 23, 2009).

211B.06 FALSE POLITICAL AND CAMPAIGN MATERIAL.

Subdivision 1. Gross misdemeanor. A person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor who intentionally participates in the preparation, dissemination, or broadcast of paid political advertising or campaign material with respect to the personal or political character or acts of a candidate, or with respect to the effect of a ballot question, that is designed or tends to elect, injure, promote, or defeat a candidate for nomination or election to a public office or to promote or defeat a ballot question, that is false, and that the person knows is false or communicates to others with reckless disregard of whether it is false.

A person is guilty of a misdemeanor who intentionally participates in the drafting of a letter to the editor with respect to the personal or political character or acts of a candidate, or with respect to the effect of a ballot question, that is designed or tends to elect, injure, promote, or defeat any candidate for nomination or election to a public office or to promote or defeat a ballot question, that is false, and that the person knows is false or communicates to others with reckless disregard of whether it is false.

Subd. 2. Exception. Subdivision 1 does not apply to any person or organization whose sole act is, in the normal course of their business, the printing, manufacturing, or dissemination of the false information.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 6; 1998 c 376 s 3

NOTES AND DECISIONS

211B.06

Statute making it a crime to make false statement about proposed ballot initiative was not narrowly tailored to meet any compelling government interest; statute was not actually necessary in that it tended to perpetuate the very fraud it was allegedly designed to prohibit, statute was simultaneously overbroad and underinclusive, and statute was not the least restrictive means of achieving the stated goals it allegedly advanced. 281 Care Comm. v.

Arneson, 766 F.3d 744 (8th Cir. 2014).

Claim that district court improperly refused to accept candidate’s election contest filing because district court’s decision was not a “duty concerning an election”; statute is not a broad vehicle through which any conduct with any relationship to an election, however tangential, can be challenged. Carlson v. Ritchie, 830 N.W.2d 887 (Minn. 2013).

Budget projection based on “worst case” scenario was not sufficient to establish actual malice, and therefore publication of projection in support of ballot question did not constitute publication of a false statement in connection with a ballot question; using “worst case” assumptions was more akin to producing a “slanted” statement than it was to producing a statement that was demonstrably false. Abrahamson v. Saint Louis Cnty. Sch. Dist., 819 N.W.2d 129 (Minn. 2012).

Claim alleging a violation of statute that made it a criminal offense to publish a false statement to defeat a ballot question was required to be filed within one year of the publication of the statement. Abrahamson v. Saint Louis Cnty. Sch. Dist., 819 N.W.2d 129 (Minn. 2012).

Advocacy organizations alleged injury in fact sufficient to support standing to bring free speech challenge to Minnesota statute making it a crime to make false statement about proposed ballot initiative, even though they did not allege that they wished to engage in conduct that actually violated statute, where they alleged that they wished to engage in conduct that could reasonably be interpreted as violating statute. 280 Care Committee v. Arneson, 638 F.3d 621 (8th Cir. 2011).

As-applied constitutional challenge to election statute prohibiting false statements that hinged on party-endorsed candidate’s being prosecuted for allegedly falsely claiming to be only party member who was candidate in county commissioner race was mooted when charges against candidate were dismissed with prejudice. Republican Party of Minn., Third Congressional Dist. v. Klobuchar, 381 F.3d 785 (8th Cir. 2004).

Violation of the statutory prohibition on false campaign material requires a finding of both a false statement and actual malice or reckless disregard. Statements criticizing official conduct do not lose constitutional protection merely because they are criticisms and effectively diminish an official’s reputation. Statements in candidate’s campaign flyer held to be false contentions of fact, rather than statements of opinion protected under the First Amendment. Penalty of $800 for candidate’s violation of statutory prohibition on false campaign material, based on candidate’s willfulness and on gravity of violations, held valid.  Fine v. Bernstein, 726 N.W.2d 137 (Minn. App. 2007)

Rights to jury trial of successful candidates in city council election were not violated by administrative hearing process that heard allegations by their opponents that they violated statutes establishing financial-reporting requirements for political candidates and committees acting to influence elections and statutes regulating campaign practices. Riley v. Jankowski, 713 N.W.2d 379 (Minn. App. 2006).

This section is not preempted by the Federal Election Campaign Act. However, it is unconstitutionally overbroad because it extends to statements not made with “actual malice.” State v. Jude, 554 N.W.2d 750 (Minn. Ct. App. 1996).

Complainant failed to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that Respondent violated statute because evidence was insufficient to prove that the Respondent knew that his challenged statement in newspaper advertisement was false or that he communicated it with reckless disregard as to whether it was false.  Carpenter v. Walker, OAH 8-0325-21583-CV (October 25, 2010).

Complainant failed to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that Respondent violated statute because evidence is insufficient to prove that Respondent knew that challenged statement in campaign materials was false or that he communicated it with reckless disregard as to whether it was false. Fatland v. Smith, OAH 8-0325-21219-CV (June 9, 2010).

Respondent’s challenged statement in advertisement, while incomplete and somewhat misleading, was not false within meaning of statute. Erickson v. Education Minnesota Local 1406, OAH 15-0325-21158-CV (May 18, 2010).

Respondent’s challenged statement in advertisement was not false within meaning of statute. House Republican Campaign Comm. v. Alliance for a Better Minnesota, OAH 3-0320-21132-CV (April 27, 2010).

Summary disposition for Respondent was appropriate because Complainant produced no evidence that Respondent’s challenged statements were factually false or that Respondent disseminated them with reckless disregard as to whether they were false. Thul v. Minnesota DFL Party, OAH 11-0320- 21159-CV (April 20, 2010).

Statute is directed against false statements of specific facts, and does not prohibit inferences or implications, even if misleading; moreover, statement that must be proved false is not necessarily the literal phrase published but rather what a reasonable reader would have understood the author to have said. Hauer v. Katch, OAH 8-0325-20710-CV (August 3, 2009).

Statute mandated fine be levied upon person who wrote letter to residents of city criticizing City Council and containing factual allegation writer knew to

be false; letter constituted “campaign material” under meaning of statute. Pahl v.Mucciacciaro, OAH 8-6381-20067-CV (February 11, 2009).

211B.07 UNDUE INFLUENCE ON VOTERS PROHIBITED.

A person may not directly or indirectly use or threaten force, coercion, violence, restraint, damage, harm, loss, including loss of employment or economic reprisal, undue influence, or temporal or spiritual injury against an individual to compel the individual to vote for or against a candidate or ballot question. Abduction, duress, or fraud may not be used to obstruct or prevent the free exercise of the right to vote of a voter at a primary or election, or compel a voter to vote at a primary or election. Violation of this section is a gross misdemeanor.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 7

NOTES AND DECISIONS

211B.07

Campaign flyers distributed by city council candidate, stating that if recipients of the flyers did not remove lawn sighs supporting opponent, that would “not go unnoticed in the future,” did not threaten voters in violation of section of Fair Campaign Practices Act prohibiting exerting undue influence on voters; vaguely ominous-sounding language did not make any specific threat. Menne v. Phillips, 2008 WL 2102721 (Minn. App. May 20, 2008) (Unpublished Op.).

In absence of showing that incumbent municipal judge by his presence in courtroom on court business for some 1-1/2 hours during morning of election had interfered with conduct of election in adjacent polling place or had sought to influence voters or that he was aware that sticker campaign was being conducted for another candidate for his office, election of incumbent was not invalid on ground that he had violated election statutes. Munnell v.

Rowlette, 275 Minn. 92, 145 N.W. 2d 531 (1966).

While action of police officer in interfering with campaign worker for sticker candidate for municipal judge was unwarranted where action was not that of opposing candidate and there was nothing to show that opponent had sanctioned such action, any violation of Corrupt Practices Act would be chargeable to opponent. Id.

Where it is customary for incumbent judge to release prisoners convicted of misdemeanors before Christmas each year so as to permit them to earn money for Christmas shopping, and there was no showing that prisoners released pursuant to that practice shortly before election in which incumbent was candidate where voters in village where election was to be held or had been directed or solicited to vote for incumbent in exchange for their freedom, there was nothing in such conduct to justify any invalidation of incumbent’s reelection. Id.

Corrupt Practices Act is directed to actions of candidates for office and to persons for who he is responsible. Id.

Judgment that contestee’s attempted coercion of voters on public relief by threats that he, as chairman of emergency relief board, would have them removed from relief if they did not support him in his campaign for county commissioner, was limited in character and that his election was free from offensive and illegal acts is reversed and judgment directed that contestee’s election be annulled and set aside. Fritz v. Hanfler, 195 Minn. 640 263 N.W. 10 (1935).

Complainant failed to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that Respondent sheriff threatened coercion, harm, or loss in order to compel him to cast a ballot for Respondent in the fall election. Turcotte v. Dahl, OAH 4-0325-21569-CV (October 25, 2010)

Statute requires showing that accused party used or threatened force, coercion, violence, harm, undue influence, or other similar tactics to compel a person to vote for him or another candidate; showing that accused told a person not to vote for another candidate; showing that accused told a person not to vote for another candidate is insufficient. Smith v. Ewanika, OAH 7-6347-20326-CV (April 1, 2009).

Standing in line by nonvoters and the abuse of the right to challenge voters constitute gross misdemeanors under Minnesota law. Op. Atty. Gen. 182, October 26, 1964.

211B.08 SOLICITATION OF CONTRIBUTIONS PROHIBITED.

A religious, charitable, or educational organization may not request a candidate or committee to contribute to the organization, to subscribe for the support of a club or organization, to buy tickets to entertainment, or to pay for space in a publication. This section does not apply to:

(1)          the solicitation of a business advertisement in periodicals in which the candidate was a regular contributor, before candidacy;

(2)          ordinary business advertisements;

(3)          regular payments to a religious, charitable, or educational organization, of which the candidate was a member, or to which the candidate was a contributor for more than six months before candidacy; or

(4)          ordinary contributions at church services.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 8

NOTES AND DECISIONS

211B.08

Provision prohibiting religious, charitable, or educational organizations from requesting donations from candidates or committees was not narrowly tailored to serve state interest in prohibiting organizations from soliciting money from candidates in exchange for votes, and thus violated those organizations First Amendment right to solicit contributions. Minnesota Citizens concerned for Life, inc. v. Kelley, 427 F.3d 1106 (8th Cir. 2005), reversing 291 F.Supp.2d 1052 (D. Minn. 2003).

211B.09 PROHIBITED PUBLIC EMPLOYEE ACTIVITIES.

An employee or official of the state or of a political subdivision may not use official authority or influence to compel a person to apply for membership in or become a member of a political organization, to pay or promise to pay a political contribution, or to take part in political activity. A political subdivision may not impose or enforce additional limitations on the political activities of its employees.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 9

NOTES AND DECISIONS

211B.09

Display of campaign literature at courthouse not within meaning of “compel”. Burns v. Valen, 400 N.W. 2d 123 (Minn. Ct. App. 1987).

211B.10 INDUCING OR REFRAINING CANDIDACY; TIME OFF FOR PUBLIC OFFICE MEETINGS.

Subdivision 1. Inducing or refraining from candidacy. A person may not reward or promise to reward another in any manner to induce the person to be or refrain from or cease being a candidate. A person may not solicit or receive a payment, promise, or reward from another for this purpose.

Subd. 1a. Prohibited activities of a political party. A political party unit may not, through imposition or threatened imposition of any fine, sanction, or other penalty, attempt to coerce an individual who does not have the party unit’s official endorsement as a means to prevent the individual from filing as a candidate for office.

Subd. 2. Time off for public office meetings. A person elected to a public office must be permitted time off from regular employment to attend meetings required by reason of the public office. The time off may be without pay, with pay, or made up with other hours, as agreed between the employee and employer. When an employee takes time off without pay, the employer shall make an effort to allow the employee to make up the time with other hours when the employee is available. No retaliatory action may be taken by the employer for absences to attend meetings necessitated by reason of the employee’s public office.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 10; 2012 c 250 s 3

211B.11 ELECTION DAY PROHIBITIONS.

Subdivision 1. Soliciting near polling places. A person may not display campaign material, post signs, ask, solicit, or in any manner try to induce or persuade a voter within a polling place or within 100 feet of the building in which a polling place is situated, or anywhere on the public property on which a polling place is situated, on primary or election day to vote for or refrain from voting for a candidate or ballot question. A person may not provide political badges, political buttons, or other political insignia to be worn at or about the polling place on the day of a primary or election. A political badge, political button, or other political insignia may not be worn at or about the polling place on primary or election day. This section applies to areas established by the county auditor or municipal clerk for absentee voting as provided in chapter 203B.

Nothing in this subdivision prohibits the distribution of “I VOTED” stickers as provided in section 204B.49.

Subd. 3. Transportation of voters to polling place; penalty. A person transporting a voter to or from the polling place may not ask, solicit, or in any manner try to induce or persuade a voter on primary or election day to vote or refrain from voting for a candidate or ballot question.

Subd. 4. Penalty. Violation of this section is a petty misdemeanor.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 11; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 32; 1993 c 223 s 25; 2014 c 288 art 2 s 8; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 27

NOTES AND DECISIONS

211B.11

First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause permits state to take reasonable steps to exclude some forms of advocacy from polling place to ensure that partisan discord not follow the voter up to the voting booth and distract from a sense of shared civic obligation at the moment it counts the most. Minn. Voters Alliance v. Mansky, 138 S.Ct. 1876 (2018).

Polling place in Minnesota qualifies as “nonpublic forum” for First Amendment free speech purposes because it is government-controlled property set aside for sole purpose of voting and as such is subject to rules that strictly govern who may be present, for what purpose, and for how long. Minn. Voters Alliance v. Mansky, 138 S.Ct. 1876 (2018).

Minnesota statute prohibiting any person from wearing political badge, political button, or other political insignia inside a polling place on election day pursued permissible objective under First Amendment but violated amendment’s Free Speech Clause because statute did not define term “political,” which could have expansive and indeterminate meaning. Minn. Voters Alliance v. Mansky, 138 S.Ct. 1876 (2018).

This section forbids erection of campaign sign before election day for display on election day within 100 feet of polling place. State v. Zimmer, Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order, No. T3-94-3002 (Mille Lacs Co. Dist. Ct., May 5, 1995).

Statute does not apply to private property or against a person who displays campaign material within a private business. Statute does apply to candidate who drove past polling place on election day in truck bearing campaign sign promoting his candidacy. Schimming v. Riverblood, OAH 7-6347-20326-CV (June 5, 2009).

Former subdivision 2 prohibiting election day campaigning was unconstitutional. Op. Atty. Gen. 627-h, August 28, 1989.

There is no provision of the Minnesota election law prohibiting the posting of signs within one hundred feet of a polling place except such posting may not be done on election day. Op. Atty. Gen. 627H, May 31, 1966.

Stickers may not be distributed at or within the polling place or within one hundred feet thereof on election day. Op. Atty. Gen. 627B-8, March 9, 1945.

See M.R. 8230.1450 USE OF STICKERS PROHIBITED (May 26, 2010).

Stickers may not be left in an election polling place on election day. Op. Atty. Gen. 28A-8, August 7, 1942. See M.R. 8230.1450 USE OF STICKERS PROHIBITED (May 26, 2010).

211B.12 LEGAL EXPENDITURES

Use of money collected for political purposes is prohibited unless the use is reasonably related to the conduct of election campaigns, or is a noncampaign disbursement as defined in section 10A.01, subdivision 26. The following are permitted expenditures when made for political purposes:

(1)          salaries, wages, and fees;

(2)          communications, mailing, transportation, and travel;

(3)          campaign advertising;

(4)          printing;

(5)          office and other space and necessary equipment, furnishings, and incidental supplies;

(6)          charitable contributions of not more than $100 to any charity organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code annually, except that the amount contributed is not limited by this clause if the political committee, political fund, party unit, principal campaign committee, or campaign fund of a candidate for political subdivision office that made the contribution dissolves within one year after the contribution is made; and

(7)          other expenses, not included in clauses (1) to (6), that are reasonably related to the conduct of election campaigns. In addition, expenditures made for the purpose of providing information to constituents, whether or not related to the conduct of an election, are permitted expenses. Money collected for political purposes and assets of a political committee or political fund may not be converted to personal use.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 12; 1993 c 318 art 2 s 48; 2008 c 295 s 23; 2010 c 327 s 27; 2015 c 73 s 23

NOTES AND DECISIONS

211B.12

The word “salary” is construed in an election contest as being used in broad sense of compensation embracing both “salary” and “fees”. Spokely v. Haaven, 183 Minn. 467, 237 N.W. 11 (1931).

Evidence that Respondent city council member spent campaign funds on hairstyling and dry-cleaning services and AAA membership is sufficient to show violation of statute; such expenses were not reasonably related to Respondent’s campaign, and personal benefits conferred upon Respondent were so disproportionate as to convert disbursements to personal use. Kaari v. Johnson, OAH 8-0325-20970-CV (March 2, 2010).

211B.13 BRIBERY, TREATING, AND SOLICITATION.

Subdivision 1. Bribery, advancing money, and treating prohibited. A person who willfully, directly or indirectly, advances, pays, gives, promises, or lends any money, food, liquor, clothing, entertainment, or other thing of monetary value, or who offers, promises, or endeavors to obtain any money, position, appointment, employment, or other valuable consideration, to or for a person, in order to induce a voter to refrain from voting, or to vote in a particular way, at an election, is guilty of a felony. This section does not prevent a candidate from stating publicly preference for or support of another candidate to be voted for at the same primary or election. Refreshments of food or nonalcoholic beverages having a value up to $5 consumed on the premises at a private gathering or public meeting are not prohibited under this section.

Subd. 2. Certain solicitations prohibited. A person may not knowingly solicit, receive, or accept any money, property, or other thing of monetary value, or a promise or pledge of these that is a disbursement prohibited by this section or section 211B.15.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 13; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 63.

NOTES AND DECISIONS

211B.13

School district’s board and superintendent were not buying or attempting to buy votes for referendum in violation of statute when they informed voters of the property tax consequences of passing the referendum; board and superintendent had First Amendment right and statutory obligation to inform voters of tax consequences. Yaggie v. Schmidt, 855 N.W.2d 769 (Minn. App. 2014).

Giving of drink of liquor as act of mere hospitality is not violation of Corrupt Practices Act. Engelbret v. Tuttle, 185 Minn. 608, 242 N.W. 425 (1932). Giving shower gifts to friends similar in value to gifts given by other guests was not a violation. Id.

Giving voter a drink of liquor while actively soliciting vote is a violation.  Miller v. Maier, 136 Minn. 231, 161 N.W. 513 (1917).

Newspaper’s decision to reprint candidates’ campaign ads due to errors in initial printing did not violate statute, even though reprinting, unlike initial printing, was in ad space usually costing more than candidates paid for initial printing. Clausen v. Tribune, OAH 3-0325-20975-CV (November 23, 2009).

Fact that candidate’s campaign billboard is located on property owned by corporation is not sufficient to show that corporation made prohibited corporate contribution to candidate or his campaign committee. Rego v. Emmer, OAH 15-0320-20325-CV (March 18, 2009).

The making in good faith by a group of citizens to an entire county of an offer of site and money for a new court house is not a felony under this section. Op. Atty. Gen. 627B-3, May 6, 1954. Accord Op. Atty. Gen. 106-e, April 10, 1995.

Whether the distribution of objects such as matchbooks, pencils, emery boards, etc. is a violation of this section is a question of fact upon which the attorney general cannot pass judgment. Op. Atty. Gen. 627F-1, March 7, 1950.

Acceptance of cut in salary pursuant to resolution of county board would not be violation of Corrupt Practices Act. Op. Atty. Gen., July 27, 1933. For other opinions treating this issue see also Op. Atty. Gen. 359A-22, March 22, 1933; Op. Atty. Gen. 627B-3, March 20, 1933; Op. Atty. Gen. 359A-22, July 11, 1932 and January 27, 1932.

211B.14 DIGEST OF LAWS.

The secretary of state, with the approval of the attorney general, shall prepare and print an easily understandable digest of this chapter and annotations of it. The digest may include other related laws and annotations at the discretion of the secretary of state.

The secretary of state shall distribute the digest to candidates and committees through the county auditor or otherwise as the secretary of state considers expedient. A copy of the digest and, if appropriate, a financial reporting form and a certification of filing form must be distributed to each candidate by the filing officer at the time that the candidate’s affidavit of candidacy is filed.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 14; 1993 c 223 s 26; 1997 c 147 s 73

211B.15 CORPORATE POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS.

Subdivision 1. Definitions. For purposes of this section, “corporation” means:

(1)          a corporation organized for profit that does business in this state;

(2)          a nonprofit corporation that carries out activities in this state; or

(3)          a limited liability company formed under chapter 322B or 322C, or under similar laws of another state, that does business in this state.

Subd. 2. Prohibited contributions. (a) A corporation may not make a contribution or offer or agree to make a contribution directly or indirectly, of any money, property, free service of its officers, employees, or members, or thing of monetary value to a political party, organization, committee, or individual to promote or defeat the candidacy of an individual for nomination, election, or appointment to a political office.

(b)          A political party, organization, committee, or individual may not accept a contribution or an offer or agreement to make a contribution that a corporation is prohibited from making under paragraph (a).

(c)           For the purpose of this subdivision, “contribution” includes an expenditure to promote or defeat the election or nomination of a candidate to a political office that is made with the authorization or expressed or implied consent of, or in cooperation or in concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate or committee established to support or oppose a candidate but does not include an independent expenditure authorized by subdivision 3.

Subd. 3. Independent expenditures. A corporation may not make an expenditure or offer or agree to make an expenditure to promote or defeat the candidacy of an individual for nomination, election, or appointment to a political office, unless the expenditure is an independent expenditure. For the purpose of this subdivision, “independent expenditure” has the meaning given in section 10A.01, subdivision 18.

Subd. 4. Ballot question. A corporation may make contributions or expenditures to promote or defeat a ballot question, to qualify a question for placement on the ballot unless otherwise prohibited by law, or to express its views on issues of public concern. A corporation may not make a contribution to a candidate for nomination, election, or appointment to a political office or to a committee organized wholly or partly to promote or defeat a candidate.

Subd. 5. News media. This section does not prohibit publication or broadcasting of news items or editorial comments by the news media.

Subd. 6. Penalty for individuals. (a) An officer, manager, stockholder, member, agent, employee, attorney, or other representative of a corporation acting on behalf of the corporation who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty of up to ten times the amount of the violation, but in no case more than $10,000, imposed by the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board under chapter 10A or imposed by the Office of Administrative Hearings under this chapter.

(b) Knowingly violating this section is a crime. An officer, manager, stockholder, member, agent, employee, attorney, or other representative of a corporation acting in behalf of the corporation who is convicted of knowingly violating this section may be fined not more than $20,000 or be imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.

Subd. 7. Penalty for corporations. (a) A corporation that violates this section is subject to a civil penalty of up to ten times the amount of the violation, but in no case more than $10,000, imposed by the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board under chapter 10A or imposed by the Office of Administrative Hearings under this chapter.

(b) Knowingly violating this section is a crime. A corporation convicted of knowingly violating this section is subject to a fine not greater than $40,000. A convicted domestic corporation may be dissolved as well as fined. If a foreign or nonresident corporation is convicted, in addition to being fined, its right to do business in this state may be declared forfeited.

Subd. 7a. Application of penalties. No penalty may be imposed for a violation of this section that is subject to a civil penalty under section 10A.121.

Subd. 7b. Knowing violations. An individual or a corporation knowingly violates this section if, at the time of a transaction, the individual or the corporation knew:

(1)          that the transaction causing the violation constituted a contribution under chapter 10A, chapter 211A, or chapter 383B; and

(2)          that the contributor was a corporation subject to the prohibitions of subdivision 2.

Subd. 8. Permitted activity; political party. It is not a violation of this section for a political party, as defined in section 200.02, subdivision 7, to form a nonprofit corporation for the sole purpose of holding real property to be used exclusively as the party’s headquarters.

Subd. 9. Media projects. It is not a violation of this section for a corporation to contribute to or conduct public media projects to encourage individuals to attend precinct caucuses, register, or vote if the projects are not controlled by or operated for the advantage of a candidate, political party, or committee.

Subd. 10. Meeting facilities. It is not a violation of this section for a corporation to provide meeting facilities to a committee, political party, or candidate on a nondiscriminatory and nonpreferential basis.

Subd. 11. Messages on premises. It is not a violation of this section for a corporation selling products or services to the public to post on its public premises messages that promote participation in precinct caucuses, voter registration, or elections if the messages are not controlled by or operated for the advantage of a candidate, political party, or committee.

Subd. 13. Aiding violation; penalty. An individual who aids, abets, or advises a violation of this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Subd. 14. Prosecutions; venue. Violations of this section may be prosecuted in the county where the payment or contribution was made, where services were rendered, or where money was paid or distributed.

Subd. 15. Nonprofit corporation exemption. The prohibitions in this section do not apply to a nonprofit corporation that:

(1)          is not organized or operating for the principal purpose of conducting a business;

(2)          has no shareholders or other persons affiliated so as to have a claim on its assets or earnings; and

(3)          was not established by a business corporation or a labor union and has a policy not to accept significant contributions from those entities.

Subd. 16. Employee political fund solicitation. Any solicitation of political contributions by an employee must be in writing, informational and nonpartisan in nature, and not promotional for any particular candidate or group of candidates. The solicitation must consist only of a general request on behalf of an independent political committee (conduit fund) and must state that there is no minimum contribution, that a contribution or lack thereof will in no way impact the employee’s employment, that the employee must direct the contribution to candidates of the employee’s choice, and that any response by the employee shall remain confidential and shall not be directed to the employee’s supervisors or managers. Questions from an employee regarding a solicitation may be answered orally or in writing consistent with the above requirements. Nothing in this subdivision authorizes a corporate donation of an employee’s time prohibited under subdivision 2.

Subd. 17. Nonprofit corporation political activity. It is not a violation of this section for a nonprofit corporation to provide administrative assistance to one political committee or political fund that is associated with the nonprofit corporation and registered with the campaign finance and public disclosure board under section 10A.14. Such assistance must be limited to accounting, clerical or legal services, bank charges, utilities, office space, and supplies. The records of the political committee or political fund may be kept on the premises of the nonprofit corporation.

The administrative assistance provided by the nonprofit corporation to the political committee or political fund is limited annually to the lesser of $5,000 or 7-1/2 percent of the expenditures of the political committee or political fund.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 15; 1989 c 209 art 2 s 26; 1992 c 517 art 1 s 1-9; 1993 c 318 art 2 s 49; 1996 c 459 s

3,4; 1997 c 202 art 2 s 63; 2010 c 397 s 16, 17, 18, 20; 2013 c 138 art 1 s 51-53; 2015 c 73 s 24; 2016 c 135 art 4 s 8

NOTES AND DECISIONS 211B.15

District court did not abuse its discretion in denying preliminary injunction sought by Minnesota corporations to prevent enforcement of provision of Minnesota’s Fair Campaign Practices law prohibiting corporate political contributions as in violation of their First Amendment speech rights. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, Inc. v. Swanson, 692 F.3d 864 (8th Cir. 2012).

Statutory ban on direct corporate contributions to political candidates and affiliated entities, such as political parties, did not violate Equal Protection Clause; crucial differences existed between structure and functioning of corporations and unions that justified differential treatment under election laws. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, Inc. v. Swanson, 640 F.3d 304 (8th Cir. 2011).

Corporations seeking preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of Minnesota law precluding corporations from making direct contributions to candidates and political parties did not have likelihood of success on the merits of their claims that the law violated plaintiff’s constitutional rights. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, Inc. v. Swanson, 741 F.Supp.2d 1115 (D. Minn. 2010).

Minnesota statute providing that a corporation may not make an independent expenditure or offer or agree to make an independent expenditure to promote or defeat the candidacy of an individual for nomination, election, or appointment to a political office prohibited independent and indirect corporate expenditures on political speech, in violation of the First Amendment. Minnesota Chamber of Commerce v. Gaertner, 710 F.Supp.2d 868 (D. Minn. 2010).

Because of potential chilling effect on free speech rights of chambers of commerce that operated as nonprofit corporations, chambers satisfied injury-in- fact requirement for Article III standing in action challenging constitutionality of statutes; case was ripe for review; and chambers had reasonable fear of prosecution under statute. St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce v. Gaertner, 439 F.3d 481 (8th Cir. 2006).

Statute prohibiting corporate independent expenditures was unconstitutional as applied to certain nonprofit organizations. Day v. Holohan, 34 F.3d 1356 (8th Cir. 1994).

This section does not prohibit sponsorship of “conduit” or “nonpartisan” political action committees by a corporation. Minnesota Association of Commerce and Industry v. Foley, 316 N.W. 2d 524 (Minn. 1982).

Newspaper’s decision to reprint candidates’ campaign ads due to errors in initial printing did not violate statute, even though reprinting, unlike initial printing, was in ad space usually costing more than candidates paid for initial printing. Clausen v. Star Tribune,, OAH 3-0325-20975-CV (November 23, 2009).

“Corporation” as used in statute does not include school district or its board members. Barry v. St. Anthony-New Brighton Independent School District 282,OAH 3-6326-20564-CV (May 21, 2009).

211B.16 PROSECUTION.

Subd. 3. County attorney authority. A county attorney may prosecute any violation of this chapter.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 16; 2004 c 277 s 5

NOTES AND DECISIONS 211B.16

County attorney may proceed by complaint and information rather than impaneling grand jury. Op. Atty. Gen. 627B-1, August 18, 1966.

Attorney employed to assist county attorney is not required to conduct a private and independent investigation but may conduct same so as to enable attorney to present the county attorney relevant facts and names of witnesses capable of giving competent testimony in proceeding. Op. Atty. Gen. 121A- 1, September 29, 1952.

211B.17 FORFEITURE OF NOMINATION OR OFFICE; CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE NOT FORFEITED.

Subdivision 1. Forfeiture of nomination or office. Except as provided in subdivision 2, if a candidate is found guilty of violating this chapter or an offense was committed by another individual with the knowledge, consent, or connivance of the candidate, the court, after entering the adjudication of guilty, shall enter a supplemental judgment declaring that the candidate has forfeited the nomination or office. If the court enters the supplemental judgment, it shall transmit to the filing officer a transcript of the supplemental judgment, the nomination or office becomes vacant, and the vacancy must be filled as provided by law.

Subd. 2. Circumstances where nomination or office not forfeited. In a trial for a violation of this chapter,

the candidate’s nomination or election is not void if the court finds that:

(1)          an offense, though committed by the candidate or with the candidate’s knowledge, consent, or

connivance, was trivial; or

(2)          an act or omission of a candidate arose from accidental miscalculation or other reasonable cause, but in any case not from a want of good faith; and the court also finds that it would be unjust for a candidate to forfeit the nomination or election. None of these findings is a defense to a conviction under this chapter.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 17

NOTES AND DECISIONS 211B.17

Alleged violations of Fair Campaign Practices Act by newspaper stated no justiciable issue for election contest. Derus v. Higgins, 555 N.W.2d 515 (Minn. 1996).

211B.18 DISQUALIFIED CANDIDATE NOT TO HOLD VARIOUS POSITIONS.

A candidate whose election to office has been set aside for a violation of this chapter may not be appointed, during the period fixed by law as the term of the office, to fill a vacancy in that office. A candidate or other individual who is convicted of a violation of this chapter may not be appointed, during the period fixed by law as the term of the office with respect to which the election was held and the offense was committed, to fill a vacancy that may occur in the office. An appointment to an office made contrary to the provisions of this section is void.

A candidate or other individual who is convicted of a violation of this chapter is not qualified, during the period fixed by law as the term of the office with respect to which the election was held and the offense was committed, to fill a vacancy in an office for which the legislature may establish qualifications under article XII, section 3, of the Minnesota Constitution.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 18

NOTES AND DECISIONS 211B.18

Legislator excluded from office due to violation of Fair Campaign Practices Act could not be precluded from running in special election solely on account of that prior violation.  Pavlak v. Growe, 284 N.W.2d 174 (Minn. 1979).

211B.19 PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION.

A violation of this chapter for which no other penalty is provided is a misdemeanor.

History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 19

211B.32 COMPLAINTS OF UNFAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES.

Subdivision 1. Administrative remedy; exhaustion. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a complaint alleging a violation of chapter 211A or 211B must be filed with the office. The complaint must be finally disposed of by the office before the alleged violation may be prosecuted by a county attorney.

(b) Complaints arising under those sections and related to those individuals and associations specified in section 10A.02, subdivision 11, paragraph (a), must be filed with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

Subd. 2. Limitation on filing. The complaint must be filed with the office within one year after the occurrence of the act or failure to act that is the subject of the complaint, except that if the act or failure to act involves fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation that could not be discovered during that one-year period, the complaint may be filed with the office within one year after the fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation was discovered.

Subd. 3. Form of complaint. The complaint must be in writing, submitted under oath, and detail the factual basis for the claim that a violation of law has occurred. The office may prescribe the form of a complaint.

Subd. 4. Proof of claim. The burden of proving the allegations in the complaint is on the complainant. The standard of proof of a violation of section 211B.06, relating to false statements in paid political advertising or campaign material, is clear and convincing evidence. The standard of proof of any other violation of chapter 211A or 211B is a preponderance of the evidence.

Subd. 5. Filing fee; waiver; refund. (a) The complaint must be accompanied by a filing fee of $50, unless filed by a filing officer under section 211A.05, subdivision 2.

(b)          The office may waive the payment of the filing fee, if the individual seeking a waiver of the fee files with the office an affidavit stating that the individual is financially unable to pay the fee.

(c)           The office may refund the filing fee of a complainant who prevails on the merits.

Subd. 6. Service on respondent. Upon receipt of the filed complaint, the office must immediately notify the respondent and provide the respondent with a copy of the complaint by the most expeditious means available.

History: 2004 c 277 s 7; 2013 c 138 art 1 s 54

NOTES AND DECISIONS 211B.32

On appeal of decision adjudicating claims of unfair campaign practices, appellate court presumes decisions of Office of Administrative Hearings are correct.

Lewison v. Hutchinson, 929 N.W.2d 444 (Minn. Ct. App. 2019).

Claim alleging a violation of statute that made it a criminal offense to publish a false statement to defeat a ballot question was required to be filed within one year of the publication of the statement. Abrahamson v. Saint Louis Cnty. Sch. Dist., 819 N.W.2d 129 (Minn. 2012).

Statutes that established administrative hearing process, which heard allegations filed by opponents of successful candidates in city council election that candidates violated statutes establishing financial-reporting requirements and statutes regulating campaign practices, did not unconstitutionally intrude on First Amendment rights of successful candidates, as statutes merely established a process to consider violations of election statutes and did not establish substantive law.  Riley v. Jankowski, 713 N.W.2d 379 (Minn. App. 2006).

211B.33 PRIMA FACIE REVIEW.

Subdivision 1. Time for review. The chief administrative law judge must randomly assign an administrative law judge to review the complaint. Within one business day after the complaint was filed with the office, when practicable, but never longer than three business days, the administrative law judge must make a preliminary determination for its disposition.

Subd. 2. Recommendation. (a) If the administrative law judge determines that the complaint does not set forth a prima facie violation of chapter 211A or 211B, the administrative law judge must dismiss the complaint.

(b)          If the administrative law judge determines that the complaint sets forth a prima facie violation of section 211B.06 and was filed within 60 days before the primary or special election or within 90 days before the general election to which the complaint relates, the administrative law judge must conduct an expedited probable cause hearing under section 211B.34.

(c)           If the administrative law judge determines that the complaint sets forth a prima facie violation of a provision of chapter 211A or 211B, other than section 211B.06, and that the complaint was filed within 60 days before the primary or special election or within 90 days before the general election to which the complaint relates, the administrative law judge, on request of any party, must conduct an expedited probable cause hearing under section 211B.34.

(d)          If the administrative law judge determines that the complaint sets forth a prima facie violation of chapter 211A or 211B, and was filed more than 60 days before the primary or special election or more than 90 days before the general election to which the complaint relates, the administrative law judge must schedule an evidentiary hearing under section 211B.35.

Subd. 3. Notice to parties. The office must notify all parties of the determination made under subdivision

2.            If the complaint is scheduled for hearing, the notice must identify the time and place of the hearing and inform all parties that they may submit evidence, affidavits, documentation, and argument for consideration by the administrative law judge.

Subd. 4. Joinder and separation of complaints. The chief administrative law judge may direct that two or more complaints be joined for disposition if the chief administrative law judge determines that the allegations in each complaint are of the same or similar character, are based on the same act or failure to act, or are based on two or more acts or failures to act constituting parts of a common scheme or plan. If one complaint contains two or more allegations, the chief administrative law judge may separate the allegations, if they are not of the same or similar character, if they are not based on the same act or failure to act, or if they are not based on two or more acts or failures to act constituting parts of a common scheme or plan. If the chief administrative law judge separates the allegations in a complaint, the assigned administrative law judge or judges may make separate recommendations under subdivision 2 for each allegation.

History: 2004 c 277 s 8

211B.34 PROBABLE CAUSE HEARING.

Subdivision 1. Time for review. The assigned administrative law judge must hold a probable cause hearing on the complaint no later than three business days after receiving the assignment if an expedited hearing is required by section 211B.33, except that for good cause the administrative law judge may hold the hearing no later than seven days after receiving the assignment. If an expedited hearing is not required by section 211B.33, the administrative law judge must hold the hearing not later than 30 days after receiving the assignment.

Subd. 2. Disposition. At the probable cause hearing, the administrative law judge must make one of the following determinations:

(a)          The complaint is frivolous, or there is no probable cause to believe that the violation of law alleged in the complaint has occurred. If the administrative law judge makes either determination, the administrative law judge must dismiss the complaint.

(b)          There is probable cause to believe that the violation of law alleged in the complaint has occurred. If the administrative law judge so determines, the chief administrative law judge must schedule the complaint for an evidentiary hearing under section 211B.35.

Subd. 3. Reconsideration by chief administrative law judge. (a) If the administrative law judge dismisses the complaint, the administrative law judge shall provide to the complainant written notice of the right to seek reconsideration of the decision on the record by the chief administrative law judge.

(b) A petition for reconsideration must be filed within two business days after the dismissal. The chief administrative law judge must make a decision on the petition within three business days after receiving the petition. If the chief administrative law judge determines that the assigned administrative law judge made a clear error of law and grants the petition, within five business days after granting the petition, the chief administrative law judge shall schedule the complaint for an evidentiary hearing under section 211B.35.

History: 2004 c 277 s 9

211B.35 EVIDENTIARY HEARING BY PANEL.

Subdivision 1. Deadline for hearing. When required by section 211B.34, subdivision 2 or 3, the chief administrative law judge must assign the complaint to a panel of three administrative law judges for an evidentiary hearing.  The hearing must be held within the following times:

(1)          ten days after the complaint was assigned, if an expedited probable cause hearing was requested or required under section 211B.33;

(2)          30 days after the complaint was filed, if it was filed within 60 days before the primary or special election or within 90 days before the general election to which the complaint relates; or

(3)          90 days after the complaint was filed, if it was filed at any other time.

For good cause shown, the panel may extend the deadline set forth in clause (2) or (3) by 60 days.

Subd. 2. Disposition of complaint. The panel must determine whether the violation alleged in the complaint occurred and must make at least one of the following dispositions:

(a)          The panel may dismiss the complaint.

(b)          The panel may issue a reprimand.

(c)           The panel may find that a statement made in a paid advertisement or campaign material violated section 211B.06.

(d)          The panel may impose a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for any violation of chapter 211A or 211B.

(e)          The panel may refer the complaint to the appropriate county attorney. Subd. 3. Time for disposition. The panel must dispose of the complaint:

(1)          within three days after the hearing record closes, if an expedited probable cause hearing was required by section 211B.33; and

(2)          within 14 days after the hearing record closes, if an expedited probable cause hearing was not required by section 211B.33.

History: 2004 c 277 s 10

NOTES AND DECISIONS 211B.35

Statutes that established administrative hearing process, which heard allegations filed by opponents of successful candidates in city council election that candidates violated statutes establishing financial-reporting requirements and statutes regulating campaign practices, did not unconstitutionally intrude on First Amendment rights of successful candidates, as statutes merely established a process to consider violations of election statutes and did not establish substantive law. Riley v. Jankowski, 713 N.W.2d 379 (Minn. App. 2006).

211B.36 PROCEDURES.

Subdivision 1. Evidence and argument. The administrative law judge or panel may consider any evidence and argument submitted until a hearing record is closed, including affidavits and documentation, or may continue a hearing to enable the parties to submit additional testimony.

Subd. 2. Withdrawal of complaint. At any time before an evidentiary hearing under section 211B.35 begins, a complainant may withdraw a complaint filed under section 211B.32. After the evidentiary hearing begins, a complaint filed under section 211B.32 may only be withdrawn with the permission of the panel.

Subd. 3. Costs. If the assigned administrative law judge or panel determines the complaint is frivolous, they may order the complainant to pay the respondent's reasonable attorney fees and to pay the costs of the office in the proceeding in which the complaint was dismissed.

Subd. 4. Hearings public. A hearing under section 211B.34 or 211B.35 may be conducted by conference telephone call or by interactive television. All hearings must be open to the public.

Subd. 5. Judicial review. A party aggrieved by a final decision on a complaint filed under section 211B.32 is entitled to judicial review of the decision as provided in sections 14.63 to 14.69; however, proceedings on a complaint filed under section 211B.32 are not a contested case within the meaning of chapter 14 and are not otherwise governed by chapter 14.

History: 2004 c 277 s 11

NOTES AND DECISIONS 211B.36

On appeal of decisions adjudicating claims of unfair compaign practices, appellate court presumes decisions of Office of Administrative Hearings are correct. Lewison v. Hutchinson, 929 N.W. 2d 444 (Minn. Ct. App. 2019).

Statutes regulating campaign practices did not violate the separation-of-powers doctrine or amount to an unconstitutional delegation of district court’s original jurisdiction. Riley v. Jankowski, 713 N.W.2d 379 (Minn. App. 2006).

211B.37 COSTS ASSESSED

Except as otherwise provided in section 211B.36, subdivision 3, the chief administrative law judge shall assess the cost of considering complaints filed under section 211B.32 as provided in this section. Costs of complaints relating to a statewide ballot question or an election for a statewide or legislative office must be paid from appropriations to the Office of Administrative Hearings for this purpose. Costs of complaints relating to any other ballot question or elective office must be paid from appropriations to the office for this purpose.

History: 2004 c 277 s 12; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 75; 2013 c 138 art 4 s 7; 2015 c 73 s 25; 2015 c 77 art 2 s 52

211A.09 FORFEITURE OF NOMINATION OR OFFICE.

Subdivision 1. Forfeiture required. Except as provided in subdivision 2, if a candidate is convicted of violating a provision of this chapter or if an offense was committed by another individual with the knowledge, consent, or connivance of the candidate, the court, after entering the adjudication of guilty, shall enter a supplemental judgment declaring that the candidate has forfeited the nomination or office. If the court enters the supplemental judgment, it shall transmit to the filing officer a transcript of the supplemental judgment, the nomination or office becomes vacant, and the vacancy must be filled as provided by law.

Subd. 2. Circumstances where nomination or office not forfeited. In a trial for a violation of this chapter,

the candidate’s nomination or election is not void if the court finds that:

(1)          an offense, though committed by the candidate or with the candidate’s knowledge, consent, or

connivance, was trivial; or

(2)          an act or omission of a candidate arose from accidental miscalculation or other reasonable cause, but in any case not from a want of good faith, and that it would be unjust for the candidate to forfeit the nomination or election.

Neither of these findings is a defense to a conviction under this chapter.

History: 1988 c 578 art 2 s 9

NOTES AND DECISIONS 211A.09

To sustain charge under this section must show omissions were deliberate, serious, and material violations of election law. Moulton v. Newton, 274 Minn. 545, 144 N.W. 2d 706 (1966).

As to whether acts complained of are trivial or unimportant, see Bank v. Egan, 240 Minn. 192, 60 N.W. 2d 257 (1953).

211A.10 DISQUALIFIED INDIVIDUALS NOT TO HOLD VARIOUS POSITIONS.

A candidate whose election to office has been set aside for a violation of this chapter may not be appointed, during the period fixed by law as the term of the office, to fill a vacancy that may occur in the office. A candidate or other individual who is convicted of a violation of this chapter may not be appointed, during the period fixed by law as the term of the office with respect to which the election was held and the offense was committed, to fill a vacancy in the office. An appointment to an office made contrary to this section is void.

A candidate or other individual who is convicted of a violation of this chapter is not qualified, during the period fixed by law as the term of the office with respect to which the election was held and the offense was committed, to fill a vacancy in an office for which the legislature may establish qualifications under article XII, section 3, of the Minnesota Constitution.

History: 1988 c 578 art 2 s 10

NOTES AND DECISIONS 211A.10

Legislature may regulate the exercise of the right to vote. This section held not to add to the constitutional qualifications for holding office. Saari v. Gleason, 126 Minn. 378, 148 N.W. 293 (1914).

211A.11 PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS.

A violation of this chapter for which no other penalty is provided is a misdemeanor.

History: 1988 c 578 art 2 s 11

211A.12 CONTRIBUTION LIMITS.

A candidate or a candidate’s committee may not accept aggregate contributions made or delivered by an individual or committee in excess of $600 in an election year for the office sought and $250 in other years; except that a candidate or a candidate’s committee for an office whose territory has a population over 100,000 may not accept aggregate contributions made or delivered by an individual or committee in excess of $1,000 in an election year for the office sought and $250 in other years.

The following deliveries are not subject to the bundling limitation in this section:

(1)          delivery of contributions collected by a member of the candidate’s committee, such as a block worker or a volunteer who hosts a fundraising event, to the committee’s treasurer; and

(2)          a delivery made by an individual on behalf of the individual’s spouse.

Notwithstanding sections 211A.02, subdivision 3, and 410.21, this section supersedes any home rule charter.

History: 1993 c 318 art 2 s 46; 1997 c 224 s 1; 2014 c 265 s 2

211A.13 PROHIBITED TRANSFERS.

A candidate for political subdivision office must not accept contributions from the principal campaign committee of a candidate as defined in section 10A.01, subdivision 34. A candidate for political subdivision office must not make contributions to a principal campaign committee, unless the contribution is made from the personal funds of the candidate for political subdivision office.

History: 1993 c 318 art 2 s 47; 2003 c 2 art 1 s 21

NOTES AND DECISIONS 211A.13

Section prohibits transfers of funds between candidates and committees subject to Chapter 10A, but not transfers between candidates for local offices. Op. Atty. Gen. 627e, August 1, 1994.

211A.14 CONTRIBUTIONS AND SOLICITATIONS DURING LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

A legislator or state constitutional officer who is a candidate for a county, city, or town office, the

candidate’s principal campaign committee, and any other political committee with the candidate’s name or title may not solicit or accept a contribution from a political fund or registered lobbyist during a regular session of the legislature.

History: 1997 c 224 s 2

205.07 CITY GENERAL ELECTION.

Subdivision 1. Date of election. The municipal general election in each city shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in every even-numbered year. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary and subject to the provisions of this section, the governing body of a city may, by ordinance passed at a regular meeting held at least 180 calendar days before the first day to file for candidacy in the next municipal election, decide to hold the election on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in either an even- or odd-numbered year. A city may hold elections in either the even-numbered year or the odd- numbered year, but not both. When a city changes its elections from one year to another, and does not provide for the expiration of terms by ordinance, the term of an incumbent expiring at a time when no municipal election is held in the months immediately prior to expiration is extended until the date for taking office following the next scheduled municipal election. If the change results in having three council members to be elected at a succeeding election, the two individuals receiving the highest vote shall serve for terms of four years and the individual receiving the third highest number of votes shall serve for a term of two years. To provide an orderly transition to the odd or even year election plan, the governing body of the city may adopt supplementary ordinances regulating initial elections and officers to be chosen at the elections and shortening or lengthening the terms of incumbents and those elected at the initial election. The term of office for themayor may be either two or four years. The term of office of council members is four years. Whenever the time of the municipal election is changed, the city clerk immediately shall notify in writing the county auditor and secretary of state of the change of date. Thereafter the municipal general election shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in each odd-numbered or even-numbered year until the ordinance is revoked and notification of the change is made. A municipal general election scheduled to be held in an odd- numbered year may be postponed for inclement weather as provided in section 205. 105.

Subd. 1a. City council members; expiration of terms. The terms of all city council members of charter cities expire on the first Monday in January of the year in which they expire. All officers of charter cities chosen and qualified shall hold office until their successors qualify.

Subd. 3. Effect of ordinance; referendum. An ordinance changing the year of the municipal election is effective 240 days after passage and publication or at a later date fixed in the ordinance. Within 180 days after passage and publication of the ordinance, a petition requesting a referendum on the ordinance may be filed with the city clerk. The petition shall be signed by eligible voters equal in number to ten percent of the total number of votes cast in the city at the last municipal general election. If the requisite petition is filed within the prescribed period, the ordinance shall not become effective until it is approved by a majority of the voters voting on the question at a general or special election held on a date authorized by section 205.10, subdivision 3a. If the petition is filed, the governing body may reconsider its action in adopting the ordinance.

History: 1959 c 675 art 6 s 7; 1973 c 123 art 3 s 4; 1974 c 337 s 3; 1976 c 44 s 5; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 38; 1983 c 62 s 3; 1986 c 444; 1991 c 227 s 19,20; 1994 c 646 s 6; 1995 c 8 s 5; 2010 c 201 s 58, 59; 2014 c 264 s 22; 2017 c 92 art

1 s 23; 2017 c 92 art 2 s 9

NOTES AND DECISIONS 205.07

Upon effective date of 1994 and 1995 amendments, this section would apply to both home-rule and statutory cities. Op. Atty. Gen. 64f, October 27, 1995.

The adoption of a resolution rather than ordinance changing the date for a village election and so worded as to affect future elections, is valid and would control future election. Op. Atty. Gen. 472F, October 26, 1966.

205.075 TOWN GENERAL ELECTION.

Subdivision 1. Date of election. The general election in a town must be held on the second Tuesday in March, except as provided in subdivision 2 or when moved for bad weather as provided in section 365.51, subdivision 1.

Subd. 2. Alternate date. A town may, by resolution or ordinance, designate the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of either the even-numbered or the odd-numbered year as the date of the town general election. Town supervisors elected at a November town general election shall serve four-year terms. The ordinance or resolution changing the date of the town general election must include a plan to shorten or lengthen the terms of office to provide an orderly transition to the November election schedule. The ordinance or resolution changing the date of the town general election may be proposed by the town board or by a resolution of the electors adopted at the annual town meeting and is effective upon an affirmative vote of the electors at the next town general election.

Subd. 2a. Return to March election. The town board of a town that has adopted the alternative November election date under subdivision 2 may, after having conducted at least two elections on the alternative date, adopt a resolution designating the second Tuesday in March as the date of the town general election. The resolution must be adopted by a unanimous vote of the town supervisors and must include a plan to shorten or lengthen the terms of office to provide an orderly transition to the March election schedule. The resolution becomes effective upon an affirmative vote of the electors at the next town general election.

Subd. 3. More than one seat to be filled at any election. A candidate filing for town supervisor when more than one seat is to be filled at an election held under subdivision 2 must designate when filing the specific seat which the candidate is seeking.

Subd. 4. Election judges; party balance. The provisions of sections 204B.19, subdivision 5; 204B.21, subdivision 2; 204C.15; 204C.19; 206.83; and 206.86, subdivision 2, relating to party balance in the appointment of judges and to duties to be performed by judges of different major political parties do not apply to a town election not held in conjunction with a statewide election.

History: 1994 c 646 s 7; 1997 c 19 s 1; 1999 c 132 s 30; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 34; 2008 c 295 s 17; 2010 c 180 s 5, 6

205.10 MUNICIPAL SPECIAL ELECTIONS.

Subdivision 1. Questions. Special elections may be held in a city or town on a question on which the voters are authorized by law or charter to pass judgment. A special election may be ordered by the governing body of the municipality on its own motion or, on a question that has not been submitted to the voters in an election within the previous six months, upon a petition signed by a number of voters equal to 20 percent of the votes cast at the last municipal general election. A question is carried only with the majority in its favor required by law or charter. The election officials for a special election shall be the same as for the most recent municipal general election unless changed according to law. Otherwise special elections shall be conducted and the returns made in the manner provided for the municipal general election.

Subd. 2. Vacancies in city offices. Special elections shall be held in statutory cities to fill vacancies in elective city offices as provided in section 412.02, subdivision 2a.

Subd. 3a. Uniform election dates. (a) Except as allowed in paragraph (b) and subdivision 4, a special election held in a city or town must be held on one of the following dates: the second Tuesday in February, the second Tuesday in April, the second Tuesday in May, the second Tuesday in August, or the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. A home rule charter city must not designate additional dates in its charter.

(b) A special election may be held on a date other than those designated in paragraph (a) if the special election is held in response to an emergency or disaster. “Emergency” means an unforeseen combination of circumstances that calls for immediate action to prevent a disaster from developing or occurring. “Disaster” means a situation that creates an actual or imminent serious threat to the health and safety of persons or a situation that has resulted or is likely to result in catastrophic loss to property or the environment.

Subd. 4. Vacancies in town offices. Special elections to fill vacancies in town offices as provided in section 367.03, subdivision 6, must be held with the town general election or on a date authorized by subdivision 3a.

Subd. 5. Limit on ballot questions. The governing body of a city or town may not act to submit a ballot question at a general or special election and may not accept a petition for submission of a ballot question at a general or special election unless all election-related deadlines can be met, including publication deadlines for all required notices. A petition rejected under this subdivision may be resubmitted at a time when compliance with all election-related deadlines is possible. Nothing in this subdivision requires the scheduling of a special election for a ballot question.

Subd. 6. Cancellation. A special election ordered by the governing body of the municipality on its own motion under subdivision 1 may be cancelled by motion of the governing body, but not less than 74 days before the election.

History: 1959 c 675 art 6 s 10; 1976 c 2 s 74; 1976 c 44 s 6; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 38; 1981 c 172 s 1; 1983 c 62 s 4;

1993 c 375 art 7 s 7; 1994 c 646 s 8,9; 1997 c 147 s 42; 1999 c 75 s 1; 1999 c 132 s 31,32; 2003 c 75 s 1; 2008 c

244 art 1 s 15; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 54; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 14; 2017 c 92 art 2 s 10, 11 & 26

NOTES AND DECISIONS 205.10

City may not conduct advisory election unless specifically authorized. Ops. Atty. Gen. 64-O, September 27, 1972; 218-R, May 18, 1961. Contract for joint police protection not proper subject for referendum. Op. Atty. Gen. 472-O, May 5, 1969.

Bond issue must be initiated by council resolution, not petitions. Op. Atty. Gen. 471G, October 24, 1962.

205.105 POSTPONEMENT OF ELECTION; INCLEMENT WEATHER.

Subdivision 1. Applicability. This section applies to a primary, special, or general election held in a city that is not held in conjunction with a state or federal election, and to town elections when postponement of the town election is not subject to section 365.51.

Subd. 2. Postponement of election. (a) In the event of severe or inclement weather, the municipal clerk may postpone an election when the National Weather Service or a law enforcement agency has issued storm warnings or travel advisories indicating that the weather conditions would make travel to a polling place difficult or hazardous for voters and election judges. When one or more jurisdictions are holding elections in conjunction with one another, the jurisdiction that covers the largest geographic area has the authority, after consulting with the other auditors and clerks, to make the decision to postpone all of the elections. A decision to postpone an election must apply to every precinct in the jurisdiction.

(b)          A decision to postpone an election must be made no later than 6:00 p.m. on the day before the election. The clerk must contact the election judges and notify local media outlets of the postponement. The clerk must also post a notice on the jurisdiction’s Web site, if practicable.

(c)           A postponed election must be rescheduled for the next following Tuesday after the election was originally scheduled. The date on which the postponed election will be held shall be considered the date of the election for purposes of absentee voting under chapter 203B. An election that is postponed due to weather may be postponed again if necessary under this section.

History: 2010 c 201 s 60

205.121 NOMINATING PETITIONS; CITIES OF FIRST CLASS; SIGNATURES.

A nominating petition filed on behalf of a candidate for municipal office in a city of the first class shall be signed by eligible voters who maintain residence in the election district from which the candidate is to be elected. The number of signers shall equal 500, or two percent of the total number of individuals who voted in the municipality, ward, or other election district at the last preceding municipal general election, whichever is greater.

History: 1981 c 29 art 7 s 9

205.13 CANDIDATES, FILING.

Subdivision 1. Affidavit of candidacy. An individual who is eligible and desires to become a candidate for an office to be voted for at the municipal general election shall file an affidavit of candidacy with the municipal clerk. Candidates for a special election to fill a vacancy held as provided in section 412.02, subdivision 2a, must file an affidavit of candidacy for the specific office to fill the unexpired portion of the term. Subject to the approval of the county auditor, the town clerk may authorize candidates for township offices to file affidavits of candidacy with the county auditor. The affidavit shall be in the same form as that in section 204B.06. The municipal clerk shall also accept an application signed by not less than five voters and filed on behalf of an eligible voter in the municipality whom they desire to be a candidate, if service of a copy of the application has been made on the candidate and proof of service is endorsed on the application being filed. Upon receipt of the proper filing fee, the clerk shall place the name of the candidate on the official ballot without partisan designation.

Subd. 1a. Filing period. In a city nominating candidates at a primary, an affidavit of candidacy for a city office voted on in November must be filed no more than 84 days nor less than 70 days before the city primary. In municipalities that do not hold a primary, an affidavit of candidacy must be filed no more than 70 days and not less than 56 days before the municipal general election held in March in any year, or a special election not held in conjunction with another election, and no more than 98 days nor less than 84 days before the municipal general election held in November of any year. The municipal clerk’s office must be open for filing from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the last day of the filing period.

Subd. 1b. Absent candidates. A candidate for municipal office who will be absent from the state during the filing period may submit a properly executed affidavit of candidacy, the appropriate filing fee, and any necessary petitions in person to the filing officer. The candidate shall state in writing the reason for being unable to submit the affidavit during the filing period. The affidavit, filing fee, and petitions must be submitted to the filing officer during the seven days immediately preceding the candidate’s absence from the state. In cities of the first class, and in any city where the use of nominating petitions is permitted under the city’s charter, a nominating petition for a candidate who will be absent from the state during the filing period may be signed during the 14 days immediately preceding the date when the affidavit of candidacy is filed.

Subd. 2. Notice of filing dates. At least two weeks before the first day to file affidavits of candidacy, the municipal clerk shall publish a notice stating the first and last dates on which affidavits of candidacy may be filed in the clerk’s office and the closing time for filing on the last day for filing. The clerk shall post a similar notice at least ten days before the first day to file affidavits of candidacy. The notice must separately list any office for which affidavits of candidacy may be filed to fill the unexpired portion of a term when a special election is being held to fill a vacancy as provided in section 412.02, subdivision 2a.

Subd. 3. Filing fees (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the filing fee for a municipal office is as follows:

(1)          In first class cities, $20;

(2)          In second and third class cities, $5; and

(3)          In fourth class cities and towns, $2.

(b)          A home rule charter or statutory city may adopt, by ordinance, a filing fee of a different amount not to exceed the following:

(1)          in first class cities, $80;

(2)          in second and third class cities, $40; and

(3)          in fourth class cities, $15.

(c)           A home rule charter city that sets filing fees by authority provided in city charter is not subject to the fee limits in this section.

Subd. 4. Petition in place of fees. A candidate for municipal office may file a petition in place of the filing fees specified in subdivision 3. The petition shall meet the requirements of section 204B.11, subdivision 2.

Subd. 5. Nominating petition; cities of the first class. A nominating petition filed on behalf of a candidate for municipal office in a city of the first class shall be signed by eligible voters who reside in the election district from which the candidate is to be elected. The number of signers shall be at least 500, or two percent of the total number of individuals who voted in the municipality, ward, or other election district at the last preceding municipal general election, whichever is greater.

Subd. 6. Withdrawal. A candidate for a municipal elective office may withdraw from the election by filing an affidavit of withdrawal with the municipal clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. two days after the last day for filing affidavits of candidacy. Thereafter, no candidate may file an affidavit of withdrawal.

History: 1959 c 675 art 6 s 13; 1976 c 44 s 8; 1978 c 572 s 3; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 10; 1983 c 62 s 5; 1985 c 72 s 4; 1987 c 62 s 8; 1994 c 646 s 10, 11; 1997 c 147 s 43; 2000 c 467 s 26,27; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 35; 2010 c 184 s 28; 2010 c 201 s 61, 62; 2011 c 65 s 6; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 55; 2014 c 264 s 23; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 49

NOTES AND DECISIONS 205.13

Candidate must sign own affidavit. Op. Atty. Gen. 472H, October 29, 1963.

Affidavits of candidacy may, at discretion of filing officer, be submitted after close of business on last day for filing. Id.

205.16 NOTICE.

Subdivision 1. Publication and posting. In every municipality, the municipal clerk shall, except as otherwise provided in this section, give two weeks’ published notice, and may also give ten days’ posted notice, of the election, stating the time of the election, the location of each polling place, the offices to be filled, and all propositions or questions to be voted upon at the election. In a city of the fourth class or a town not located within a metropolitan county as defined in section 473.121, the governing body may dispense with publication of the notice of the municipal general election, in which case ten days’ posted notice shall be given. The municipal clerk shall also post a copy of the notice in the clerk’s office for public inspection.

Subd. 2. Sample ballot, publication. For every municipal election, the municipal clerk shall, at least two weeks before the election, publish a sample ballot in the official newspaper of the municipality, except that the governing body of a fourth class city or a town not located within a metropolitan county as defined in section 473.121 may dispense with publication.

Subd. 3. Sample ballot, posting. For every municipal election, the municipal clerk shall at least two weeks before the election prepare a sample ballot for the municipality, make them available for public inspection in the clerk’s office, and post a sample ballot in each polling place on election day.

Subd. 4. Notice to auditor. At least 74 days before every municipal election, the municipal clerk shall provide a written notice to the county auditor, including the date of the election, the offices to be voted on at the election, and the title and language for each ballot question to be voted on at the election. At least 74 days before every municipal election, the municipal clerk must provide written notice to the county auditor of any special election canceled under section 205.10, subdivision 6.

Subd. 5. Notice to secretary of state. At least 74 days before every municipal election for which a notice is provided to the county auditor under subdivision 4, the county auditor shall provide a notice of the election to the secretary of state, in a manner and including information prescribed by the secretary of state.

History: 1959 c 675 art 6 s 16; 1976 c 2 s 77,78; 1976 c 44 s 11; 1978 c 572 s 6,7; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 38; 1983 c 62 s

6; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 20; 1991 c 227 s 21; 1994 c 646 s 12,13; 1999 c 132 s 33; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 35,36; 2008 c 244

art 1 s 16; 2010 c 184 s 29, 30; 2010 c 201 s 63, 64, 65, 66; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 56, 57

205.17 BALLOTS.

Subdivision 1. Municipal offices; questions; general election ballot. In all statutory and home rule charter cities, and in all towns, the municipal clerk shall have printed the official ballot containing the names of all candidates for municipal offices and municipal ballot questions. The ballot shall be printed in quantities of 25, 50, or 100, shall be headed “City or Town Election Ballot,” shall state the name of the city or town and the date of the election, and shall conform in other respects to the state general election ballot. The names shall be arranged on city ballots in the manner provided for the state elections. On town ballots names of the candidates for each office shall be arranged either:

(1)          alphabetically according to the candidates’ surnames; or

(2)          in the manner provided for state elections if the town electors chose at the town’s annual meeting to arrange the names in that way for at least two consecutive years.

Subd. 3. Primary ballots. The municipal primary ballot shall conform as far as practicable with the municipal general election ballot.  No blank spaces shall be provided for writing in the names of candidates.

Subd. 5. Statutory cities; vacancies. In statutory cities, the names of candidates to fill vacancies at a special election held as provided in section 412.02, subdivision 2a, shall be placed on the municipal primary and general election ballots. The names of candidates to fill a vacancy in the office of council member in a statutory city shall be listed under the separate heading “Special election for council member to fill vacancy in term expiring      ,” with the date of expiration of the term and any other information necessary to distinguish the office. Under the heading for the office of mayor in a special election shall be the words “To fill vacancy in term expiring  ”

Subd. 6. Form of ballot. The ballots for municipal elections must be prepared by the municipal clerk in the manner provided in the rules of the secretary of state.

Subd. 7. Example ballot. No later than 30 days before absentee ballots must be prepared and delivered under section 204B.35 for use in a town general election conducted in March, the secretary of state shall supply each town clerk in a town conducting a March general election with a copy of an example ballot. The example ballot must illustrate the format required for the ballots used in the general election that year.

History: 1959 c 675 art 6 s 17; 1973 c 387 s 2; 1976 c 2 s 79,80; 1976 c 44 s 12,13; 1976 c 224 s 4; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 13,38; 1981 c 172 s 2; 1983 c 62 s 7; 1983 c 253 s 21; 1986 c 444; 1994 c 646 s 14; 1997 c 18 s 1; 1997 c 147 s

44; 2000 c 467 s 28; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 36; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 58, 59, 85

205.175 VOTING HOURS.

Subdivision 1. Minimum voting hours. In all municipal elections, the polling places will remain open for voting from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Subd. 2. Metropolitan area municipalities. The governing body of a municipality which is located within a metropolitan county included in the definition of metropolitan area in section 200.02, subdivision 24, may designate the time during which the polling places will remain open for voting at the next succeeding and all subsequent municipal elections, provided that the polling places shall open no later than 10:00 a.m. and shall close no earlier than 8:00 p.m. The resolution shall remain in force until it is revoked by the municipal governing body.

Subd. 3. Other municipalities. The governing body of a municipality other than a municipality described in subdivision 2, may by resolution adopted prior to giving notice of the election, designate the time, in addition to the minimum voting hours provided in subdivision 1, during which the polling places will remain open for voting at the next succeeding and all subsequent municipal elections. The resolution shall remain in force until it is revoked by the municipal governing body 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 municipal election, is presented to the municipal clerk no later than 30 days prior to the municipal election, then the polling places for that election shall open at 10:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. The municipal clerk shall give ten days’ notice of the changed voting hours and notify the county auditor of the change. Municipalities covered by this subdivision shall certify their election hours to the county auditor in January of each year.

History: 1983 c 62 s 8; 1984 c 396 s 1,2; 1984 c 560 s 22,23; 1994 c 646 s 15; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 54.

205.185 PROCEDURE.

Subdivision 1. Materials, ballots. The municipal clerk shall prepare and have printed the necessary election materials, including ballots, for a municipal election.

Subd. 2. Election, conduct. A municipal election shall be by secret ballot and shall be held and the returns made in the manner provided for the state general election, except as expressly provided by law.

Subd. 3. Canvass of returns, certificate of election, ballots, disposition. (a) Between the third and tenth days after an election, the governing body of a city conducting any election including a special municipal election, or the governing body of a town conducting the general election in November shall act as the canvassing board, canvass the returns, and declare the results of the election. The governing body of a town conducting the general election in March shall act as the canvassing board, canvass the returns, and declare the results of the election within two days after an election.

(b)          After the time for contesting elections has passed, the municipal clerk shall issue a certificate of election to each successful candidate. In case of a contest, the certificate shall not be issued until the outcome of the contest has been determined by the proper court.

(c)           In case of a tie vote, the canvassing board having jurisdiction over the municipality shall determine the result by lot. The clerk of the canvassing board 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.

Subd. 4. Recount. A losing candidate at a municipal election may request a recount of the votes for that office subject to the requirements of section 204C.36.

History: 1983 c 62 s 9; 1999 c 132 s 34; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 37; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 37, 38; 2010 c 194 s 22

205.84 REDISTRICTING; CITIES WITH WARDS.

Subdivision 1. General provisions. (a) In a city electing council members by wards, wards shall be as equal in population as practicable and each ward shall be composed of compact, contiguous territory. Each council member shall be a resident of the ward for which elected, but, except as otherwise provided by paragraph (b), a change in ward boundaries does not disqualify a council member from serving for the remainder of a term.

(b) Notwithstanding any home rule charter provision to the contrary, in a city of the first class where council members are elected by ward to serve for four years to terms that are not staggered, if the population of any ward changes by five percent or more, all council members must be elected to new terms at the first municipal general election after ward boundaries are redefined under subdivision 2; provided, however, that if no municipal general election would otherwise occur in the year ending in “2” or the year ending in “3,” a municipal general election must be held in one of those years.

Subd. 2. Effective date. After the official certification of the federal decennial or special census, the governing body of the city shall either confirm the existing ward boundaries as conforming to the standards of subdivision 1 or redefine ward boundaries to conform to those standards as provided in section 204B.135, subdivision 1. If the governing body of the city fails to take either action within the time required, no further compensation shall be paid to the mayor or council member until the wards of the city are either reconfirmed or redefined as required by this section. An ordinance establishing new ward boundaries pursuant to section 204B.135, subdivision 1, becomes effective on the date of the state primary election in the year ending in two, except that new ward boundaries established by a municipality in a year ending in one are effective on the date of the municipal primary election in the year ending in one.

Subd. 3. Transition schedule. The governing body of a city electing more than one council member in each ward may adopt an orderly transition schedule to biennial November elections in which only one council member in each ward is elected in any municipal general election.

History: 1974 c 337 s 17; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 38; 1983 c 62 s 11; 1986 c 444; 1991 c 349 s 38; 1995 c 8 s 6; 1999 c 237 s 3; 2010 c 313 s 5, 6

CHAPTER 205 - MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

205.01   DEFINITIONS.

Subdivision 1. Applicability. The definitions in chapter 200 and in this section apply to this chapter.

Subd. 2. Municipal election. “Municipal election” means an election held in any municipality at which the voters of the municipality nominate or choose by ballot any public officials for the municipality or decide any public question relating to the municipality that is lawfully submitted to them.

History: 1959 c 675 art 6 s 1; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 6

205.02   STATUTES APPLICABLE.

Subdivision 1. Minnesota election law. Except as provided in this chapter the provisions of the Minnesota election law apply to municipal elections, so far as practicable.

Subd. 2. City elections. In all statutory and home rule charter cities, the primary, general and special elections held for choosing city officials and deciding public questions relating to the city shall be held as provided in this chapter, except that sections 205.065, subdivisions 4 to 6; 205.07, subdivision 3; 205.10; 205.121; and 205.17, subdivision 3, do not apply to a city whose charter provides the manner of holding its primary, general or special elections.

History: 1959 c 675 art 6 s 2; 1983 c 62 s 1; 1987 c 62 s 5; 1989 c 209 art 2 s 1; 1994 c 646 s 3; 2012 c 187 art 1 s

32; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 53

NOTES AND DECISIONS 205.02

M.S. 205.07 pertaining to dates of municipal elections applies to home-rule charter cities. Op. Atty. Gen. 64f, October 27, 1995.

205.065 PRIMARIES.

Subdivision 1. Establishing primary. A municipal primary for the purpose of nominating elective officers may be held in any city on the second Tuesday in August of any year in which a municipal general election is to be held for the purpose of electing officers. The date of a municipal primary held in an odd-numbered year may be postponed for inclement weather as provided in section 205.105.

Subd. 2. Resolution or ordinance. The governing body of a city may, by ordinance or resolution adopted by April 15 in the year when a municipal general election is held, elect to choose nominees for municipal offices by a primary as provided in this section. The resolution or ordinance, when adopted, is effective for all ensuing municipal elections until it is revoked. The municipal clerk shall notify the secretary of state and the county auditor within 30 days after the adoption of the resolution or ordinance.

Subd. 4. Candidates, filing. The clerk shall place upon the primary ballot without partisan designation the names of individuals whose candidacies have been filed and for whom the proper filing fee has been paid. When not more than twice the number of individuals to be elected to a municipal office file for nomination for the office, their names shall not be placed upon the primary ballot and shall be placed on the municipal general election ballot as the nominees for that office. When more than one council member is to be elected for full terms at the same election, the candidates’ names shall be placed under one office on the ballot with the number to be elected to the office specified directly underneath the title and identification of the office.

Subd. 5. Results. The municipal primary shall be conducted and the returns made in the manner provided for the state primary so far as practicable. The canvass may be conducted on either the second or third day after the primary.

The governing body of the municipality shall canvass the returns, and the two candidates for each office who receive the highest number of votes, or a number of candidates equal to twice the number of individuals to be elected to the office, who receive the highest number of votes, shall be the nominees for the office named. Their names shall be certified to the municipal clerk who shall place them on the municipal general election ballot without partisan designation and without payment of an additional fee.

Subd. 6. Recount. A losing candidate at the municipal primary may request a recount of the votes for that nomination subject to the requirements of section 204C.36.

History: 1983 c 62 s 2; 1987 c 62 s 6,7; 1989 c 209 art 1 s 19; 1994 c 646 s 4,5; 2010 c 184 s 26, 27; 2010 c 194 s

21; 2010 c 201 s 57; 2011 c 65 s 5; 2011 c 65 s 9; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 13; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 22

NOTES AND DECISIONS 205.065

Where charter provides for primary election, charter controls timing of the primary. Op. Atty. Gen. 64-M, September 14, 1951.

204D.02 OFFICERS CHOSEN AT STATE GENERAL ELECTION; TERMS OF OFFICE.

Subdivision 1. Officers. All elective state and county officers, justices of the supreme court, judges of the court of appeals and district court, state senators and state representatives, and senators and representatives in Congress shall be elected at the state general election held in the year before their terms of office expire.

Presidential electors shall be chosen at the state general election held in the year before the expiration of a term of a president of the United States.

Subd. 2. Term of office. The term of office of all elective state and county officers shall begin on the first Monday in January of the odd-numbered year following their election.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 2; 1983 c 247 s 88; 1998 c 154 art 2 s 25

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204D.02

Occurrence of first Monday in January on holiday does not preclude person from qualifying for office on that day. Op. Atty. Gen. 35-9a-24, December 26, 1978.

204D.03 TIME OF STATE ELECTIONS.

Subdivision 1. State primary. The state primary shall be held on the second Tuesday in August in each even-numbered year to select the nominees of the major political parties for partisan offices and the nominees for nonpartisan offices to be filled at the state general election, other than presidential electors.

Subd. 2. State general election. The state general election shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in each even-numbered year.

Subd. 3. Exception; certain partisan candidates. (a) If no more than one candidate files for nomination by a major political party for a partisan office, the candidate who filed must be declared the nominee upon the close of filing. If every candidate for a partisan office has been declared the nominee upon the close of filing, the office must be omitted from the state primary ballot. If all offices, both partisan and nonpartisan , have been omitted from the state primary ballot in a municipality or county, the governing body of the municipality or county may decide that the state primary will not be conducted in that municipality or county.

(b) Within 15 days after the close of filing, each municipal clerk or county auditor whose governing body has decided not to conduct the state primary shall post notice that the offices have been so omitted and the state primary canceled and shall send a copy of the notice to the secretary of state.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 3; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 51; 2010 c 184 s 20

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204D.03

The state legislature has the choice to decide whether or not the state should have a presidential primary election. Their decisions will not be interfered with by the courts. Irish v. DFL Party of Minnesota, 287 F. Supp. 794 (D. Minn. 1968).

Primary elections are intended to reduce number of candidates to not more than two for each office. State ex rel. Hennepin County Bar Ass’n. v. Amdahl, 264 Minn. 350, 119 N.W. 2d 169 (1963).

NOTES AND DECISIONS 206.07

Slogans or diagrams may not be used on voting machines to remind voters to vote on amendments. Op. Atty. Gen. 28A-9, July 1, 1974. Amendments cannot be printed on the voting machine to remind voters to vote on amendments. Id.

Write-in votes for presidential electors are authorized in this state even though M.S. 208.04, the specific statute on the presidential ballot, makes no provision for them, since that section’s specific provisions must be held to assume the general law as it is declared by former M.S. 203A.12 and 206.07, which provide for blank spaces for write-ins on all general election ballots, including the presidential ballot. Op. Atty. Gen. 28C-5, October 5, 1968.

Amendments cannot be printed on the voting machine in type disproportionately larger than that used for the names of the candidates and the same ballot. Op. Atty. Gen. 28A-9, July 7, 1964.

206.55   MINNESOTA ELECTION LAW APPLIES.

The use of electronic voting systems is governed by sections 206.55 to 206.90 and by all other provisions of the Minnesota election law which are not inconsistent with sections 206.55 to 206.90.

History: 1984 c 447 s 1; 1997 c 147 s 47

206.56   DEFINITIONS.

Subdivision 1. Scope. The definitions in chapter 200 and in this section apply to sections 206.55 to 206.90. Subd. 1a. Assistive voting technology. “Assistive voting technology” means touch-activated screen, buttons, keypad, sip-and-puff input device, keyboard, earphones, or any other device used with an electronic ballot marker that assists voters to use an audio or electronic ballot display in order to cast votes.

Subd. 1b. Audio ballot reader.  “Audio ballot reader” means an audio representation of a ballot that can

be used with other assistive voting technology to permit a voter to mark votes on a nonelectronic ballot.

Subd. 2. Automatic tabulating equipment. “Automatic tabulating equipment” includes machines, resident firmware, and programmable memory units necessary to automatically examine and count votes designated on a ballot.

Subd. 3. Ballot. “Ballot” includes paper ballots, ballot cards, and the paper ballot marked by an electronic marking device.

Subd. 5.  Ballot card. “Ballot card” means a ballot which is marked so that votes may be counted by automatic tabulating equipment.

Subd. 7. Counting center. “Counting center” means a place selected by the governing body of a municipality where a central count electronic voting system is used for the automatic processing and counting of ballots.

Subd. 7a. Electronic ballot display. “Electronic ballot display” means a graphic representation of a ballot on a computer monitor or screen on which a voter may make vote choices for candidates and questions for the purpose of marking a nonelectronic ballot.

Subd. 7b. Electronic ballot marker. “Electronic ballot marker” means equipment that is part of an electronic voting system that uses an electronic ballot display or audio ballot reader to mark a nonelectronic ballot with votes selected by a voter.

Subd. 8. Electronic voting system. “Electronic voting system” means a system in which the voter records votes by means of marking a ballot so that votes may be counted by automatic tabulating equipment in the polling place where the ballot is cast or at a counting center. An electronic voting system includes automatic tabulating equipment; nonelectronic ballot markers; electronic ballot markers, including electronic ballot display, audio ballot reader and devices by which the voter will register the voter’s voting intent; software used to program automatic tabulators and layout ballots; computer programs used to accumulate precinct results; ballots; secrecy folders; system documentation; and system testing results.

Subd. 9. Manual marking device. “Manual marking device” means any approved device for directly marking a ballot by hand with ink, pencil, or other substance which will enable the ballot to be tabulated by means of automatic tabulating equipment.

Subd. 14. Question. “Question” means a statement of any constitutional amendment, local ordinance,

charter amendment, or other proposition being submitted to the voters at an election.

Subd. 16. User list. “User list” means a list of the chief election officials of each county and municipality responsible for preparation of a program to be used with an electronic voting system or for administration of a counting center.

Subd. 17. Municipality. “Municipality” means city, town, or school district.

History: 1984 c 447 s 2; 1986 c 362 s 6; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 61; 1997 c 147 s 48-52

206.57   EXAMINATION OF NEW VOTING SYSTEMS.

Subdivision 1. Examination and report by secretary of state; approval. A vendor of an electronic voting system may apply to the secretary of state to examine the system and to report as to its compliance with the requirements of law and as to its accuracy, durability, efficiency, and capacity to register the will of voters. The secretary of state or a designee shall examine the system submitted and file a report on it in the office of the secretary of state. Examination is not required of every individual machine or counting device, but only of each type of electronic voting system before its adoption, use, or purchase and before its continued use after significant changes have been made in an approved system. The examination must include the ballot programming, vote counting, and vote accumulation functions of each voting system.

If the report of the secretary of state or the secretary’s designee concludes that the kind of system examined complies with the requirements of sections 206.55 to 206.90 and can be used safely, the system shall be deemed approved by the secretary of state, and may be adopted and purchased for use at elections in this state. A voting system not approved by the secretary of state may not be used at an election in this state. The secretary of state may adopt permanent rules consistent with sections 206.55 to 206.90 relating to the examination and use of electronic voting systems.

Subd. 2. Examination fee. The secretary of state may assess a fee to accompany the application to cover the actual and necessary costs for the examinations and licenses provided for in this section. The fee must be deposited in the state treasury. The expenses of administering this section must be paid from appropriations to the secretary of state.

Subd. 4. Vendor bonds. Vendors of electronic voting systems shall certify to the secretary of state that they will not offer for sale a system which is not certified for use in Minnesota elections. The vendor shall furnish a bond in the amount of $5,000 along with the certification to the secretary of state conditioned on offering the equipment for sale in accordance with Minnesota election laws and any conditions of the approval of the equipment granted as provided in this section.

Subd. 5. Voting system for disabled voters. In federal and state elections held after December 31, 2005; in county, city, and school district elections held after December 31, 2007; and, except as provided in subdivision 5a, in township elections held after December 31, 2009, the voting method used in each polling place must include a voting system that is accessible for individuals with disabilities, including nonvisual accessibility for the blind and visually impaired in a manner that provides the same opportunity for access and participation, including privacy and independence, as for other voters.

Subd. 5a. Limited town exemptions. (a) A town conducting an election not held in conjunction with any federal, state, county, or school district election is exempt from the requirements of subdivision 5 if the town has fewer than 500 registered voters, as determined by the secretary of state by June 1 of each year.

(b)          A town that would otherwise satisfy the requirements of this subdivision is still required to comply with subdivision 5 at its next general town election if the voters at the preceding year's annual town meeting instruct the town to conduct elections in compliance with subdivision 5.

(c)           If the secretary of state, after consultation with the Minnesota Association of Townships, county auditors, or other interested parties, determines that a town's share of the cost of compliance with subdivision 5 will not exceed $150 for an election, the town may not use the exemption under paragraph (a) and shall conduct elections under subdivision 5. In determining the town's cost of compliance, the secretary shall include any expense associated with programming, ballot preparation and printing, and the equipment costs directly related to compliance with subdivision 5.

Subd. 5b. Township voting equipment study. (a) Beginning in 2009 and at least once every other year until 2016, the secretary of state shall consult with interested parties, including, but not limited to, members of the legislature, town officers, county election officials, the National Federation of the Blind, the Minnesota State Council on Disability, and the Disability Law Center regarding:

(1)          options for full compliance with Minnesota Statutes, section 206.57, subdivision 5; and

(2)          ongoing costs of compliance with Minnesota Statutes, section 206.57, subdivision 5, and methods of reducing those costs.

(b) Beginning January 15, 2010, and until January 15, 2017, the secretary of state shall report to the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees and divisions with jurisdiction over elections policy and finance regarding the findings, discussions, and developments under paragraph (a).

Subd. 6. Required certification. In addition to the requirements in subdivision 1, a voting system must be certified by an independent testing authority accredited by the Election Assistance Commission [or appropriate federal agency responsible for testing and certification of compliance with the federal voting systems guidelines at the time of submission of the application required by subdivision 1 to be in conformity with voluntary voting system guidelines issued by the Election Assistance Commission or other previously referenced agency. The application must be accompanied by the certification report of the voting systems test laboratory. A certification under this section from an independent testing authority accredited by the Election Assistance Commission or other previously referenced agency meets the requirement of Minnesota Rules, part 8220.0350, item L. A vendor must provide a copy of the source code for the voting system to the secretary of state. A chair of a major political party or the secretary of state may select, in consultation with the vendor, an independent third-party evaluator to examine the source code to ensure that it functions as represented by the vendor and that the code is free from defects. A major political party that elects to have the source code examined must pay for the examination. Except as provided by this subdivision, a source code that is trade secret information must be treated as nonpublic information, according to section 13.37. A third-party evaluator must not disclose the source code to anyone else.

Subd. 8. Ballot boxes. Notwithstanding Minnesota Rules, part 8230.4355, ballot boxes used with precinct count voting systems are not required to contain two separate compartments to receive ballots.

History: 1984 c 447 s 3; 1984 c 640 s 32; 1986 c 362 s 7; 1986 c 444; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 25; 1995 c 233 art 2 s 56; 1997 c 147 s 53; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 32, 33; 2005c 162 s 12-14; 2007 special session c 1 s 3; 2008 c 336 s 5-7; 2010 c 201 s 76, 82; 2011 c 18 s 7; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 67 

206.58   AUTHORIZATION FOR USE.

Subdivision 1. Municipalities. The governing body of a municipality, at a regular meeting or at a special meeting called for the purpose, may provide for the use of an electronic voting system in one or more precincts and at all elections in the precincts, subject to approval by the county auditor. The governing body shall disseminate information to the public about the use of a new voting system at least 60 days prior to the election and shall provide for instruction of voters with a demonstration voting system in a public place for the six weeks immediately prior to the first election at which the new voting system will be used. No system may be adopted or used unless it has been approved by the secretary of state pursuant to section 206.57.

Subd. 2. May use experimental systems. The governing body of a municipality may provide for the experimental use of an electronic voting system in one or more precincts without formal adoption of the system. Use of the system at an election is as valid for all purposes as if the system had been permanently adopted.

If the governing body of a municipality decides to use an electronic voting system, it shall, at a regular or special meeting held not less than 30 days before the election, prescribe suitable rules and instructions consistent with sections 206.55 to 206.90 for using the system and shall submit the rules and instructions to the secretary of state for approval. When approved, a printed copy of the rules and instructions must be posted prominently in the polling place and must remain open to inspection by the voters throughout election day.

Subd. 3. Counties. The governing body of a county may provide for the use of an electronic voting system in one or more precincts of the county at all elections. The governing body of the municipality shall give approval before an electronic voting system may be adopted or used in the municipality under the authority of this section. No system may be adopted or used unless it has been approved by the secretary of state pursuant to section 206.57.

Subd. 4. Certification of use of voting systems. If a municipality adopts the use of an electronic voting system, the municipal clerk shall certify to the secretary of state within 30 days from the date of adoption that an electronic voting system will be used in the municipality and the date when use will commence.

History: 1984 c 447 s 4; 1986 c 362 s 8; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 62; 1997 c 147 s 54

206.59   PAYMENT FOR VOTING SYSTEMS.

Payment for an electronic voting system may be provided for in the manner deemed in the best interests of the political division adopting and purchasing it. A municipality or county may make payment by appropriating money from the general fund, by levying a tax in the same manner as other taxes are levied, or by issuing and selling bonds or other certificates of indebtedness, which must be a charge upon the municipality or county adopting and purchasing the electronic voting system. Bonds or other certificates of indebtedness may be issued by a majority vote of the governing body of the municipality or county adopting and purchasing an electronic voting system, notwithstanding any contrary provision contained in any home rule charter or law of this state.

The bonds or certificates of indebtedness issued may bear interest at a rate not exceeding the rate provided in section 475.55 and may be made payable at a time not exceeding 20 years from the date of issue, as determined by the resolution or ordinance authorizing the issue. The bonds or certificates of indebtedness may be issued exclusive of and in addition to any limit of indebtedness fixed by the charter of a municipality, or by laws governing a municipality or county, but the bonds or certificates of indebtedness may not be issued or sold at less than par and accrued interest on them.

History: 1984 c 447 s 5; 1997 c 147 s 55

NOTES AND DECISIONS 206.59

Municipality may lease voting machines from another municipality. Op. Atty. Gen. 518, April 17, 1984.

206.61   BALLOTS.

Subdivision 1. Official responsible for providing ballots. The official charged with providing paper ballots when they are used shall provide all ballot cards, sample ballots, precinct summary statements, and other necessary supplies needed for electronic voting systems, except as otherwise provided by this section.

At general elections and primaries the county auditor of each county in which an electronic voting system is used shall provide all ballot cards and other necessary printed forms and supplies needed for the electronic voting system, including all forms needed for voting on candidates and questions, the ballots for which are required by the election laws to be provided by the state when paper ballots are used.

Subd. 3. Candidates’ names. Candidates’ names may be set in as large type as the length of the majority of names on the ballot permits. The remaining candidates’ names may be set in smaller sizes of type as the length of each name requires, in order to fit the available space on the ballot card.

Subd. 4. Order of candidates. On the “State Partisan Primary Ballot” prepared for primary elections, and on the state general election ballot prepared for the general election, the order of the names of nominees or names of candidates for election shall be the same as required for paper ballots. More than one column or row may be used for the same office or party. Electronic ballot display and audio ballot readers must conform to the candidate order on the optical scan ballot used in the precinct.

Subd. 5. Alternation. The provisions of the election laws requiring the alternation of names of candidates must be observed as far as practicable by changing the order of the names on an electronic voting system in the various precincts so that each name appears on the machines or marking devices used in a municipality substantially an equal number of times in the first, last, and in each intermediate place in the list or group in which they belong. However, the arrangement of candidates’ names must be the same on all voting systems used in the same precinct. If the number of names to be alternated exceeds the number of precincts, the election official responsible for providing the ballots, in accordance with subdivision 1, shall determine by lot the alternation of names.

If an electronic ballot marker is used with a paper ballot that is not an optical scan ballot card, the manner of alternation of candidate names on the paper ballot must be as prescribed for optical scan ballots in this subdivision.

The rules adopted by the secretary of state for the rotation of candidate names must use the number of registered voters in each precinct as of 8:00 a.m. on May 1 of the year when the rotation will be made as the basis for determining the rotation of names.

History: 1984 c 447 s 7; 1987 c 175 s 13; 1997 c 147 s 56-58; 2010 c 184 s 39; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 68

NOTES AND DECISIONS 206.61

Slogans, diagrams or large print may not be used on voting machines to remind voters to vote on amendments. Op. Atty. Gen. 28a-9, June 7, 1964

206.62   SAMPLE BALLOTS.

The officials who prepare ballot cards shall provide each polling place with at least two sample ballots which are facsimiles of the card to be voted on in that precinct. The sample ballots may be either in full or reduced size. The sample ballots must be posted prominently in the polling place and must remain open to inspection by the voters throughout election day.

History: 1984 c 447 s 8; 1997 c 147 s 59

206.64 ACCESSIBILITY; INSTRUCTIONS; ASSISTANCE TO VOTERS.

Subdivision 1. General provisions for electronic system voting. Each electronic voting system booth must be placed and protected so that it is accessible to only one voter at a time and is in full view of all the election judges and challengers at the polling place. The election judges shall admit one individual at a time to each booth after determining that the individual is eligible to vote. Voting by electronic voting system must be secret, except for voters who need assistance. A voter may remain inside the voting booth for three minutes. A voter who refuses to leave the voting booth after three minutes must be removed by the election judges.

Subd. 2. [Repealed, 1997 c 147 s 79]

History: 1984 c 447 s 10; 1997 c 147 s 60

206.66 VIOLATIONS; PENALTIES.

Subdivision 1. Injuring voting machines. An individual who intentionally injures or attempts to injure or render ineffectual any component of an electronic voting system, or who violates any of the provisions of sections 206.55 to 206.90, is guilty of a felony.

Subd. 2. Violation of law, rules. An individual who violates any rules adopted by the secretary of state or by the governing body of a municipality where an electronic voting system is used, or who violates any of the provisions of sections 206.55 to 206.90, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Subd. 3. Performance bond. A vendor of electronic voting systems or related election services shall furnish the secretary of state with a sufficient bond conditioned on the performance of those machines, systems, or services in accordance with the Minnesota election law and any contract or agreement made with an election jurisdiction in Minnesota. The vendor bond required under section 206.57, subdivision 4, may serve as the performance bond required under this subdivision. The secretary of state shall send notice of the receipt or forfeiture of a bond under this subdivision to each official on the user list.

History: 1984 c 447 s 11; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 26; 1997 c 147 s 61

206.80 ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS.

(a)          An electronic voting system may not be employed unless it:

(1)          permits every voter to vote in secret;

(2)          permits every voter to vote for all candidates and questions for whom or upon which the voter is legally entitled to vote;

(3)          provides for write-in voting when authorized;

(4)          automatically rejects, except as provided in section 206.84 with respect to write-in votes, all votes for an office or question when the number of votes cast on it exceeds the number which the voter is entitled to cast;

(5)          permits a voter at a primary election to select secretly the party for which the voter wishes to vote;

(6)          automatically rejects all votes cast in a primary election by a voter when the voter votes for candidates of more than one party; and

(7)          provides every voter an opportunity to verify votes recorded on the permanent paper ballot either visually or using assistive voting technology, and to change votes or correct any error before the voter’s ballot is cast and counted, produces an individual, discrete, permanent, paper ballot cast by the voter, and preserves the paper ballot as an official record available for use in any recount.

(b)          An electronic voting system purchased on or after June 4, 2005, may not be employed unless it:

(1)          accepts and tabulates, in the polling place or at a counting center, a marked optical scan ballot; or

(2)          creates a marked optical scan ballot that can be tabulated in the polling place or at a counting center by automatic tabulating equipment certified for use in this state.

History: 1984 c 447 s 22; 1987 c 222 s 4; 1988 c 646 s 9; 1997 c 147 s 62

206.805 STATE VOTING SYSTEMS CONTRACTS.

 Amendment to subd. 1 is effective August 1, 2021           Subdivision 1. Contracts required. (a) The secretary of state, with the assistance of the commissioner of administration, must establish one or more state voting systems contracts. The contracts should, if practical, include provisions for maintenance of the equipment purchased. The voting systems contracts must address precinct-based optical scan voting equipment, assistive voting technology, automatic tabulating equipment, and electronic roster equipment. The contracts must give the state a perpetual license to use and modify the software. The contracts must include provisions to escrow the software source code, as provided in subdivision

2. Bids for voting systems and related election services must be solicited from each vendor selling or leasing voting systems that have been certified for use by the secretary of state. Bids for electronic roster equipment, software, and related services must be solicited from each vendor selling or leasing electronic roster equipment that meets the requirements of section 201.225, subdivision 2. The contracts must be renewed from time to time.

(b) Counties and municipalities may purchase or lease voting systems and obtain related election services from the state contracts. All counties and municipalities are members of the cooperative purchasing venture of the Department of Administration for the purpose of this section. For the purpose of township elections, counties must aggregate orders under contracts negotiated under this section for products and services and may apportion the costs of those products and services proportionally among the townships receiving the products and services. The county is not liable for the timely or accurate delivery of those products or services.

Subd. 2 M.S. 2008 [Repealed, 2010 c 201 s 82]

History: 2005 c 162 s 19; 2010 c 201 s 82; 2014 c 286 art 1 s 4; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 25; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 20

206.81   ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS; EXPERIMENTAL USE.

(a)          The secretary of state may certify an electronic voting system for experimental use at an election prior to its approval for general use.

(b)          Experimental use must be observed by the secretary of state or the secretary's designee and the results observed must be considered at any subsequent proceedings for certification for general use.

(c)           The secretary of state may adopt rules consistent with sections 206.55 to 206.90 relating to experimental use. The extent of experimental use must be determined by the secretary of state.

History: 1984 c 447 s 23; 1986 c 444; 1997 c 147 s 63; 1Sp2001 c; 10 art 18 s 38; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 34; 2005 c

162 s 20

206.82   PREPARATION OF ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEM PROGRAMS AND PLANS.

Subdivision 1. Program. A program for use in an election conducted by means of an electronic voting system shall be prepared at the direction of the county auditor or municipal clerk who is responsible for the conduct of the election and shall be independently verified by a competent person designated by that official. The term “competent person” as used in this section means a person who can demonstrate knowledge as a computer programmer and who is other than and wholly independent of any person operating or employed by the counting center or the corporation or other preparer of the program. A test deck prepared by a competent person shall be used for independent verification of the program; it shall test the maximum digits used in totaling the returns and shall be usable by insertion during the tabulation process as well as prior to tabulation. The secretary of state shall adopt rules further specifying test procedures.

Subd. 2. Plan. The municipal clerk in a municipality where an electronic voting system is used and the county auditor of a county in which a counting center serving more than one municipality is located shall prepare a plan which indicates acquisition of sufficient facilities, computer time, and professional services and which describes the proposed manner of complying with section 206.80. The plan must be signed, notarized, and submitted to the secretary of state more than 60 days before the first election at which the municipality uses an electronic voting system. Before May 1 of each subsequent general election year, the clerk or auditor shall submit to the secretary of state notification of any changes to the plan on file with the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall review each plan for its sufficiency and may request technical assistance from the Office of Enterprise Technology or other agency which may be operating as the central computer authority. The secretary of state shall notify each reporting authority of the sufficiency or insufficiency of its plan within 20 days of receipt of the plan. The attorney general, upon request of the secretary of state, may seek a district court order requiring an election official to fulfill duties imposed by this subdivision or by rules promulgated pursuant to this section.

Subd. 3. Bond. Before a contract is awarded to any vendor for preparation of a program for use with an electronic voting system, the vendor shall furnish the secretary of state with a sufficient bond conditioned on preparing the program in conformity with Minnesota election law and the instructions delivered to the vendor by the county auditor or municipal clerk who is responsible for the conduct of the election. The secretary of state shall send notice of the receipt or forfeiture of any such bond to each official on the user list. On or before March 15 of every even-numbered year the county auditor shall send to the secretary of state the current user list for the county.

History: 1984 c 447 s 24; 1986 c 362 s 9; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 175 s 14; 2008 c 244 art 2 s 20; 2009 c 86 a 1 s 30; 2010 c 184 s 40

206.83   TESTING OF VOTING SYSTEMS.

Within 14 days before election day, the official in charge of elections shall have the voting system tested to ascertain that the system will correctly mark ballots using all methods supported by the system, including through assistive technology, and count the votes cast for all candidates and on all questions. Public notice of the time and place of the test must be given at least two days in advance by publication once in official newspapers. The test must be observed by at least two election judges, who are not of the same major political party, and must be open to representatives of the political parties, candidates, the press, and the public. The test must be conducted by (1) processing a preaudited group of ballots punched or marked to record a predetermined number of valid votes for each candidate and on each question, and must include for each office one or more ballot cards which have votes in excess of the number allowed by law in order to test the ability of the voting system tabulator and electronic ballot marker to reject those votes; and (2) processing an additional test deck of ballots marked using the electronic ballot marker for the precinct, including ballots marked using the electronic ballot display, audio ballot reader, and any assistive voting technology used with the electronic ballot marker. If any error is detected, the cause must be ascertained and corrected and an errorless count must be made before the voting system may be used in the election. After the completion of the test, the programs used and ballot cards must be sealed, retained, and disposed of as provided for paper ballots.

History: 1984 c 447 s 25; 1988 c 424 s 1; 1993 c 223 s 21; 1997 c 147 s 64; 2005 c 162 s 23

206.84   METHODS OF USING ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS.

Subdivision 1. Instruction of judges, voters. The officials in charge of elections shall determine procedures to instruct election judges and voters in the use of electronic voting system manual marking devices and the electronic ballot marker, including assistive voting technology.

Subd. 3. Ballots. The ballot information must be in the same order provided for paper ballots, except that the information may be in vertical or horizontal rows, or on a number of separate pages. The secretary of state shall provide by rule for standard ballot formats for electronic voting systems. Electronic ballot displays and audio ballot readers shall be in the order provided for on the optical scan ballot. Electronic ballot displays may employ zooms or other devices as assistive voting technology. Audio ballot readers may employ rewinds or audio cues as assistive voting technology.

Ballot cards may contain special printed marks as required for proper positioning and reading of the ballots by electronic vote counting equipment. Ballot cards must contain an identification of the precinct for which they have been prepared which can be read visually and which can be tabulated by the automatic tabulating equipment.

Subd. 6. Duties of official in charge. The official in charge of elections in each municipality where an electronic voting system is used shall have the voting systems put in order, set, adjusted, and made ready for voting when delivered to the election precincts. The official shall also provide each precinct with a container for transporting ballot cards to the counting location after the polls close. The container shall be of sturdy material to protect the ballots from all reasonably foreseeable hazards including auto collisions. The election judges shall meet at the polling place at least one hour before the time for opening the polls. Before the polls open the election judges shall compare the ballot cards used with the sample ballots, electronic ballot displays, and audio ballot reader furnished to see that the names, numbers, and letters on both agree and shall certify to that fact on forms provided for the purpose. The certification must be filed with the election returns.

Subd. 7. Spoiled ballot cards. A voter who spoils a ballot card or makes an error may return it to the election judges and obtain another. Except as otherwise provided in sections 206.55 to 206.90, the election judges shall conduct the election in the manner prescribed for precincts using paper ballots in chapters 204C and 204D.

History: 1984 c 447 s 26; 1986 c 362 s 10; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 222 s 5; 1997 c 147 s 65-67; 2005 c 162 s 24-26

206.845 BALLOT RECORDING AND COUNTING SECURITY.

Subdivision 1. Prohibited connections. The county auditor and municipal clerk must secure ballot recording and tabulating systems physically and electronically against unauthorized access. Except for wired connections within the polling place, ballot recording and tabulating systems must not be connected to or operated on, directly or indirectly, any electronic network, including a local area network, a wide-area network, the Internet, or the World Wide Web. Wireless communications may not be used in any way in a vote recording or vote tabulating system. Wireless, device-to-device capability is not permitted. No connection by modem is permitted.

Transfer of information from the ballot recording or tabulating system to another system for network distribution or broadcast must be made by disk, tape, or other physical means of communication, other than direct or indirect electronic connection of the vote recording or vote tabulating system.

Subd. 2. Transmission to central reporting location. After the close of the polls, the head election judge must create a printed record of the results of the election for that precinct. After the record has been printed, the head election judge in a precinct that employs automatic tabulating equipment may transmit the accumulated tally for each device to a central reporting location using a telephone, modem, Internet, or other electronic connection. During the canvassing period, the results transmitted electronically must be considered unofficial until the canvassing board has performed a complete reconciliation of the results.

History: 2005 c 162 s 27

206.85   OFFICIALS IN CHARGE OF COUNTING.

Subdivision 1. Duties of responsible official. The official in charge of elections in a municipality where an electronic voting system is used at a counting center must:

(a)          be present or personally represented throughout the counting center proceedings;

(b)          be responsible for acquiring sufficient facilities and personnel to ensure timely and lawful processing of votes;

(c)           be responsible for the proper training of all personnel participating in counting center proceedings and deputize all personnel who are not otherwise election judges;

(d)          maintain actual control over all proceedings and be responsible for the lawful execution of all proceedings in the counting center whether or not by experts;

(e)          be responsible for assuring the lawful retention and storage of ballots and read-outs; and

(f)           arrange for observation by the public and by candidates' representatives of counting center procedures by publishing the exact location of the counting center in a legal newspaper at least once during the week preceding the week of election and in the newspaper of widest circulation once on the day preceding the election, or once the week preceding the election if the newspaper is a weekly.

The official may make arrangements with news reporters which permit prompt reporting of election results but which do not interfere with the timely and lawful completion of counting procedures.

Subd. 2. Counting center in more than one municipality. If a counting center serves more than one municipality, the county auditor of the county where the center is located is in sole charge of overall administration of the center and must

(a)          establish procedures to implement the timely and lawful completion of the counting center proceedings;

(b)          coordinate training of all counting center personnel and require additional training as needed;

(c)           ask the county attorney, at least 30 days prior to an election, whether circumstances require that the municipalities sharing the use of a counting center resolve their respective duties and financial responsibilities by execution of a joint powers agreement pursuant to section 471.59;

(d)          coordinate, and if necessary, exercise the duties imposed by this section on the official in charge of elections in a municipality where an electronic voting system is used; and

(e)          limit the number of ballots to be counted at a single counting center to no more than 100,000.

History: 1984 c 447 s 27; 1986 c 362 s 11; 1986 c 444; 2005 c 162 s 28

206.86   COUNTING ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEM RESULTS.

Subdivision 1. At the voting location. In precincts where an electronic voting system is used, as soon as the polls are closed the election judges shall secure the voting systems against further voting. They shall then open the ballot box and count the number of ballot cards or envelopes containing ballot cards that have been cast to determine that the number of ballot cards does not exceed the number of voters shown on the election register or registration file. If there is an excess, the judges shall seal the ballots in a ballot container and transport the container to the county auditor or municipal clerk who shall process the ballots in the same manner as paper ballots are processed in section 204C.20, subdivision 2, then enter the ballots into the ballot counter. The total number of voters must be entered on the forms provided. The judges shall next count the write-in votes and enter the number of those votes on forms provided for the purpose.

Subd. 2. Transportation of ballot cards. The judges shall place all voted ballot cards, defective ballots, and damaged ballots in the container provided for transporting them to the counting center. The container must be sealed and delivered immediately to the counting center by two judges who are not of the same major political party. The judges shall also deliver to the counting center in a suitable container the unused ballot cards, the spoiled ballot envelope, and the ballot envelopes issued to the voters and deposited during the day in the ballot box.

Subd. 3. Counting centers open; security. Proceedings at the counting center are open to the public. They are under the direction of the official in charge of elections in each municipality where an electronic voting system is used and must be under the observation of at least two election judges who are not of the same major political party. Only persons employed and authorized for the purpose may touch any ballot card, ballot container, or statement of absentee ballot results.

Subd. 4. Preliminary tabulation. When the ballot cards arrive at a counting center where votes are counted by a multiple use computer, they must be given to the counting center election judges. For purposes of this subdivision a multiple use computer is automatic tabulating equipment which can perform functions other than counting votes. If the election judges at the precinct have determined that any ballot cards are not defective by reason of improper write-in votes, those ballot cards may be counted by the automatic tabulating equipment before inspection by the counting center election judges. The results of this preliminary tabulation may be made available to the public if the tabulation is clearly identified as unofficial.

After any preliminary tabulation has been made, the ballot cards must be returned to the counting center election judges who shall examine them for physical defects and prepare replacements, if necessary, as provided in subdivision 5.

Subd. 5. Damaged, defective ballot cards. If a ballot card is damaged or defective so that it cannot be counted properly by the automatic tabulating equipment, a true duplicate copy must be made of the damaged ballot card in the presence of two judges not of the same major political party and must be substituted for the damaged ballot card. Likewise, a duplicate ballot card must be made of a defective ballot card which may not include the votes for the offices for which it is defective.  Duplicate ballot cards must be clearly labeled “duplicate,” indicate the precinct in which the corresponding damaged or defective ballot was cast, bear a serial number which must be recorded on the damaged or defective ballot card, and be counted in lieu of the damaged or defective ballot card. If a ballot card is damaged or defective so that it cannot be counted properly by the automatic tabulating equipment, the ballot card must be tallied at the counting center by two judges not of the same major political party and the totals for all these ballot cards must be added to the totals for the respective precincts.

Subd. 6. Final tabulation. A final tabulation of ballots must be obtained from the automatic tabulating equipment after all damaged or defective cards have been replaced. The final tabulation, together with the returns of write-in and absentee votes and the precinct summary statements prepared in accordance with section 204C.24, constitute the official return of each precinct. Upon completion of the count the returns are open to the public. The automatic tabulating equipment must be programmed to provide a complete recapitulation of all ballots processed. It may be programmed to provide information in addition to that required in the official return of each precinct, if the officials in charge of elections deem that advisable in order to provide election statistics to evaluate the performance of the electronic voting system or other aspects of the election.

History: 1984 c 447 s 28; 1997 c 147 s 68,69; 1999 c 132 s 38

206.87   CANVASSING BOARD DUTIES.

In a municipality where an electronic voting system is used the canvassing board shall be constituted and shall perform the same duties as provided in sections 204C.32, 204C.33, and 204C.39 on the canvassing of paper ballots.

History: 1984 c 447 s 29

206.88   PARTIAL RECOUNTS ON ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS.

The secretary of state may conduct a recount to verify the accuracy of vote counting and recording in one or more precincts in which an electronic voting system was used in the election. The results of the recount must be reported to the appropriate canvassing board. Time for notice of nomination, election, or contest for an office recounted pursuant to this section must begin upon certification of the results of the recount by the canvassing board.

History: 1989 c 291 art 1 s 27

206.89   POSTELECTION REVIEW OF VOTING SYSTEMS.

 Amendments to subds. 4 & 5 are effective August 1, 2021            Subdivision 1. Definition. For purposes of this section "postelection review official" means the county auditor, unless the county auditor designates the municipal clerk as the "postelection review official" within 24 hours after the canvass of the state general election.

Subd. 2. Selection for review; notice. Selection for review; notice. At the canvass of the state primary, the county canvassing board in each county must set the date, time, and place for the postelection review of the state general election to be held under this section. The postelection review must not begin before the 11th day after the state general election and must be complete no later than the 18th day after the state general election.

At the canvass of the state general election, the county canvassing boards must select the precincts to be reviewed by lot. The ballots to be reviewed for a precinct include both the ballots counted at the polling place for that precinct and the absentee ballots counted centrally by a ballot board for that precinct. The county canvassing board of a county with fewer than 50,000 registered voters must conduct a postelection review of a total of at least two precincts. The county canvassing board of a county with between 50,000 and 100,000 registered voters must conduct a review of a total of at least three precincts. The county canvassing board of a county with over 100,000 registered voters must conduct a review of a total of at least four precincts, or three percent of the total number of precincts in the county whichever is greater. At least one precinct selected in each county must have had more than 150 votes cast at the general election.

The county auditor must notify the secretary of state of the precincts that have been chosen for review and the time and place the postelection review for that county will be conducted, as soon as the decisions are made. If the selection of precincts has not resulted in the selection of at least four precincts in each congressional district, the secretary of state may require counties to select by lot additional precincts to meet the congressional district requirement. The secretary of state must post this information on the office Web site.

Subd. 2a. Exception. No review is required under this section if the election for the office will be subject to a recount as provided in section 204C.35, subdivision 1.

Subd. 3. Scope and conduct of review. The county canvassing board shall appoint the post election review official as defined in subdivision 1. The post election review must be conducted of the votes cast for President or governor; United States Senator; and United States Representative. The post election review official may conduct postelection review of the votes cast for additional offices.

The postelection review must be conducted in public at the location where the voted ballots have been securely stored after the state general election or at another location chosen by the county canvassing board. The post election review official for each precinct selected must conduct the postelection review and may be assisted by election judges designated by the post election review official for this purpose. The party balance requirement of section 204B.19 applies to election judges designated for the review. The postelection review must consist of a manual count of the ballots used in the precincts selected and must be performed in the manner provided by section 204C.21. The postelection review must be conducted in the manner provided for recounts under section 204C.361 to the extent practicable. The review must be completed no later than two days before the meeting of the state canvassing board to certify the results of the state general election.

Subd. 4. Standard of acceptable performance by voting system. A comparison of the results compiled by the voting system with the postelection review described in this section must show that the results of the electronic voting system differed by no more than one-half of one percent from the manual count of the offices reviewed by no more than two votes in a precinct where fewer than 1,200 voters cast ballots, three votes in a precinct where between 1,200 and 1,599 voters cast ballots, four votes in a precinct where between 1,600 and 1,999 voters cast ballots, or five votes in a precinct where 2,000 or more voters cast ballots. Valid votes that have been marked by the voter outside the vote targets or using a manual marking device that cannot be read by the voting system must not be included in making the determination whether the voting system has met the standard of acceptable performance for any precinct.

Subd. 5. Additional review. (a) If the postelection review in one of the reviewed precincts reveals a difference greater than one-half of one percent, or greater than two votes in a precinct where 400 or fewer voters cast ballots the thresholds specified in subdivision 4, the postelection review official must, within two days, conduct an additional review of the races indicated in subdivision 3 in at least three precincts in the same jurisdiction where the discrepancy was discovered. If all precincts in that jurisdiction have been reviewed, the county auditor must immediately publicly select by lot at least three additional precincts for review. The postelection review official must complete the additional review within two days after the precincts are selected and report the results immediately to the county auditor. If the second review in any of the reviewed precincts also indicates a difference in the vote totals compiled by the voting system that is greater than one-half of one percent from the result indicated by the postelection review, or greater than two votes in a precinct where 400 or fewer voters cast ballots the thresholds specified in subdivision 4, the county auditor must conduct a review of the ballots from all the remaining precincts in the county for the races indicated in subdivision 3. This review must be completed and the results must be reported to the secretary of state within one week after the second review was completed.

(b) If the results from the countywide reviews from one or more counties comprising in the aggregate more than ten percent of the total number of persons voting in the election clearly indicate that an error in vote counting has occurred, the secretary of state must notify the postelection review official of each county in the district that they must conduct a manual recounts of all the ballots in the district for the affected office using the procedure outlined in section 204C.35. The recount must be completed and the results reported to the appropriate canvassing board within two weeks after the postelection review official received notice from the secretary of state.

Subd. 6. Report of results. Upon completion of the postelection review, the post election review official must immediately report the results to the county auditor. The county auditor must then immediately submit the results of the postelection review electronically or in writing to the secretary of state not later than two days before the State Canvassing Board meets to canvass the state general election. The secretary of state shall report the results of the postelection review at the meeting of the State Canvassing Board to canvass the state general election.

Subd. 7. Update of vote totals. If the postelection review under this section results in a change in the number of votes counted for any candidate, the revised vote totals must be incorporated in the official result from those precincts.

Subd. 8. Effect on voting systems. If a voting system is found to have failed to record votes accurately and in the manner provided by the Minnesota election law, the voting system must not be used at another election until it has been examined and recertified by the secretary of state. If the voting system failure is attributable to either its design or to actions of the vendor, the vendor must forfeit the vendor bond required by section 206.57 and the performance bond required by section 206.66.

Subd. 9. Costs of review. The costs of the postelection review required by this section must be allocated as follows:

(1)          the governing body responsible for each precinct selected for review must pay the costs incurred for the review conducted under subdivision 2 or 5, paragraph (a);

(2)          the vendor of the voting system must pay any costs incurred by the secretary of state to examine and recertify the voting system; and

(3)          the secretary of state must reimburse local units of government for the costs of any recount required under subdivision 5, paragraph (b).

Subd. 10. Time for filing election contest. The appropriate canvass is not completed and the time for notice of a contest of election does not begin to run until all reviews under this section have been completed.

History: 2006 c 242 s 34; 2008 c 244 art 1 s 20, 21;2008 c 295 s 22; 2008 c 336 s 8; 2010 c 194 s 24; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 69, 70; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 21-22 

206.895 SECRETARY OF STATE MONITOR.

The secretary of state must monitor and evaluate election procedures in precincts subject to the audit provided for in section 206.89 in at least four precincts in each congressional district. The precincts must be chosen by lot by the State Canvassing Board at its meeting to canvass the general election.

History: 2006 c 242 s 34

206.90 OPTICAL SCAN VOTING SYSTEMS.

 Amendment to subd. 6 is effective August 1, 2021            Subdivision 1. Definition. For the purposes of this section, "optical scan voting system" means an electronic voting system approved for use under sections 206.80 to 206.81 in which the voter records votes by marking with a pencil or other device, including an electronic ballot marker, a ballot on which the names of candidates, office titles, party designation in a partisan primary or election, and a statement of any question accompanied by the words "Yes" and "No" are printed.

Subd. 2. Procedures. To the extent possible, procedures for using an optical scan voting system must be the same as those used for other electronic voting systems, unless this section provides otherwise.

Subd. 3. Availability of paper ballots. At a state or county election where an optical scan voting system will be in use, the county auditor may provide ballot cards meeting the requirements of this section in lieu of paper ballots otherwise required to be prepared by the county auditor. In an election jurisdiction where an optical scan voting system has been adopted, the election official may provide paper ballots prepared in the same format used for the voting system.

Subd. 4. Absentee voting. An optical scan voting system may be used for absentee voting. The county auditor may supply an appropriate marking instrument to the voter along with the ballot.

Subd. 5. Instruction of judges, voters. In instructing judges and voters under section 206.84, subdivision 1, officials in charge of election precincts using optical scan voting systems shall include instruction on the proper mark for recording votes on ballot cards marked with a pencil or other writing instrument and the insertion by the voter of the ballot card into automatic tabulating equipment that examines and counts votes as the ballot card is deposited into the ballot box.

Officials shall include instruction on the insertion by the voter of the ballot card into an electronic ballot marker that can examine votes before the ballot card is deposited into the ballot box.

Subd. 6. Ballots. In precincts using optical scan voting systems, a single ballot card on which all ballot information is included must be printed in black ink on white colored material except that marks not to be read by the automatic tabulating equipment may be printed in another color ink. In state elections, a single ballot title must be used, as provided in sections 204D.08, subdivision 6, and 204D.11, subdivision 1. In odd-numbered years When both municipal and school district offices or questions appear on the ballot, the single ballot title “City (or Town) and School District Ballot” must be used.

On the front of the ballot must be printed the words "Official Ballot" and the date of the election and lines for the initials of at least two election judges.

When optical scan ballots are used, the offices to be elected must appear in the following order: federal offices; state legislative offices; constitutional offices; proposed constitutional amendments; county offices and questions; municipal offices and questions; school district offices and questions; special district offices and questions; and judicial offices.

On optical scan ballots, the names of candidates and the words "yes" and "no" for ballot questions must be printed as close to their corresponding vote targets as possible.

The line on an optical scan ballot for write-in votes must contain the words "write-in, if any."

If a primary ballot contains both a partisan ballot and a nonpartisan ballot, the instructions to voters must include a statement that reads substantially as follows: “This ballot card contains a partisan ballot and a nonpartisan ballot. On the partisan ballot you are permitted to vote for candidates of one political party only.” If a primary ballot contains political party columns on both sides of the ballot, the instructions to voters must include a statement that reads substantially as follows: “Additional political parties are printed on the other side of this ballot. Vote for one political party only.” At the bottom of each political party column on the primary ballot, the ballot must contain a statement that reads substantially as follows: “Continue voting on the nonpartisan ballot.” The instructions in section 204D.08, subdivision 4, do not apply to optical scan partisan primary ballots. Electronic ballot displays and audio ballot readers must follow the order of offices and questions on the optical scan or paper ballot used in the same precinct, or the sample ballot posted for that precinct.

Subd. 7. Voting booths. In precincts where an optical scan voting system is used, the number of voting booths must be sufficient to provide for the number of voters expected. Information needed to enable voters to mark ballot cards quickly and correctly must be posted in each voting booth.

Subd. 8. Duties of election officials. The official in charge of elections in each municipality where an optical scan voting system is used shall have the electronic ballot marker that examines and marks votes on ballot cards and the automatic tabulating equipment that examines and counts votes as ballot cards are deposited into ballot boxes put in order, set, adjusted, and made ready for voting when delivered to the election precincts. Whenever a ballot card created by an electronic ballot marker certified by the secretary of state is rejected by an optical scan voting system, two election judges who are members of different major political parties shall transcribe the votes on the ballot rejected by the optical scan voting system pursuant to the procedures set forth in section 206.86, subdivision 5.

Subd. 9. Spoiled ballot cards. Automatic tabulating equipment and electronic ballot markers must be capable of examining a ballot card for defects and returning it to the voter before it is counted and deposited into the ballot box and must be programmed to return as a spoiled ballot a ballot card with votes for an office or question which exceed the number which the voter is entitled to cast and at a primary a ballot card with votes for candidates of more than one party.

Subd. 10. Counting write-in votes. In precincts using optical scan voting systems, the judges shall count the write-in votes and enter the number of those votes on forms provided for the purpose. When the write-in votes are recorded on a medium that cannot be examined for write-in votes by the automatic tabulating equipment or the automatic tabulating equipment does not reject, with respect to write-in votes, all votes for an office or question when the number of votes cast on it exceeds the number which the voter is entitled to count, all ballot envelopes or other medium on which write-in votes have been recorded must be serially numbered, starting with the number one and the same number must be placed on the ballot card of the voter. The judges shall compare the write-in votes with the votes cast on the ballot card. If the total number of votes for any office exceeds the number allowed by law, a notation to that effect must be entered on the back of the ballot card and the card must be returned to the counting center in an envelope marked "defective ballots"; however, valid votes on ballot cards containing invalid votes must be counted as provided in section 206.86, subdivision 5.

When the write-in votes are recorded on ballot cards that can be examined for write-in votes by the automatic tabulating equipment and the automatic tabulating equipment rejects all votes for an office or question when the number of votes cast on it exceeds the number which the voter is entitled to cast, the judges shall examine the ballot cards with write-in votes and count the valid write-in votes.

History: 1986 c 381 s 1; 1987 c 175 s 15; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 28; 1993 c 223 s 22; 1994 c 646 s 22; 1997 c 147 s 70,71; 1998 c

254 art 1 s 64; 2000 c 467 s 31; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 42; 2005 c 162 s 29-33; 2006 c 242 s 36; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 71; 2015 c 70

art 1 s 51; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 23

206.95 VOTING EQUIPMENT GRANT ACCOUNT.

Subdivision 1. Voting Equipment grant account. A voting equipment grant account is established in the special revenue fund. Funds in the account are appropriated to the secretary of state to provide grants to political subdivisions as authorized by this section. Funds in the account are available until expended.

Subd. 2. Authorized equipment. A political subdivision may apply to receive a grant under this section for the purchase or lease of the following:

(1)          an electronic voting system, or any individual components of an electronic voting system as provided in section 206.56, subdivision 8;

(2)          assistive voting technology;

(3)          an electronic roster system meeting the technology requirements of section 201.225, subdivision 2; and

(4)          any other equipment or technology approved by the secretary of state for use in conducting a state or local election in Minnesota consistent with the requirements of law.

Subd. 3. Application. (a) The secretary of state may make a grant from the account to a political subdivision only after receiving an application from the political subdivision. The application must contain the following information:

(1)          the date the application is submitted;

(2)          the name of the political subdivision;

(3)          the name and title of the individual who prepared the application;

(4)          the type of voting system currently used in each precinct in the political subdivision;

(5)          the date the system currently used was acquired and at what cost;

(6)          the total number of registered voters, as of the date of the application, in each precinct in the political subdivision;

(7)          the total amount of the grant requested;

(8)          the total amount and source of the political subdivision’s money to be used to match a grant from the

account;

(9)          the type of voting system to be acquired with the grant money and whether the voting system will permit individuals with disabilities to cast a secret ballot;

(10)        the proposed schedule for purchasing and implementing the new voting system and the precincts in which the new voting system would be used;

(11)        whether the political subdivision has previously applied for a grant from the account and the disposition of that application;

(12)        a certified statement by the political subdivision that the grant will be used only to purchase authorized equipment under subdivision 2 of this section and that the political subdivision has insufficient resources to purchase the voting system without obtaining a grant from the account; and

(13)        any other information required by the secretary of state.

(b) The secretary of state must establish a deadline for receipt of grant applications, a procedure for awarding and distributing grants, and a process for verifying the proper use of the grants after distribution.

Subd. 4. Amount of grant. A political subdivision is eligible to receive a grant of no more than 75 percent of the total cost of electronic roster equipment and 50 percent of the total cost of all other equipment or technology authorized for a grant under subdivision 2. In evaluating the application, the secretary of state shall consider only the information set forth in the application and is not subject to chapter 14. If the secretary of state determines that the application has been fully and properly completed, and that there is a sufficient balance in the account to fund the grant, either in whole or in part, the secretary of state may approve the application.

Subd. 5. Report to legislature. No later than January 15, 2018, and annually thereafter until the appropriations provided for grants under this section have been exhausted, the secretary of state must submit a report to the legislative committees with jurisdiction over elections policy on grants awarded by this section.

The report must detail each grant awarded, including the jurisdiction, the amount of the grant, and the type of equipment purchased.

History: Sp12017 c 4 art 3 s 17

POLLING PLACES

204B.16 POLLING PLACES; DESIGNATION.

Subdivision 1. Authority; location. By December 31 of each year, the governing body of each municipality and of each county with precincts in unorganized territory must designate by ordinance or resolution a polling place for each election precinct. The polling places designated in the ordinance or resolution are the polling places for the following calendar year, unless a change is made:

(1)          pursuant to section 204B.175;

(2)          because a polling place has become unavailable; or

(3)          because a township designates one location for all state and federal elections and one location for all township only elections.

Polling places must be designated and ballots must be distributed so that no one is required to go to more than one polling place to vote in a school district and municipal election held on the same day. The polling place for a precinct in a city or in a school district located in whole or in part in the metropolitan area defined by section 200.02, subdivision 24, shall be located within the boundaries of the precinct or within one mile of one of those boundaries unless a single polling place is designated for a city pursuant to section 204B.14, subdivision 2, or a school district pursuant to section 205A.11. The polling place for a precinct in unorganized territory may be located outside the precinct at a place which is convenient to the voters of the precinct.  If no suitable place is available within a town or within a school district located outside the metropolitan area defined by section 200.02, subdivision 24, then the polling place for a town or school district may be located outside the town or school district within five miles of one of the boundaries of the town or school district.

Subd. 1a. Notice to voters. If the location of a polling place has been changed, the governing body establishing the polling place shall send to every affected household with at least one registered voter in the precinct a nonforwardable mailed notice stating the location of the new polling place at least 25 days before the next election. The secretary of state shall prepare a sample of this notice. A notice that is returned as undeliverable must be forwarded immediately to the county auditor. This subdivision does not apply to a polling place location that is changed on election day under section 204B.175.

Subd. 3. Designation effective until changed. The designation of a polling place pursuant to this section shall remain effective until a different polling place is designated for that precinct. No designation of a new or different polling place shall become effective less than 90 days prior to an election, including school district elections or referenda, and no polling place changes may occur during the period between the state primary and the state general election, except that a new polling place may be designated to replace a polling place that has become unavailable for use.

Subd. 4. Prohibited locations. No polling place shall be designated in any place where intoxicating liquors or nonintoxicating malt beverages are served or in any adjoining room. No polling place shall be designated in any place in which substantial compliance with the requirements of this chapter cannot be attained.

Subd. 5. Access by elderly and persons with disabilities. Each polling place shall be accessible to and usable by elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities. A polling place is deemed to be accessible and usable if it complies with the standards in paragraphs (a) to (f).

(a)          At least one set of doors must have a minimum width of 32 inches if the doors must be used to enter or leave the polling place.

(b)          Any curb adjacent to the main entrance to a polling place must have curb cuts or temporary ramps. Where the main entrance is not the accessible entrance, any curb adjacent to the accessible entrance must also have curb cuts or temporary ramps.

(c)           Where the main entrance is not the accessible entrance, a sign shall be posted at the main entrance giving directions to the accessible entrance.

(d)          At least one set of stairs must have a temporary handrail and ramp if stairs must be used to enter or leave the polling place.

(e)          No barrier in the polling place may impede the path of persons with disabilities to the voting booth.

(f)           At least one parking space for persons with disabilities, which may be temporarily so designated by the municipality for the day of the election, must be available near the accessible entrance.

The doorway, handrails, ramps, and handicapped parking provided pursuant to this subdivision must conform to the standards specified in the state building code for accessibility by persons with disabilities.

A governing body shall designate as polling places only those places which meet the standards prescribed in this subdivision unless no available place within a precinct is accessible or can be made accessible.

Subd. 6. Public facilities. Every statutory city, home rule charter city, county, town, school district, and other public agency, including the University of Minnesota and other public colleges and universities, shall make their facilities, including parking, available for the holding of city, county, school district, state, and federal elections, subject to the approval of the local election official. A charge for the use of the facilities may be imposed in an amount that does not exceed the lowest amount charged to any public or private group.

Subd. 7. Appropriate facilities. The facilities provided in accordance with subdivision 6 shall be sufficient in size to accommodate all election activities and the requirements of subdivision 5. The space must be separated from other activities within the building. The local election official may approve space in two connecting rooms for registration and balloting activities. Except in the event of an emergency making the approved space unusable, the public facility may not move the election from the space approved by the local election official without prior approval. In addition to the requirements of subdivision 5, the public facility must make remaining parking spaces not in use for regularly scheduled activities available for voters.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 16; 1983 c 124 s 4; 1984 c 471 s 5; 1985 c 307 s 1; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 25; 1991 c 227 s

12,13; 1991 c 349 s 36,37; 1992 c 474 s 1; 1993 c 223 s 10; 1997 c 147 s 29,30; 2000 c 467 s 16; 2004 c 293 art 2 s

18; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 35, 36; 2008 c 244 art 1 s 11; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 14; 2017 c 92 art 2 s 8

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.16

Town could not establish two precincts for state and federal elections and provide only one polling place for town elections. Op. Atty. Gen. 4346-9, August 10, 1983.

In a special election within an independent school district pursuant to M.S. 123.32 (1968), more than one polling place may be established in each precinct. Op. Atty. Gen. 187A, August 2, 1968.

Generally a precinct may contain only one polling place. Op. Atty. Gen. 183Q, September 29, 1967.

Village and town may use a retractable partition in order to maintain separate voting facilities for each precinct. Op. Atty. Gen. 185A-5, February 8, 1966.

Village and town which are separate election precincts may not use one set of election judges or one set of election facilities in one room. Op. Atty. Gen. 185A-5, August 6, 1964.

Village election held at polling place not lawfully designated is not invalid if voters were not unreasonably inconvenienced or prevented from voting so as to affect result of election. Op. Atty. Gen. 472N, January 6, 1955.

City could not establish election districts for city elections different from those for state elections. Op. Atty. Gen. 472-N, January 20, 1954.

Part of village hall may be used for liquor store purposes if it is completely partitioned off with separate entrance, and part of hall not used for municipal liquor store may be used for voting purposes. Op. Atty. Gen. 269C-6, January 8, 1954.

204B.175 CHANGE OF POLLING PLACE IN AN EMERGENCY.

Subdivision 1. Application. When an emergency occurs after the deadline to designate a polling place pursuant to section 204B.16 but before the polls close on election day, a new polling place may be designated for that election pursuant to this section. For purposes of this section, an emergency is any situation that prevents the safe, secure, and full operation of a polling place.

Subd. 2. Changing polling place. If a local election official determines that an emergency has occurred or is imminent, the local election official must procure a polling place that is as near the designated polling place as possible and that complies with the requirements of section 204B.16, subdivisions 4 and 5. If it is not possible to locate a new polling place in the precinct, the polling place may be located outside of the precinct without regard to the distance limitations in section 204B.16, subdivision 1. The local election official must 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.

Subd. 3. Notice. (a) Upon making the determination to relocate a polling place, the local election official must immediately notify the county auditor and the secretary of state. The notice must include the reason for the relocation and the reason for the location of the new polling place. As soon as possible, the local election official must also post a notice stating the reason for the relocation and the location of the new polling place. The notice must also be posted on the Web site of the public body, if there is one. The local election official must also notify the election judges and request that local media outlets publicly announce the reason for the relocation and the location of the polling place.

(b) On election day, the local election official must post a notice in large print in a conspicuous place at the polling place where the emergency occurred, if practical, stating the location of the new polling place. The local election official must also post the notice, if practical, in a location visible by voters who vote from their motor vehicles as provided in section 204C.15, subdivision 2. If polling place hours are extended pursuant to section 204C.05, subdivision 2, paragraph (b), the posted notices required by this paragraph must include a statement that the polling place hours at the new polling place will be extended until the specified time.

History: 2016 c 161 art 3 s 2

204B.18 POLLING PLACES; EQUIPMENT.

Subdivision 1. Booths; voting stations. (a) Each polling place must contain a number of voting booths or voting stations in proportion to the number of individuals eligible to vote in the precinct. The booth or station shall permit the voter to vote privately and independently.

(b)          Each polling place must have at least one accessible voting booth or other accessible voting station and beginning with federal and state elections held after December 31, 2005, and county, municipal, and school district elections held after December 31, 2007, one voting system that conforms to section 301(a)(3)(B) of the Help America Vote Act, Public Law 107-252.

(c)           Local jurisdictions must make accessible voting stations purchased with funds provided from the Help America Vote Act account available to other local jurisdictions holding stand-alone elections. The jurisdiction providing the equipment may require the jurisdiction using the equipment to reimburse any direct actual costs incurred as a result of the equipment’s use and any prorated indirect costs of maintaining and storing the equipment. A rental or other similar use fee may not be charged.

Any funds received under this clause for expenses incurred by that local jurisdiction as a direct result of making the equipment available that were not paid for in whole or in part with funds from the Help America Vote Act account are not program income under the Help America Vote Act, Public Law 107-252.

Any funds received by a local jurisdiction making the equipment available as reimbursement for expenses as defined as “operating costs” under Laws 2005, chapter 162, section 34, subdivision 1, paragraph (b), and paid for in whole or in part with funds from the Help America Vote Act account must be treated as program income and deposited into the jurisdiction’s Help America Vote Act account in the direct proportion that funds from the Help America Vote Act account were used to pay for those “operating costs.”

(d)          All booths or stations must be constructed so that a voter is free from observation while marking ballots. During the hours of voting, the booths or stations must have instructions, a pencil, and other supplies needed to mark the ballots. A chair must be provided for elderly voters and voters with disabilities to use while voting or waiting to vote. Stable flat writing surfaces must also be made available to voters who are completing election-related forms.

(e)          All ballot boxes, voting booths, voting stations, and election judges must be in open public view in the polling place.

Subd. 2. Ballot boxes. Each box shall be of sufficient size and shall have a sufficient opening to receive and contain all the ballots likely to be deposited in it.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 18; 1984 c 471 s 7; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 26; 2000 c 467 s 17; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 37; 2010 c

201 s 25; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 22; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 7

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.18

Private group may not use official election machinery.  Op. Atty. Gen. 64-0, July 22, 1966.

Village and town may use a retractable partition in order to maintain separate voting facilities for each precinct. Op. Atty. Gen. 185A-5, February 8, 1966.

ELECTION EMERGENCY PLANS 204B.181 ELECTION EMERGENCY PLANS.

Subdivision 1. State elections emergency plans. (a) The secretary of state, in consultation with the Minnesota director of the Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, must develop a state elections Emergency plan.

(b)          The secretary of state must also coordinate with the governor to incorporate election needs into the state's continuity of government and continuity of operations plans.

(c)           The secretary of state must create a state guide to assist county and local election officials in developing a county elections emergency plan required by subdivision 2. The secretary of state must consult with the Minnesota State Council on Disability in developing the guide. The guide must include a model county elections emergency plan that meets the requirements of this section.

Subd. 2. County elections emergency plans. (a) County election officials, in consultation with the political subdivision's local organization for emergency management established under section 12.25 and the municipalities and school districts within the county, must develop a county elections emergency plan to be made available for use in all state, county, municipal, and school district elections held in that county.

(b)          In developing the county elections emergency plan, the county must address the needs of voters with disabilities in all aspects of the plan. Where ballot security is affected, the plan must provide procedures to maintain the security of the ballots. When an emergency requires the relocation of the polling place, the plan must include procedures for securing the ballots and voting equipment, notifying the public and other government officials, and restoring voting activities as soon as possible. If the county contains jurisdictions that cross county lines, the affected counties must make efforts to ensure that the emergency procedures affecting the local jurisdiction are uniform throughout the jurisdiction.

(c)           Cities, towns, and school districts may create a local elections emergency plan that meets the requirements of the county elections emergency plan. If a local jurisdiction creates a local elections emergency plan, the procedures within the local elections emergency plan govern in all election emergencies within that local jurisdiction.

(d)          County election officials and any municipality with a local elections emergency plan must review their county or local elections emergency plan prior to each state general election. Any revisions to the county or local elections emergency plan must be completed and filed with the secretary of state by July 1 prior to the state general election.

History: 2016 c 161 art 3 s 2

ELECTION JUDGES; APPOINTMENT AND TRAINING 204B.19 ELECTION JUDGES; QUALIFICATIONS.

Subdivision 1. Individuals qualified to be election judges. Except as provided in subdivision 6, any individual who is eligible to vote in this state is qualified to be appointed as an election judge.

Subd. 2. Individuals not qualified to be election judges. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), no individual shall be appointed as an election judge for any precinct if that individual:

(1)          is unable to read, write or speak the English language;

(2)          is the spouse; parent, including a stepparent; child, including a stepchild; or sibling, including a stepsibling; of any election judge serving in the same precinct or of any candidate at that election;

(3)          is domiciled, either permanently or temporarily, with any candidate on the ballot at that election; or

(4)          is a candidate at that election.

(b) Individuals who are related to each other as provided in paragraph (a), clause (2), may serve as election judges in the same precinct, provided that they serve on separate shifts that do not run concurrently.

Subd. 4. Additional qualifications permitted; examination. The appointing authority may establish additional qualifications which are not inconsistent with the provisions of this section and which relate to the ability of an individual to perform the duties of an election judge. The appointing authority may examine any individual who seeks appointment as an election judge to determine whether the individual meets any qualification established under this section.

Subd. 5. Party balance requirement. No more than half of the election judges in a precinct may be members of the same major political party unless the election board consists of an odd number of election judges, in which case the number of election judges who are members of the same major political party may be one more than half the number of election judges in that precinct.

Subd. 6. High school students. Notwithstanding any other requirements of this section, a student enrolled in a high school in Minnesota or who is in a home-school in compliance with sections 120A.22 and 120A.24, who has attained the age of 16 is eligible to be appointed as a without party affiliation trainee election judge in the county in which the student resides, or a county adjacent to the county in which the student resides. The student must meet qualifications for trainee election judges specified in rules of the secretary of state. A student appointed as a trainee election judge may be excused from school attendance during the hours that the student is serving as a trainee election judge if the student submits a written request signed and approved by the student's parent or guardian to be absent from school and a certificate from the appointing authority stating the hours during which the student will serve as a trainee election judge to the principal of the school at least ten days prior to the election.  Students shall not serve as trainee election judges after 10:00 p.m.

Notwithstanding section 177.24 to the contrary, trainee election judges may be paid not less than

two-thirds of the minimum wage for a large employer. The principal of the school may approve a request to be absent from school conditioned on acceptable academic performance at the time of service as a trainee election judge.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 19; 1983 c 126 s 1; 1983 c 303 s 7; 1985 c 39 s 1; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 27; 1991 c 237 s 1,

2; 1995 c 34 s 1; 2000 c 467 s 18; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 19, 20; 2010 c 180 s 1; 2014 c 264 s 15; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 25,

26

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.19

Violation of statutes setting election judge qualifications not condoned. Hahn v. Graham, 225 N.W. 2d 385 (Minn. 1975).

Where there was a complete failure to comply with statute in the appointment of election board the election was invalid. In re Contest of Election of Vetsch, 245 Minn. 229, 71 N.W. 2d 652 (1955).

In an election which is not a general election, additional judges to count ballots are not required, but may be provided by the village with no limitation on the number thereof. Op. Atty. Gen. 183G, September 19, 1967.

Statutory requirement of party balance amongst election judges is applicable to all election precincts, including one precinct municipalities described in former section 204A.17(5). Op. Atty. Gen.183N, September 30, 1964.

Village and town which are separate election precincts may not use one set of election judges or one set of election facilities in one room. Op. Atty. Gen. 185A-5, August 6, 1964.

Former section 204A.17 is applicable to special county election on question of issuing bonds. Op. Atty. Gen. 183G, November 27, 1963.

Village council has no authority to modify, change, or waive the provisions of law requiring appointment of judges of election at least twenty-five days prior to date of election. Op. Atty. Gen. 472K, July 11, 1951.

204B.195 TIME OFF FROM WORK TO SERVE AS ELECTION JUDGE.

An individual who is selected to serve as an election judge pursuant to section 204B.21, subdivision 2 may, after giving an employer at least 20 days’ written notice, be absent from a place of work for the purpose of serving as an election judge without penalty. An employer may reduce the salary or wages of an employee serving as an election judge by the amount paid to the election judge by the appointing authority during the time the employee was absent from the place of employment.

The written request to be absent from work must be accompanied by a certification from the appointing authority stating the hourly compensation to be paid the employee for service as an election judge and the hours during which the employee will serve. An employer may restrict the number of persons to be absent from work for the purpose of serving as an election judge to no more than 20 percent of the total work force at any single worksite.

History: 1983 c 126 s 2; 1986 c 444; 1991 c 237 s 3

204B.20 ELECTION BOARD; HEAD ELECTION JUDGE; DUTIES.

The election judges appointed to serve in an election precinct shall constitute the election board for that precinct. The appointing authority shall designate one of the election judges in each precinct to serve as the head election judge. The head election judge shall assign specific duties to the election judges of that precinct as necessary or convenient to complete forms, obtain signatures, and perform all the other duties required of election judges.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 20; 1986 c 444; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 20

204B.21 APPOINTMENT OF ELECTION JUDGES.

Subdivision 1. Appointment lists; duties of political parties and secretary of state. On May 1 in a year in which there is an election for a partisan political office, each major political party shall prepare a list of eligible voters to act as election judges in each election precinct. The list provided by the party must indicate which eligible voters are willing to travel to a precinct outside of their home jurisdiction to act as an election judge, and the jurisdictions to which each eligible voter is willing to travel for that purpose. The political parties shall

furnish the lists electronically to the secretary of state, in a format specified by the secretary of state. The secretary of state must combine the data received from each political party under this subdivision and must process the data to locate the precinct in which the address provided for each potential election judge is located. If the data submitted by a political party is insufficient for the secretary of state to locate the proper precinct, the associated name must not appear in any list forwarded to an appointing authority under this subdivision. The secretary of state shall notify political parties of any proposed election judges with addresses that could not be located in a precinct.

By May 15, the secretary of state shall furnish electronically to the county auditor a list of the appropriate names for each election precinct in the jurisdiction of the appointing authority, and a list of the names of individuals residing outside of the jurisdiction who indicated a willingness to travel to that jurisdiction to act as an election judge, noting the political party affiliation of each individual on the list. The county auditor must promptly forward the appropriate names to the appropriate municipal clerk.

Subd. 2. Appointing authority; powers and duties. Election judges for precincts in a municipality shall be appointed by the governing body of the municipality. Election judges for precincts in unorganized territory and for performing election-related duties assigned by the county auditor shall be appointed by the county board. Election judges for a precinct composed of two or more municipalities must be appointed by the governing body of the municipality or municipalities responsible for appointing election judges as provided in the agreement to combine for election purposes. Except as otherwise provided in this section, appointments shall be made from the list of voters who reside in each precinct, furnished pursuant to subdivision 1, subject to the eligibility requirements and other qualifications established or authorized under section 204B.19. At least two election judges in each precinct must be affiliated with different major political parties. If no lists have been furnished or if additional election judges are required after all listed names in that municipality have been exhausted, the appointing authority may appoint other individuals who meet the qualifications to serve as an election judge, including persons on the list furnished pursuant to subdivision 1 who indicated a willingness to travel to the municipality, and persons who are not affiliated with a major political party. An individual who is appointed from a source other than the list furnished pursuant to subdivision 1 must provide to the appointing authority the

individual’s major political party affiliation or a statement that the individual does not affiliate with any major political party. An individual who refuses to provide the individual’s major political party affiliation or a statement that the individual does not affiliate with a major political party must not be appointed as an election judge. The appointments shall be made at least 25 days before the election at which the election judges will serve, except that the appointing authority may pass a resolution authorizing the appointment of additional election judges within the 25 days before the election if the appointing authority determines that additional election judges will be required.

Subd. 3. Access to election judge party affiliation. Notwithstanding section 13.43, the major political party affiliation of an election judge or a statement that the judge does not affiliate with a major political party may be shared with other election judges assigned to the precinct at the same election, to verify compliance with party balance requirements. This data may not be disclosed or used by the election judges for any other purpose.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 21; 1983 c 303 s 8; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 212 s 5; 1999 c 132 s 19; 2008 c 295 s 11, 12;

2010 c 180 s 2, 3; 2010 c 184 s 15; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 15

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.21

Where there was a complete failure to comply with statute in the appointment of election board the election was invalid. In re Contest of Election of Vetsch, 245 Minn. 229, 71 N.W. 2d 652 (1955).

In an election which is not a general election, additional judges to count ballots are not required, but may be provided by the village with no limitation on the number thereof. Op. Atty. Gen. 183G, September 29, 1967.

Village and town which are separate election precincts may not use one set of election judges or one set of election facilities in one room. Op. Atty. Gen. 185A-5, August 6, 1964.

Section is applicable to special county election on question of issuing bonds. Op. Atty. Gen. 183G, November 27, 1963.

Village council has no authority to modify, change, or waive the provisions of law requiring appointment of judges of election at least twenty-five days prior to date of election. Op. Atty. Gen. 472K, July 11, 1951

204B.22 ELECTION JUDGES; NUMBER REQUIRED.

Subdivision 1. Minimum number required. (a) A minimum of four election judges shall be appointed for each precinct in the state general election, provided that a minimum of three election judges shall be appointed for each precinct with fewer than 500 registered voters as of 14 weeks before the state primary. In all other elections, a minimum of three election judges shall be appointed for each precinct. In a combined polling place under section 204B.14, subdivision 2, at least one judge must be appointed from each municipality in the combined polling place, provided that not less than three judges shall be appointed for each combined polling place. The appointing authorities may appoint election judges for any precinct in addition to the number required by this subdivision including additional election judges to count ballots after voting has ended.

(b) An election judge may serve for all or part of Election Day, at the discretion of the appointing authority, as long as the minimum number of judges required is always present. The head election judge designated under section 204B.20 must serve for all of election day and be present in the polling place unless another election judge has been designated by the head election judge to perform the functions of the head election judge during any absence.

Subd. 4. Election judge trainees not counted toward minimum number of election judges. The presence or participation of election judge trainees must not be counted toward satisfying any of the required numbers of election judges in this chapter.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 22; 1986 c 362 s 3; 1987 c 212 s 6; 1994 c 607 s 5; 1997 c 147 s 31; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18

s 21,22; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 21; 2010 c 201 s 26, 27, 82; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 23, 85

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.22

Where there was a complete failure to comply with statute in the appointment of election board the election was invalid. In re Contest of Election of Vetsch, 245 Minn. 229, 71 N.W. 2d 652 (1955).

Failure to have full number of required election judges present was not fatal to validity of election. State ex rel Sch. Dist. No. 56, Traverse Co. v. Schmiesing, 243 Minn. 11, 66 N.W.2d 20 (1954).

In an election which is not a general election, additional judges to count ballots are not required, but may be provided by the village with no limitation on the number thereof. Op. Atty. Gen. 183G, September 29, 1967.

Village and town which are separate election precincts may not use one set of election judges or one set of election facilities in one room. Op. Atty. Gen. 185A-5, August 6, 1964.

Former section 204A.17 applicable to special county election on question of issuing bonds. Op. Atty. Gen. 183G, November 27, 1963.

Village council has no authority to modify, change, or waive the provisions of law requiring appointment of judges of election at least twenty-five days prior to date of election. Op. Atty. Gen. 472K, July 11, 1951.

204B.23 VACANCIES AMONG ELECTION JUDGES.

A vacancy on an election board occurs when any election judge who is a member of that board:

(a)          Fails to arrive at the polling place within 30 minutes after the time when the polling place is scheduled to open;

(b)          Becomes unable to perform the duties of the office after assuming those duties; or

(c)           For any reason fails or refuses to perform the duties of the office as assigned by the head election judge.

When a vacancy occurs, the remaining election judges of the precinct shall elect an individual to fill the vacancy subject to the provisions of section 204B.19. When possible the election judges shall elect individuals who have been trained as election judges pursuant to section 204B.25. The oath signed by the new election judge shall indicate that the new election judge was elected to fill a vacancy. The municipal clerk may assign election judges to fill vacancies as they occur.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 23; 1986 c 444; 1997 c 147 s 32; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 23

204B.24 ELECTION JUDGES; OATH.

Each election judge shall sign the following oath before assuming the duties of the office:

“I            solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will perform the duties of election judge according to law and the

best of my ability and will diligently endeavor to prevent fraud, deceit and abuse in conducting this election. I will perform my duties in a fair and impartial manner and not attempt to create an advantage for my party or for any candidate.”

The oath shall be attached to the summary statement of the election returns of that precinct. If there is no individual present who is authorized to administer oaths, the election judges may administer the oath to each other.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 24; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 38; 2010 c 201 s 28

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.24

Defects in oath-taking did not invalidate election. Green v. Ind. Consol Sch. Dist. No. 1, Lyon Co., 252 Minn. 361, 89 N.W.2d 12 (1958).

204B.25 TRAINING FOR ELECTION JUDGES.

Subdivision 1. Duties of county auditor. Each county auditor shall provide training for all election judges who are appointed to serve at any election to be held in the county. The county auditor shall also provide a procedure for emergency training of election judges elected to fill vacancies. The county auditor may delegate to a municipal election official the duty to provide training of election judges in that municipality or school district.

Subd. 2. Rules of secretary of state. The secretary of state shall adopt rules establishing programs for the training of county auditors, local election officials, and election judges by county auditors as required by this section.

Subd. 3. Trained election judges; number required. Each election precinct in which less than 100 individuals voted at the last state general election shall have at least two election judges who are members of different major political parties who have received training as required in this section. In every other election precinct, no individual may serve as an election judge who has not received training as required by subdivision 1.

Subd. 4. Training for local election officials. At least once every two years, the county auditor shall conduct training sessions for the municipal and school district clerks in the county. The training sessions must be conducted in the manner provided by the secretary of state. No local election official may administer an election without receiving training from the county auditor.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 25; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 28; 1999 c 250 art 1 s 86, 87

204B.26 ELECTION JUDGES; VIOLATIONS; PENALTIES.

Any individual who serves as an election judge in violation of any of the provisions of sections 204B.19 to 204B.25, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 26

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.26

Violation of election statutes does not invalidate election absent showing of prejudice, fraud, or bad faith. Hahn v. Graham, 302 Minn. 407, 225 N.W.2d 385 (1975).

ELECTION ADMINISTRATION 204B.27 DUTIES OF SECRETARY OF STATE.

Subdivision 1. Blank forms. At least 14 days before every state election the secretary of state shall transmit to each county auditor examples of any blank forms to be used as the secretary of state deems necessary for the conduct of the election. County abstract forms may be provided to auditors electronically via the Minnesota State Election Reporting System maintained by the secretary of state, and must be available at least one week prior to the election.

Subd. 2. Election law and instructions. The secretary of state shall prepare and publish a volume containing all state general laws relating to elections. The attorney general shall provide annotations to the secretary of state for this volume. On or before August 1 of every odd-numbered year the secretary of state shall furnish to the county auditors and municipal clerks enough copies of this volume so that each county auditor and municipal clerk will have at least one copy. On or before July 1 of every even-numbered year, the secretary of state shall prepare and make an electronic copy available on the office’s Web site. The secretary of state may prepare and transmit to the county auditors and municipal clerks detailed written instructions for complying with election laws relating to the conduct of elections, conduct of voter registration and voting procedures.

Subd. 3. Instruction posters. At least 25 days before every state primary election the secretary of state shall prepare and furnish to the county auditor of each county voter instruction posters printed in large type upon cards or heavy paper. The instruction posters must contain the information needed to enable the voters to cast their paper ballots quickly and correctly and indicate the types of assistance available for elderly and handicapped voters. Two instruction posters shall be furnished for each precinct. Upon mutual agreement, the secretary of state may provide the posters in an electronic format.

Subd. 4. Pamphlets. The secretary of state shall prepare and distribute to election officials pamphlets for voters containing impartial instructions relating to voter registration and election procedures. The pamphlets must indicate the types of registration and voting assistance available for elderly and handicapped individuals and residents of health care facilities and hospitals.

Subd. 5. Conferences for county auditors. Before each state primary the secretary of state shall conduct conferences with county auditors to instruct them on the administration of election laws and the training of local election officials and election judges.

Subd. 6. Voter participation. The secretary of state may sponsor or participate in nonpartisan activities to promote voter participation in Minnesota elections and in efforts to increase voter registration and voter turnout.

Subd. 7. Educational activities. The secretary of state may authorize educational activities related to voting and elections for elementary or secondary school students in the polling place on the day of a state, county, municipal, or school district election. Ballots used for educational activities must be a different color than any ballot used at the election. Activities authorized under this subdivision must be administered in a manner that does not interfere with the conduct of the election.

Subd. 8. Voter information telephone line. The secretary of state shall provide a voter information telephone line. A toll-free number must be provided for use by persons residing outside the metropolitan calling area. The secretary of state shall make available information concerning voter registration, absentee voting, election results, and other election-related information considered by the secretary of state to be useful to the public.

Subd. 9. Election supply contract. The secretary of state may enter into a statewide contract from which any county auditor may purchase ballots, forms, or other election supplies.

Subd. 10. Training for county auditors; training materials. The secretary of state shall develop a training program in election administration for county auditors and shall certify each county auditor who successfully completes the training program. The secretary of state shall provide each county auditor with materials for use in training local election officials and election judges.

Subd. 11. Translation of voting instructions. The secretary of state may develop voting instructions in languages other than English, to be posted and made available in polling places during elections. The state demographer shall determine and report to the secretary of state the languages that are so common in this state that there is a need for translated voting instructions.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 27; 1983 c 303 s 9; 1984 c 471 s 8,9; 1984 c 560 s 10,11; 1987 c 175 s 6; 1989 c 291 art 1 s

9; 1991 c 237 s 4; 1992 c 513 art 3 s 43; 1994 c 632 art 3 s 54; 1997 c 147 s 33; 1999 c 132 s 20; 1999 c 250 art 1 s

88; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 24; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 39; 2010 c 201 s 29, 30

204B.28 CLERKS; ELECTION SUPPLIES; DUTIES.

Subdivision 1. Meeting with election officials. At least 12 weeks before each regularly scheduled town general election conducted in March, and at least 18 weeks before all other general elections, each county auditor shall conduct a meeting or otherwise communicate with local election officials to review the procedures for the election. The county auditor may require the head election judges in the county to attend this meeting.

Subd. 2. Election supplies; duties of county auditors and clerks. Except as otherwise provided for absentee ballots in section 204B.35, subdivision 4, the county auditor shall complete the preparation of the election materials for which the auditor is responsible at least four days before every state primary and state general election. At any time after all election materials are available from the county auditor but not later than four days before the election each municipal clerk shall secure from the county auditor:

(a)          The forms that are required for the conduct of the election;

(b)          Any printed voter instruction materials furnished by the secretary of state;

(c)           Any other instructions for election officers; and

(d)          A sufficient quantity of the official ballots, registration files, envelopes for ballot returns, and other supplies and materials required for each precinct in order to comply with the provisions of the Minnesota Election Law. The county auditor may furnish the election supplies to the municipal clerks in the same manner as the supplies are furnished to precincts in unorganized territory pursuant to section 204B.29, subdivision 1.

Subd. 3. Certification of number. The county auditor or municipal clerk must certify the number of ballots being provided to each precinct and provide this number to the election judges for inclusion on the summary statement. The auditor or clerk must not open prepackaged ballots, but must count the ballots, presuming that the total count for each package is correct.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 28; 1981 c 217 s 5; 1984 c 560 s 12; 1986 c 444; 1990 c 585 s 25; 1999 c 250 art 1 s 89;

1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 25; 2010 c 201 s 31; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 24

204B.29 ELECTION JUDGES; ELECTION SUPPLIES; DUTIES.

Subdivision 1. Securing election materials. Before 9:00 p.m. on the day preceding an election, at least one election judge from each precinct in each municipality, or school district if applicable, shall secure voter registration files, ballots, forms, envelopes and other required supplies from the municipal clerk, school district clerk, or other legal custodian. The election judge shall deliver the materials to the polling place before the time when voting is scheduled to begin on election day. The county auditor shall send or deliver the election supplies enumerated in this section to the election judges in the precincts in unorganized territory. The election supplies may be sent by certified mail, parcel post, express mail or any other postal service providing assured delivery by no later than the day before the election. If the election supplies are delivered by any other means, they shall be delivered by no later than the day before the election.

Each precinct shall be furnished with 100 ballots of each kind for every 85 individuals who voted in that precinct at the last election for the same office or on similar questions, or with ballots of each kind in an amount at least ten percent greater than the number of votes which are reasonably expected to be cast in that precinct in that election, whichever supply of ballots is greater. No precinct shall be furnished with any ballots containing the name of any candidate who cannot properly be voted for in that precinct.

The election judges shall be responsible for the preservation of all election materials received by them until returned to the appropriate election officials after the voting has ended.

Subd. 2. Failure of election judges to secure materials. If no election judge secures the election materials for a precinct in any municipality, or school district if applicable, as provided in subdivision 1, the municipal or school district clerk shall deliver them to an election judge for that precinct not later than the time when voting is scheduled to begin. The municipal or school district clerk shall require the election judge accepting delivery of the election supplies to sign a receipt for them. The election judges of that precinct shall pay the expenses of delivery of the materials and shall be liable for the penalty provided by law for neglect of duty.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 29; 1984 c 560 s 13; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 29

204B.30 UNOFFICIAL BALLOTS.

When no official or substitute ballots are ready at the time when voting is scheduled to begin or if the supply is exhausted before the voting ends, the election judges shall contact the municipal clerk and, at the clerk’s direction, shall prepare unofficial ballots, printed or written as nearly as practicable in the form of the

official ballots, which ballots may be used until official or substitute ballots are available. When unofficial ballots are prepared and used in any precinct, the election judges shall note that fact on the summary statement of the returns for that precinct and specify the number of unofficial ballots that were cast.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 30; 1986 c 444

204B.31 COMPENSATION FOR ELECTION SERVICES.

Subdivision 1. Compensation. The compensation for services performed under the Minnesota election law shall be as follows:

(a)          To presidential electors from funds appropriated to the secretary of state for this purpose, $35 for each day of attendance at the capitol and mileage for travel to and from the capitol in the amount allowed for state employees in accordance with section 43A.18, subdivision 2;

(b)          To individuals, other than county, city, school district, or town employees during their normal work day, who are appointed by the county auditor to carry ballots to or from the county auditor’s office, a sum not less than the prevailing Minnesota minimum wage for each hour spent in carrying ballots and mileage in the amount allowed pursuant to section 471.665, subdivision 1;

(c)           To members of county canvassing boards, a sum not less than the prevailing Minnesota minimum wage for each hour necessarily spent and an amount for each mile of necessary travel equal to the amount allowed pursuant to section 471.665, subdivision 1;

(d)          To election judges serving in any city, an amount fixed by the governing body of the city; to election judges serving in any school district election which is not held in conjunction with a state election, an amount fixed by the school board of the school district; to election judges serving in unorganized territory, an amount fixed by the county board; and to election judges serving in towns, an amount fixed by the town board.

Election judges shall receive at least the prevailing Minnesota minimum wage for each hour spent carrying out their duties at the polling places and in attending training sessions required by section 204B.25, except as provided in subdivision 2. An election judge who travels to pick up election supplies or to deliver election returns to the county auditor shall receive, in addition to other compensation authorized by this section, a sum not less than the prevailing Minnesota minimum wage for each hour spent performing these duties, plus mileage in the same amount as allowed pursuant to section 471.665, subdivision 1; and

(e)          To sergeants at arms, an amount for each hour of service performed at the direction of the election judges, fixed in the same manner as compensation for election judges.

Subd. 2. Volunteer service; election judge travel. (a) Any person appointed to serve as an election judge may elect to serve without payment by submitting a written statement to the appropriate governing body no later than ten days before the election.

(b) Subdivision 1 does not require the payment of mileage or other travel expenses to an election judge

residing in another jurisdiction, if the election judge’s name was included on the list of individuals who indicated

a willingness to travel to another jurisdiction provided under section 204B.21, subdivision 1.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 31; 1982 c 424 s 58; 1983 c 126 s 3; 1983 c 253 s 8; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 30; 1997 c 147 s

34; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 16

204B.32 ELECTION EXPENSES; PAYMENT.

Subdivision 1. Payment. (a) The secretary of state shall pay the compensation for presidential electors and all necessary expenses incurred by the secretary of state in connection with elections.

(b)          The counties shall pay the compensation prescribed in section 204B.31, clauses (b) and (c), the cost of printing the state general election ballots when machines are used, the state partisan primary ballots, and the state and county nonpartisan primary ballots, all necessary expenses incurred by county auditors in connection with elections, and the expenses of special county elections.

(c)           Subject to subdivision 2, the municipalities shall pay the compensation prescribed for election judges and sergeants at arms, the cost of printing the municipal ballots, providing ballot boxes, providing and equipping polling places and all necessary expenses of the municipal clerks in connection with elections, except special county elections.

(d)          The school districts shall pay the compensation prescribed for election judges and sergeants-at-arms, the cost of printing the school district ballots, providing ballot boxes, providing and equipping polling places and all necessary expenses of the school district clerks in connection with school district elections not held in conjunction with state elections. When school district elections are held in conjunction with state elections, the school district shall pay the costs of printing the school district ballots, providing ballot boxes and all necessary expenses of the school district clerk.

All disbursements under this section shall be presented, audited, and paid as in the case of other public expenses.

Subd. 2. Allocation of election expenses. The secretary of state shall develop procedures for the allocation of election expenses among counties, municipalities, and school districts for elections that are held concurrently. The following expenses must be included in the procedures: salaries of election judges; postage for absentee ballots and applications; preparation of polling places; preparation and testing of electronic voting systems; ballot preparation; publication of election notices and sample ballots; transportation of ballots and election supplies; and compensation for administrative expenses of the county auditor, municipal clerk, or school district clerk.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 32; 1983 c 301 s 162; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 31; 1991 c 227 s 14; 1995 c 8 s 3; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 25

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.32

If no money available in town treasury to pay election costs, it may issue warrants. Op. Atty. Gen. 434B-1, May 23. 1934.

204B.33 NOTICE OF FILING.

(a)          At least 16 weeks before the state primary, the secretary of state shall notify each county auditor of the offices to be voted for in that county at the next state general election for which candidates file with the secretary of state. The notice shall include the time and place of filing for those offices. Within ten days after notification by the secretary of state, each county auditor shall notify each municipal clerk in the county of all the offices to be voted for in the county at that election and the time and place for filing for those offices. The county auditors and municipal clerks shall promptly post a copy of that notice in their offices.

(b)          At least one week before the first day to file an affidavit of candidacy, the county auditor shall publish a notice stating the first and last dates on which affidavits of candidacy may be filed in the county auditor’s office and the closing time for filing on the last day for filing. The county auditor shall post a similar notice at least ten days before the first day to file affidavits of candidacy.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 33; 1983 c 253 s 9; 1993 c 59 s 1; 2010 c 184 s 16; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 26

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.33

Secretary of State was a proper party-respondent on ballot challenge by voter and judicial candidate seeking an order striking name of appointed associate justice of state Supreme Court from primary and general election ballots or, alternatively, striking designation of that associate justice as the incumbent on those ballots; although Secretary of State was not directly responsible for printing and preparation of ballots, ballot challenge concerned office for which voting was conducted statewide and for which the Secretary of State had provided the challenged ballot information to all 87 county auditors. Clark v.

Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293, (Minn. 2008) certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

In the absence of fraud or other positive wrongdoing, the failure of election officials to give the required notice is not grounds for invalidating an election.

State ex rel. Maffett v. Turnbull, 212 Minn. 382, 3 N.W. 2d 674 (1942).

204B.34 NOTICE OF ELECTION.

Subdivision 1. State elections. At least 15 days before any state primary or state general election the municipal clerk shall post in the clerk’s office a notice stating the offices for which candidates must be nominated or elected, the location of each polling place in the municipality, and the hours for voting. An optional provision of the notice may include municipal offices for which candidates must be nominated or elected. The county auditor shall post a similar notice in the auditor’s office including information concerning any polling places in unorganized territory in the county. The governing body of a municipality or county may publish this notice in addition to posting it. Failure to give the notice required in this section shall not invalidate a state primary or state general election.

Subd. 2. Municipal elections. Notice of municipal elections shall be given as provided in sections 205.13, subdivision 2; and 205.16, subdivision 1.

Subd. 3. Judicial elections. When one or more justices of the supreme court or judges of the court of appeals or of a district court are to be nominated at the same primary or elected at the same general election, the notice of election shall state the name of each justice or judge whose successor is to be nominated or elected.

Subd. 4. School district elections. Notice of school district elections shall be given as provided in sections 205A.06, subdivision 2; and 205A.07, subdivision 1.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 34; 1982 c 501 s 15; 1983 c 247 s 86; 1983 c 303 s 10; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 32;

1998 c 254 art 2 s 23; 2011 c 76 art 1 s 27

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.34

Notice erroneously specifying term for which mayor is to be elected does not invalidate election. Op. Atty. Gen. 277A-4, February 3, 1956.

Ineligibility of candidate receiving highest number of votes, in absence of knowledge by voters of disqualifying facts, will not result in giving the election to the next highest candidate. Op. Atty. Gen. 63A-11, March 23, 1955.

If last day for filing should fall on Monday, February 22, a legal holiday, both Monday, February 22 and Sunday, February 21, are omitted in computation and last day for filing would be Saturday, February 20. Op. Atty. Gen. 911E, February 1, 1954.

Where in published notice clerk inserted wrong date for closing of filings, same would not invalidate election and, irrespective of notice, a candidate is required to file within statutory time. Op. Atty. Gen. 277A-4, December 1, 1950.

CHAPTER 204C - ELECTION DAY ACTIVITIES

GENERAL PROVISIONS

204C.01 DEFINITIONS.

The definitions in chapter 200 apply to this chapter.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 1

204C.02 CHAPTER APPLICATION; INDIVIDUALS UNABLE TO WRITE.

This chapter applies to all elections held in this state except as otherwise provided by law.

An individual who is unable to write the individual’s name must sign election-related documents in the manner provided by section 645.44, subdivision 14. An individual who has power of attorney for another person may not sign election-related documents for that person, except as provided by this section.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 2; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 34; 2010 c 201 s 33

204C.03 PUBLIC MEETINGS PROHIBITED ON ELECTION DAY.

Subdivision 1. School districts; counties; municipalities; special taxing districts. No special taxing district governing body, school board, county board of commissioners, city council, or town board of supervisors shall conduct a meeting between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on the day that an election is held within the boundaries of the special taxing district, school district, county, city, or town. As used in this subdivision, “special taxing district” has the meaning given in section 275.066.

Subd. 2. State colleges and universities. Except for regularly scheduled classes, no Minnesota state college or university shall schedule an event between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on the day that an election is held in any political subdivision in which the university or college is located.

Subd. 3. Public elementary and secondary schools. Except for regularly scheduled classes, a public elementary or secondary school may not schedule a school sponsored event between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on the day that a regularly scheduled election is held in any political subdivision in which the school is located.

Subd. 4. State government. No state agency, board, commission, department, or committee shall conduct a public meeting on the day of the state primary or general election.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 3; 1983 c 303 s 12; 1991 c 221 s 2; 1996 c 395 s 10; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 27

204C.035 DECEPTIVE PRACTICES IN ELECTIONS.

Subdivision 1. Criminal penalty. No person shall knowingly deceive another person regarding the time, place, or manner of conducting an election or the qualifications for or restrictions on voter eligibility for an election, with the intent to prevent the individual from voting in the election. A violation of this section is a gross misdemeanor.

Subd. 2. Reporting false election information. Any person may report to the county auditor or municipal clerk an act of deception regarding the time, place, or manner of conducting an election or the qualifications for or restrictions on voter eligibility for an election. The election official to whom the report was made shall provide accurate information to the person who reported the incorrect information in a timely manner, and may provide information about the act of deception and accurate information to mass media outlets in any affected area. The county attorney may subsequently proceed under subdivision 1.

History: 2006 c 242 s 20

204C.04 EMPLOYEES; TIME OFF TO VOTE.

Subdivision 1. Right to be absent. Every employee who is eligible to vote in an election has the right to be absent from work for the time necessary to appear at the employee’s polling place, cast a ballot, and return to work on the day of that election, without penalty or deduction from salary or wages because of the absence. An employer or other person may not directly or indirectly refuse, abridge, or interfere with this right or any other election right of an employee.

Subd. 2. Elections covered. For purposes of this section, “election” means a regularly scheduled election, an election to fill a vacancy in the office of United States senator or United States representative, an election to fill a vacancy in nomination for a constitutional office, or an election to fill a vacancy in the office of state senator or state representative, or a presidential nomination primary under chapter 207A.

Subd. 3. Penalty. A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor, and the county attorney shall prosecute the violation.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 4; 1988 c 578 art 1 s 3; 1991 c 245 s 1; 1995 c 20 s 1; 2000 c 260 s 27; 2010 c 201 s 34;

2015 c 70 art 1 s 33; 2016 c 162 s 6

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.04

Former section 204A.36 held constitutional. State v. International Harvester Co., 241 Minn. 367, 63 N.W. 2d 547 (1954).

Municipal employee may take such time off with pay as is reasonably necessary to enable voting on morning of election day but should arrange absence with proper officials to prevent suspension of all public business. Op. Atty. Gen. 185a-2, November 1, 1950.

204C.05 STATE ELECTIONS; HOURS FOR VOTING.

Amendments to subds. 1a & 1b are effective August 1, 2021        Subdivision 1. Opening and closing times. Except as otherwise provided in this section, at the state primary and the state general election the hours for voting in every precinct in the state shall begin at 7:00 a.m. and shall extend continuously until 8:00 p.m.

Subd. 1a. Elections; organized town. The governing body of a town with less than 500 inhabitants according to the most recent federal decennial census, which is located outside the metropolitan area as defined in section 200.02, subdivision 24, may fix a later time for voting to begin at state primary, special, or general elections, if approved by a vote of the town electors at the annual town meeting. The question of shorter voting hours must be included in the notice of the annual town meeting before the question may be submitted to the electors at the meeting. The later time may not be later than 10:00 a.m. for special, primary, or general elections. The town clerk shall either post or publish notice of the changed hours and notify the county auditor and the secretary of state of the change 30 days before the election.

Subd. 1b. Elections; unorganized territory. An unorganized territory or unorganized territories which constitute a voting district may have shorter voting hours if at least 20 percent of the registered voters residing in the voting district sign a petition for shorter hours and present it to the county auditor and secretary of state at least 30 days before the election. The later time may not be later than 10:00 a.m. for special, primary, or general elections. The county auditor shall either post or publish notice of the changed hours, within the voting district, 30 days before the election.

Subd. 2. Voters in line at closing. (a) At or before the hour when voting is scheduled to begin, the election judges shall agree upon the standard of time they will use to determine when voting will begin and end. Voting shall not be allowed after the time when it is scheduled to end, unless individuals are waiting in the polling place or waiting in line at the door to register or to vote. The voting shall continue until those individuals have been allowed to vote. No individual who comes to the polling place or to a line outside the polling place after the time when voting is scheduled to end shall be allowed to vote.

(b) The local election official may extend polling place hours to accommodate voters that would have been in line at the regular polling place if the polling place had not been combined or moved on election day pursuant to section 204B.14, subdivision 2, or 204B.175. Polling place hours may be extended at the new polling place for one hour. The local election official must immediately provide notice to the county auditor, secretary of state, and election judges of the extension in polling place hours. The local election official must also request that the local media outlets publicly announce the extended polling place hours. Voters in the polling place or waiting in line at the door to register or to vote at the end of the extended polling place hours shall be allowed to vote pursuant to paragraph (a).

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 5; 1983 c 303 s 13; 1985 c 169 s 6; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 40; 2016 c 161 art 3 s 4; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 9-10

POLLING PLACE ACTIVITIES

204C.06 CONDUCT IN AND NEAR POLLING PLACES.

Subdivision 1. Persons allowed near polling place. An individual shall be allowed to go to and from the polling place for the purpose of voting without unlawful interference. No one except an election official or an individual who is waiting to register or to vote or an individual who is conducting exit polling shall stand within 100 feet of the building in which a polling place is located. “Exit polling” is defined as approaching voters in a predetermined pattern as they leave the polling place after they have voted and asking voters to fill out an anonymous, written questionnaire.

Subd. 2. Individuals allowed in polling place; identification. (a) Representatives of the secretary of state’s office, the county auditor’s office, and the municipal or school district clerk’s office may be present at the polling place to observe election procedures. Except for these representatives, election judges, sergeants-at-arms, and challengers, an individual may remain inside the polling place during voting hours only while voting or registering to vote, providing proof of residence for an individual who is registering to vote, or assisting a handicapped voter or a voter who is unable to read English. During voting hours no one except individuals receiving, marking, or depositing ballots shall approach within six feet of a voting booth, ballot counter, or electronic voting equipment, unless lawfully authorized to do so by an election judge or the individual is an election judge monitoring the operation of the ballot counter or electronic voting equipment.

(b)          Teachers and elementary or secondary school students participating in an educational activity authorized by section 204B.27, subdivision 7, may be present at the polling place during voting hours.

(c)           Each official on duty in the polling place must wear an identification badge that shows their role in the election process. The badge must not show their party affiliation.

Subd. 3. Damaging or removing election materials; gross misdemeanor. No individual shall intentionally:

(a)          Tear down, mutilate, deface or otherwise damage during the hours of voting any voter instruction poster placed inside or outside of a polling place by an election judge or other election official; or

(b)          Remove from the polling place before the time for voting ends any ballots prepared for use at the election or any supplies or conveniences placed in voting booths for use by the voters, except as authorized by law.

A violation of this subdivision is a gross misdemeanor.

Subd. 4. Damaging or removing election materials; felony. No individual shall intentionally:

(a)          Remove from a polling place any election file or election register, except as authorized by law;

(b)          Damage, deface, or mutilate any ballot, election file or election register or any item of information contained on it, except as authorized by law; or

(c)           Add anything to a ballot, election file or election register, except as authorized by law. A violation of this subdivision is a felony.

Subd. 5. Sergeant-at-arms. The election judges may appoint a sergeant-at-arms when necessary to keep the peace or otherwise to assist them. An election judge may request a sergeant-at-arms or a peace officer to arrest or remove from the polling place any individual who, despite a warning to desist, engages in disorderly conduct. A sergeant-at-arms or a peace officer shall not otherwise interfere in any manner with voters.

Subd. 6. Peace officers. Except when summoned by an election judge to restore the peace or when voting or registering to vote, no peace officer shall enter or remain in a polling place or stand within 50 feet of the entrance of a polling place.

Subd. 7. Use of intoxicating liquor; prohibition; penalty. During the time an election is being held it is a misdemeanor to bring intoxicating liquor or 3.2 percent malt liquor into a polling place, to drink intoxicating liquor or 3.2 percent malt liquor in a polling place, or to be intoxicated in a polling place. The election judges shall not permit an obviously intoxicated individual to vote or remain in the polling place for any purpose.

Subd. 8. Access for news media. 

A news media representative may enter a polling place during voting hours only to observe the voting process. A media representative must present photo identification to the head election judge upon arrival at the polling place, along with either a recognized media credential or written statement from a local election official attesting to the media representative’s credentials. A media representative must not:

(1)          approach within six feet of a voter;

(2)          converse with a voter while in the polling place;

(3)          make a list of persons voting or not voting; or

(4)          interfere with the voting process.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 6; 1984 c 471 s 10; 1984 c 515 s 1; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 35; 1989 c 291 art 1 s

12; 1991 c 237 s 5; 1991 c 249 s 31; 1993 c 223 s 12; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 24; 2005 c 113 s 1; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 41;

2008 c 244 art 1 s 13; 2010 c 201 s 35; 2011 c 18 s 6

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.06

First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause permits state to take reasonable steps to exclude some forms of advocacy from polling place to ensure that partisan discord not follow the voter up to the voting booth and distract from a sense of shared civic obligation at the moment it counts the most. Minn. Voters Alliance v. Mansky, 138 S.Ct. 1876 (2018).

Polling place in Minnesota qualifies as “nonpublic forum” for First Amendment free speech purposes because it is government-controlled property set aside for sole purpose of voting and as such is subject to rules that strictly govern who may be present, for what purpose, and for how long. Minn. Voters Alliance v. Mansky, 138 S.Ct. 1876 (2018).

Organization of statute criminalizing intentionally destroying ballots and use of “intentionally” indicates this is general-intent crime; defendant is entitled to jury instruction on defense of reliance on official government statement only if he presents prima facie that he relied on official government source that advised him it was legal to burn ballots. State v. Shane, 883 N.W.2d 606 (Minn. Ct. App. 2016).

Statutory violations in the conduct of elections do not of themselves invalidate an election. Munnell v. Rowlette, 275 Minn. 92, 145 N.W. 2d (1966).

Former section 204A.37 limited who may be in a polling place while the polls are open. Former section 204A.40 applies after the polls close. Op. Atty. Gen. 182A-5, November 20, 1964. See M.S. 204C.07, 204C.19 and 204C.21.

Standing in line by non-voters and the abuse of the right to challenge voters constitute gross misdemeanors under Minnesota law. Op. Atty. Gen. 182, October 26, 1964.

Standing in line by non-voters constitutes a gross misdemeanor. Op. Atty. Gen. 182, October 26, 1964. Section applies to village and town elections. Op. Atty. Gen. 490C, November 19, 1954.

When polling place is held in town garage building, coffee socials may not be held within same building. Op. Atty. Gen. 672M, May 10, 1954.

It was not permissible for one of the judges of election on election day to take ballot from polling place to home of sick or disabled person, permit such person to mark it and then return to polling place and cast it in name of such person. Op. Atty. Gen. 28C-1, November 27, 1935.

204C.07 CHALLENGERS.

Subdivision 1. Partisan elections. At an election to fill partisan offices, the chair of an authorized committee of each major political party may appoint by written certificate voters from that political party to act as challengers of voters at the polling place for each precinct. Only one challenger from each major political party for each precinct shall be allowed to remain in the polling place at one time.

Subd. 2. Nonpartisan elections. At an election to fill nonpartisan offices, each nonpartisan candidate may appoint by written certificate voters to act as challengers of voters at the polling place for each precinct. Only one challenger for each candidate shall be allowed to remain in the polling place for each precinct at one time.

Subd. 3. Elections on a question. At an election where a question is to be voted upon in an election jurisdiction, the appropriate mayor of a city, school board of a school district, or board of supervisors of a town, upon receiving a written petition signed by at least 25 eligible voters, shall appoint by written certificate one voter for each precinct in the municipality, or school district if applicable, to act as a challenger of voters in the polling place for that precinct. The petition must be delivered to the clerk of the municipality or school conducting the election.

Subd. 3a. Residence requirements. A challenger must be a resident of this state. Appointed challengers seeking admission to a polling place to serve in that capacity must prove their status as a resident of this state by presenting one of the documents listed in section 201.061, subdivision 3. Challengers need not prove residence in the precinct in which they seek to act as a challenger.

Subd. 4. Restrictions on conduct. An election judge may not be appointed as a challenger. The election judges shall permit challengers appointed pursuant to this section to be present in the polling place during the hours of voting and to remain there until the votes are counted and the results declared. No challenger shall handle or inspect registration cards, files, or lists. Challengers shall not prepare in any manner any list of individuals who have or have not voted. They shall not attempt to influence voting in any manner. They shall not converse with a voter except to determine, in the presence of an election judge, whether the voter is eligible to vote in the precinct.

Subd. 5. Prohibited challenges. Challengers and the political parties that appointed them must not compile lists of voters to challenge on the basis of mail sent by a political party that was returned as undeliverable or if receipt by the intended recipient was not acknowledged in the case of registered mail. This subdivision applies to any local, state, or national affiliate of a political party that has appointed challengers, as well as any subcontractors, vendors, or other individuals acting as agents on behalf of a political party.

A violation of this subdivision is a gross misdemeanor.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 7; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 36; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 42,43; 2006; 2008 c 244 art 1 s14; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 9

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.07

Registered voters and organizations representing registered voters failed to exhaust their adequate state law remedies, as required to bring their action alleging that various Minnesota state and county officials responsible for election administration or enforcement of election laws violated their rights under the United States and the Minnesota Constitutions by not taking sufficient steps to ensure that election day registrants were eligible to vote.

Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Ritchie, 890 F.Supp.2d 1106 (D. Minn. 2012).

Abuse of the right to challenge voters constitutes a gross misdemeanor. Op. Atty. Gen. 182, October 26, 1964

204C.08 OPENING OF POLLING PLACES.

Subdivision 1. Renumbered subd. 1c Subd. 1a. Renumbered subd. 1d

Subdivision 1b. Arrival; ballots. The election judges shall meet at the polling place at least one hour before the time for opening the polls. Before the polls open, the election judges shall compare the ballots used with the sample ballots, electronic ballot displays, and audio ballot reader furnished to see that the names, numbers, and letters on both agree and shall certify to that fact on forms provided for that purpose. The certification must be filed with the election returns.

Subd. 1c. Display of flag. Upon their arrival at the polling place on the day of election, the election judges shall cause the national flag to be displayed on a suitable staff at the entrance to the polling place. The flag shall be displayed continuously during the hours of voting and the election judges shall attest to that fact by signing the flag certification statement on the precinct summary statement. The election judges shall receive no compensation for any time during which they intentionally fail to display the flag as required by this subdivision.

Subd. 1d. Voter's bill of rights. The county auditor shall prepare and provide to each polling place sufficient copies of a poster setting forth the Voter's Bill of Rights as set forth in this section. Before the hours of voting are scheduled to begin, the election judges shall post it in a conspicuous location or locations in the polling place. The Voter's Bill of Rights is as follows: (SEE VOTER'S BILL OF RIGHTS UNDER MINNESOTA GLOSSARY)

CHAPTER 211C - RECALL OF ELECTED STATE OFFICIALS

211C.01 DEFINITIONS.

Subdivision 1. Application. The definitions in this section and in chapter 200 apply to this chapter.

Subd. 2. Malfeasance. “Malfeasance” means the intentional commission of an unlawful or wrongful act by a state officer other than a judge in the performance of the officer’s duties that is substantially outside the scope of the authority of the officer and that substantially infringes on the rights of any person or entity.

Subd. 3. Nonfeasance. “Nonfeasance” means the intentional, repeated failure of a state officer other than a judge to perform specific acts that are required duties of the officer.

Subd. 4. Serious crime. (a) “Serious crime” means a crime that is punished as a gross misdemeanor, as defined in section 609.02, and that involves assault, intentional injury or threat of injury to person or public safety, dishonesty, stalking, aggravated driving while intoxicated, coercion, obstruction of justice, or the sale or possession of controlled substances.

(b) “Serious crime” also means a crime that is punished as a misdemeanor, as defined in section 609.02, and that involves assault, intentional injury or threat of injury to person or public safety, dishonesty, coercion, obstruction of justice, or the sale or possession of controlled substances.

Subd. 5. State officer. “State officer” means an individual occupying an office subject to recall under the

Minnesota Constitution, article VIII, section 6.

History: 1996 c 469 art 2 s 2

NOTES AND DECISIONS 211C.01

Allegation of nonfeasance in performance of official duties by Secretary of State in relation to filing of oaths of office of members of legislature by filing them with chief clerk of House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate instead of with Secretary of State, and by refusing request to inspect oaths, failed to allege specific facts constituting grounds for recall. In re Proposed Petition to Recall Kiffmeyer, 673 N.W.2d 827 (Minn. 2004)

Proposed petition to recall Attorney General for allegedly failing to defend constitutionality of state sodomy statute presented claim of nonfeasance, even though language of petition indicated claim of both nonfeasance and malfeasance. In re Proposed Petition to Recall Hatch, 628 N.W.2d 125 (Minn. 2001).

211C.02 GROUNDS.

The grounds for recall of a judge shall be established by the supreme court. A state officer other than a judge may be subject to recall for serious malfeasance or nonfeasance during the term of office in the performance of the duties of the office or conviction during the term of office for a serious crime.

History: 1996 c 469 art 2 s 3

NOTES AND DECISIONS

211C.02

Allegation that Governor committed nonfeasance in filing an oath of office while a member of the legislature prior to his election as governor failed to allege specific facts constituting grounds for recall of Governor. In re Proposed Petition to Recall Pawlenty, 673 N.W.2d 829 (Minn. 2004).

Allegation that there were legal defects in wording of oath of office signed by Secretary of State failed to allege specific facts constituting grounds for recall. In re Proposed Petition to Recall Kiffmeyer, 673 N.W.2d 827 (Minn. 2004).

Allegations of failure in an elected state officer’s duties “as a lawyer” are not valid grounds for the officer’s recall. In re Proposed Petition to Recall Hatch,

628 N.W.2d 125 (Minn. 2001).

211C.03 PETITION FOR RECALL; FORM AND CONTENT.

The secretary of state shall prescribe by rule the form required for a recall petition. Each page of the petition must contain the following information:

(1)          the name and office held by the state officer who is the subject of the recall petition and, in the case of a representative, senator, or district judge, the district number in which the state officer serves;

(2)          the specific grounds upon which the state officer is sought to be recalled and a concise, accurate, and complete synopsis of the specific facts that are alleged to warrant recall on those grounds;

(3)          a statement that a recall election, if conducted, will be conducted at public expense;

(4)          a statement that persons signing the petition:

(i)            must be eligible voters residing within the district where the state officer serves or, in the case of a statewide officer, within the state;

(ii)           must know the purpose and content of the petition; and

(iii)          must sign of their own free will and may sign only once; and

(5)          a space for the signature and signature date; printed first, middle, and last name; residence address, including municipality and county; and date of birth of each signer.

The secretary of state shall make available sample recall petition forms upon request.

History: 1996 c 469 art 2 s 4

211C.04 PROPOSED PETITION; SUBMITTAL.

A petition to recall a state officer may be proposed by 25 or more persons, who must be eligible to sign and shall sign the proposed petition for the recall of the officer. The persons submitting the petition must designate in writing no more than three individuals among them to represent all petitioners in matters relating to the recall. The proposed petition must be submitted to the secretary of state in the manner and form required by the secretary of state and be accompanied by a fee of $100. After the secretary of state issues a petition to recall a state officer under section 211C.06, the secretary of state may not accept a proposed petition to recall the same officer until either the earlier petition is dismissed by the secretary of state for a deficiency of signatures under section 211C.06, or the recall election brought about by the earlier petition results in the officer retaining the office. Upon receiving a proposed petition that satisfies the requirements of this section, the secretary of state shall immediately notify in writing the state officer named and forward the proposed petition to the clerk of the appellate courts for action under section 211C.05.

History: 1996 c 469 art 2 s 5

211C.05 SUPREME COURT REVIEW OF PROPOSED PETITION.

Subdivision 1. Assignment for hearing. Upon receiving a proposed petition from the secretary of state, the clerk of the appellate courts shall submit it immediately to the chief justice of the supreme court, or, if the chief justice is the subject of the proposed petition, to the most senior associate justice of the supreme court. The persons proposing the petition shall provide to the reviewing judge any materials supporting the petition. The officer who is named in the proposed petition may submit materials in opposition. The justice, or a designee if the justice has a conflict of interest or is unable to conduct the review in a timely manner, shall review the proposed petition to determine whether it alleges specific facts that, if proven, would constitute grounds for recall of the officer under the Minnesota Constitution, article VIII, section 6, and section 211C.02. If it does not, the justice shall immediately issue an order dismissing the petition and indicating the reason for dismissal. If the proposed petition does allege specific facts that, if proven, would constitute grounds for recall, the justice shall assign the case to a special master for a public hearing. The special master must be an active or retired judge.

The justice shall complete the review under this section and dismiss the proposed petition or assign the case for hearing within ten days.

Subd. 2. Hearing; report. A public hearing on the allegations of a proposed petition must be held within 21 days after issuance of the order of the justice assigning the case to a special master. The special master shall report to the court within seven days after the end of the public hearing. In the report, the special master shall determine:

(1)          whether the persons proposing the petition have shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the factual allegations supporting the petition are true; and

(2)          if so, whether the persons proposing the petition have shown that the facts found to be true are sufficient grounds for issuing a recall petition.

If the special master determines that these standards have been met, the report must include a statement of the specific facts and grounds for the recall petition.

Subd. 3. Supreme court; decision. The supreme court shall review the report of the special master and make a decision on the petition within 20 days. If the court decides that the standard expressed in subdivision 2 has not been met, the court shall dismiss the petition. If the court decides that the standard for decision expressed in subdivision 2 has been met, the court shall prescribe, by order to the secretary of state, the statement of the specific facts and grounds that must appear on the petition for recall issued under section 211C.06. If the court dismisses a petition under this section because the persons proposing the petition have acted in bad faith in violation of section 211C.09, the court may assess the persons proposing the petition for reasonable costs of conducting the proceeding.

History: 1996 c 469 art 2 s 6

211C.06 ISSUING, CIRCULATING, AND VERIFYING PETITION.

Upon receipt of the order from the supreme court, the secretary of state shall issue a recall petition. When the required number of signatures on the petition have been secured, the petition may be filed with the secretary of state. The petition must be filed within 90 days after the date of issuance. Upon the filing of the petition, the secretary of state shall verify the number and eligibility of signers in the manner provided by the secretary of state. If the secretary of state determines that a petition has been signed by a sufficient number of eligible voters, the secretary of state shall certify the petition and immediately notify in writing the governor, the petitioners, and the state officer named in the petition. If the petition is not signed by a sufficient number of eligible voters, the secretary of state shall dismiss the petition.

History: 1996 c 469 art 2 s 7

211C.07 GOVERNOR; WRIT OF ELECTION; ELECTION.

Within five days of receiving certification of a petition under section 211C.06, the governor shall issue a writ calling for a recall election, unless the election cannot be held before the deadline specified in the Minnesota Constitution, article VIII, section 6. A recall election must be conducted, and the results canvassed and returned, in the manner provided by law for the state general election.

History: 1996 c 469 art 2 s 8

211C.071 REMOVAL ELECTION FORM OF QUESTION.

The form of the question under this chapter must be:

"Shall ....... (Name) elected (appointed) to the office of    (title) be removed from that office?"

211C.08 ELECTION RESULT; REMOVAL FROM OFFICE.

If a majority of the votes cast in a recall election favor the removal of the state officer, upon certification of that result the state officer is removed from office and the office is vacant.

History: 1996 c 469 art 2 s 9

211C.09 RECALL PETITION; CORRUPT PRACTICES.

A person proposing a petition may not allege any material fact in support of the petition that the person knows is false or has alleged with reckless disregard of whether it is false. A person may not intentionally make any false entry on a petition or aid, abet, counsel, or procure another to do so. A person may not use threat, intimidation, coercion, or other corrupt means to interfere or attempt to interfere with the right of any eligible voter to sign or not to sign a recall petition of their own free will. A person may not, for any consideration, compensation, gift, reward, or thing of value or promise thereof, sign or not sign a recall petition.

The supreme court may dismiss a proposed petition for violation of this section. Notwithstanding section 645.241, the sole remedy for a violation of this section is dismissal of the petition by the supreme court.

History: 1996 c 469 art 2 s 10

207A.11 PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION PRIMARY ESTABLISHED.

(a)          A presidential nomination primary must be held each year in which a president and vice president of the United States are to be nominated and elected.

(b)          The party chairs must jointly submit to the secretary of state, no later than March 1 in a year prior to a presidential election year, the single date on which the parties have agreed to conduct the presidential nomination primary in the next year. The date selected must not be the date of the town general election provided in section 205.075, subdivision 1. If a date is not jointly submitted by the deadline, the presidential nomination primary must be held on the first Tuesday in March in the year of the presidential election. No other election may be conducted on the date of the presidential nomination primary.

(c)           The secretary of state must adopt rules to implement the provisions of this chapter. The secretary of state shall consult with the party chairs throughout the rulemaking process, including seeking advice about possible rules before issuing a notice of intent to adopt rules, consultation before the notice of comment is published, consultation on the statement of need and reasonableness, consultation in drafting and revising the rules, and consultation regarding any modifications to the rule being considered.

(d)          This chapter only applies to a major political party that selects delegates at the presidential nomination primary to send to a national convention. A major political party that does not participate in a national convention is not eligible to participate in the presidential nomination primary.

(e)          For purposes of this chapter, "political party" or "party" means a major political party as defined in section 200.02, subdivision 7, that is eligible to participate in the presidential nomination primary.

History: 2016 c 162 s 9; 2019 1st special session c 10 art 4 s 5

207A.12 CONDUCTING PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION PRIMARY.

(a)          Except as otherwise provided by law, the presidential nomination primary must be conducted, and the results canvassed and returned, in the manner provided by law for the state primary.

(b)          An individual seeking to vote at the presidential nomination primary must be registered to vote pursuant to section 201.054, subdivision 1. The voter must request the ballot of the party for whose candidate the individual wishes to vote. Notwithstanding section 204C.18, subdivision 1, the election judge must record in the polling place roster the name of the political party whose ballot the voter requested. When posting voter history pursuant to section 201.171, the county auditor must include the name of the political party whose ballot the voter requested. The political party ballot selected by a voter is private data on individuals as defined under section 13.02, subdivision 12, except as provided in section 201.091, subdivision 4a.

(c)           Immediately after the state canvassing board declares the results of the presidential nomination primary, the secretary of state must notify the chair of each party of the results.

(d)          The results of the presidential nomination primary must bind the election of delegates in each party.

History: 2016 c 162 s 10; 2019 1st special session c 10 art 4 s 6

207A.13 FORM OF BALLOTS; CANDIDATES ON BALLOT.

 Amendments are effective August 1, 2021           Subdivision 1. Form. (a) Except as provided by law, presidential nomination primary ballots shall be printed in the same manner as state primary ballots as far as practicable. A sufficient number of each ballot shall be printed for each precinct and ward in the state.

(b)          There must be separate ballots for the names of the candidates of each participating political party. Each ballot must be headed by the words "Presidential Nomination Primary Ballot." The heading must also indicate the party that appears on the ballot.

(c)           If requested by a party chair, the ballot for that participating party must contain a place for a voter to indicate a preference for having delegates to the party's national convention remain uncommitted. If requested by a party chair, the ballot for that participating party must contain a blank line printed below the other choices on the ballot so that a voter may write in the name of a person who is not listed on the ballot. A request under this paragraph must be submitted to the secretary of state no later than 63 days before the presidential nomination primary.

Subd. 2. Candidates on the ballot. (a) Each party participating in the presidential nomination primary must determine which candidates are to be placed on the presidential nomination primary ballot for that party. The chair of each participating party must submit to the secretary of state the names of the candidates to appear on the ballot for that party no later than 63 days before the presidential nomination primary. Once submitted, changes must not be made to the candidates that will appear on the ballot.

(b) No later than the seventh day before the presidential nomination primary, the chair of each participating party must submit to the secretary of state the names of write-in candidates, if any, to be counted for that party.

History: 2016 c 162 s 11; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 24

207A.14 NOTICE OF PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION PRIMARY; SAMPLE BALLOTS.

 Amendment to subd. 3 is effective May 26, 2021              Subdivision 1. Notice of primary to counties and municipalities. Twenty weeks before a presidential nomination primary is to be held, the secretary of state shall provide notice to the county auditor of each county of the date of the presidential nomination primary. Within ten days after notification by the secretary of state, each county auditor shall provide notice of the date of the presidential nomination primary to each municipal clerk in the county.

Subd. 2. Example ballots. No later than 70 days before the presidential nomination primary, the secretary of state must supply each county auditor with example ballots to be used at the presidential nomination primary. The example ballots must illustrate the format required for the ballots used in the presidential nomination primary.

Subd. 3. Notice of primary to public. At least 15 days before the date of the presidential nomination primary, each municipal clerk shall post a public notice stating the date of the presidential nomination primary, the location of each polling place in the municipality, the hours during which the polling places in the municipality will be open, and information about the requirements of section 207A.12, paragraph (b), including a notice that the voter's choice of a political party's ballot will be recorded and is public information. The county auditor shall post a similar notice in the auditor's office with information for any polling places in unorganized territory in the county. The governing body of a municipality or county may publish the notice in addition to posting it. Failure to give notice does not invalidate the election.

History: 2016 c 162 s 12; 2019 1st special session c 10 art 4 s 7; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 25

207A.15 PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION PRIMARY ELECTION EXPENSES; LOCAL REIMBURSEMENT.

Subdivision 1. Presidential nomination primary elections account; special revenue fund. (a) A presidential nomination primary elections account is created in the special revenue fund.

(b)          No later than September 1 of the year preceding a presidential election year, the secretary of state shall certify to the commissioner of management and budget the estimated state and local cost of administering the presidential nomination primary election. The secretary of state may make supplemental certifications to the commissioner of management and budget if new information indicates that the actual costs of conducting the election will exceed the secretary's initial estimate.

(c)           Within 15 days of a certification under paragraph (b), the commissioner of management and budget must transfer an amount equal to the certification from the general fund to the presidential nomination primary elections account. The funds in the presidential nomination primary elections account are appropriated to the secretary of state for:

(1)          state costs associated with administering the presidential nomination primary election; and

(2)          making the reimbursements required by subdivision 2.

The commissioner of management and budget must transfer back to the general fund any funds remaining in the presidential nomination primary elections account 120 days after the results of a presidential nomination primary election have been certified by the State Canvassing Board.

Subd. 2. Reimbursable local expenses. (a) The secretary of state shall reimburse the counties and municipalities for expenses incurred in the administration of the presidential nomination primary from money contained in the presidential nomination primary elections account. The following expenses are eligible for reimbursement: preparation and printing of ballots; postage for absentee ballots; publication of the sample ballot; preparation of polling places in an amount not to exceed $150 per polling place; preparation of electronic voting systems in an amount not to exceed $100 per precinct; compensation for temporary staff or overtime payments; salaries of election judges; compensation of county canvassing board members; and other expenses as approved by the secretary of state.

(b)          Within 60 days after the results of a presidential nomination primary are certified by the State Canvassing Board, the county auditor must submit a request for payment of the costs incurred by the county for conducting the presidential nomination primary, and the municipal clerk must submit a request for payment of the costs incurred by the municipality for conducting the presidential nomination primary. The request for payment must be submitted to the secretary of state, and must be accompanied by an itemized description of actual county or municipal expenditures, including copies of invoices. In addition, the county auditor or municipal clerk must certify that the request for reimbursement is based on actual costs incurred by the county or municipality in the presidential nomination primary.

(c)           The secretary of state shall provide each county and municipality with the appropriate forms for requesting payment and certifying expenses under this subdivision. The secretary of state must not reimburse expenses unless the request for payment and certification of costs has been submitted as provided in this subdivision. The secretary of state must complete the issuance of reimbursements to the counties and municipalities no later than 90 days after the results of the presidential nomination primary have been certified by the State Canvassing Board.

History: 2016 c 162 s 13; 2019 1st special session c 10 art 4 s 8

CHAPTER 208 - PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS

208.01   DEFINITIONS.

The words used in this chapter have the meanings prescribed to them in chapter 200.

History: 1959 c 675 art 9 s

208.02 MS 1957 [Repealed, 1959 c 675 art 13 s 1]

208.02   ELECTION OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS AND ALTERNATES

Presidential electors and alternates shall be chosen at the state general election held in the year preceding the expiration of the term of the president of the United States.

History: 1959 c 675 art 9 s 2; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 38; 2015 c 70 art 2 s 2

208.03   NOMINATION OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS AND ALTERNATES.

Presidential electors and alternates for the major political parties of this state shall be nominated by delegate conventions called and held under the supervision of the respective state central committees of the parties of this state. At least 71 days before the general election day the chair of the major political party shall certify to the secretary of state the names of the persons nominated as presidential electors, the names of persons nominated as alternate presidential electors, and the names of the party candidates for president and vice-president. The chair shall also certify that the party candidates for president and vice president have no affidavit on file as a candidate for any office in this state at the ensuing general election.

History: 1959 c 675 art 9 s 3; 1979 c 251 s 2; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 38; 1981 c 217 s 1; 1986 c 444; 1986 c 475 s 20;2005 c 156 art 6 s 57; 2010 c 184 s 42; 2010 c 201 s 77; 2012 c 250 s 2; 2015 c 70 art 2 s 3

NOTES AND DECISIONS 208.03

Party name protection law applies only to names of major political parties. Scofield v. Kiffmeyer, 620 N.W.2d 24 (Minn. 2000).

Court will not change political party or principle as stated on presidential elector nominating petition absent showing of significant degree of confusion. Mere similarity of party name is not sufficient.  Id.

Courts lacked jurisdiction to pass on decisions of party central committee or convention. Democratic Farmer-Labor State Central Committee v. Holm, 227 Minn. 52, 33 N.W.2d 831 (1948).

Presidential and vice-presidential “candidates” nominated by petition have right to withdraw. Op. Atty. Gen. 28C-5, September 26, 1968. Nominating petitions for presidential electors could be made under former M.S. 202A.28. Op. Atty. Gen. 185B-3, January 15, 1960. See M.S. 204B.07. It is improper and illegal to place name of naturalized citizen on ballot as candidate for president. Op. Atty. Gen. 28C-5, February 19, 1952.

208.04   PREPARATION OF BALLOTS.

Subdivision 1. Form of presidential ballots. When presidential electors and alternates are to be voted for, a vote cast for the party candidates for president and vice-president shall be deemed a vote for that party’s electors and alternates as filed with the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall certify the names of all duly nominated presidential and vice-presidential candidates to the county auditors of the counties of the state. Each county auditor, subject to the rules of the secretary of state, shall cause the names of the candidates of each major political party and the candidates nominated by petition to be set in type of the same size and style as for candidates on the state general election ballot, before the party designation. To the left of, and on the same line with the names of the candidates for president and vice-president, near the margin, shall be placed an oval or similar target shape, in which the voters may indicate their choice.

The form for the presidential ballot and the relative position of the several candidates shall be determined by the rules applicable to other state officers. The state ballot, with the required heading, shall be printed on the same piece of paper and shall be below the presidential ballot with a blank space between one inch in width.

Subd. 2. Applicable rules. The rules for preparation, state contribution to the cost of printing, and delivery of presidential ballots are the same as the rules for state general election ballots under section 204D.11, subdivision 1.

History: 1959 c 675 art 9 s 4; 1961 c 606 s 2; 1976 c 224 s 7; 1979 c 251 s 3; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 23,24; 1984 c 560 s 25; 1999 c 132 s 39; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 58; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 72, 73; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 26

NOTES AND DECISIONS 208.04

Court would not mandate change of party or principle as stated upon nominating petitions for presidential electors, despite similarity to that of other candidates, absent showing of significant degree of confusion. Scofield v. Kiffmeyer, 620 N.W.2d 24 (Minn. 2000).

Party Name Protection Act applies only to names of major political parties. Id.

Write-in votes for presidential electors are authorized in this state even though M.S. 208.04 makes no provision for them, since that section’s specific provisions must be held to assume the general law as it is declared by former M.S. 203A.12 and 206.07, which provide for blank spaces for write-ins on all general election ballots; including the presidential ballot. Op. Atty. Gen. 28C-5, October 5, 1968. See M.S. 204B.36, subd. 2 and 204D.08, subd. 2, relating to primary elections

208.05   STATE CANVASSING BOARD.

The state canvassing board at its meeting on the date provided in section 204C.33 shall open and canvass the returns made to the secretary of state for presidential electors and alternates, prepare a statement of the number of votes cast for the persons receiving votes for these offices, and declare the person or persons receiving the highest number of votes for each office duly elected. When it appears that more than the number of persons to be elected as presidential electors or alternates have the highest and an equal number of votes, the secretary of state, in the presence of the board shall decide by lot which of the persons shall be declared elected. The governor shall transmit to each person declared elected a certificate of election, signed by the governor, sealed with the state seal, and countersigned by the secretary of state.

History: 1959 c 675 art 9 s 5; 1961 c 606 s 3; 1979 c 251 s 4; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 38; 1981 c 217 s 2; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 59; 2010 c 194 s 26

NOTES AND DECISIONS 208.05

Write-in votes for presidential candidates whose electors have not been certified as such to the secretary of state under M.S. 208.03 or former 202A.32, would be a nullity since the state canvassing board under the authority of M.S. 208.05 determines the election only of electors, but an effective write-in would either write in the office of presidential elector and names of as many as ten candidates for a presidential elector, or employ a sticker for the same purpose. Op. Atty. Gen. 28C-5, October 5, 1968.

208.06 MS 1957 [Repealed, 1959 c 675 art 13 s 1]

208.06   ELECTORS AND ALTERNATES TO MEET AT STATE CAPITOL.

The presidential electors and alternate presidential electors, before 12:00 M. on the day before that fixed by Congress for the electors to vote for president and vice-president of the United States, shall notify the governor that they are at the state capitol and ready at the proper time to fulfill their duties as electors. The governor shall deliver to the electors present a certificate of the names of all the electors. The electors shall meet at 12:00 p.m. in the executive chamber of the State Capitol and shall perform all the duties imposed upon them as electors by the Constitution and laws of the United States and this state in the manner provided in section 208.46.

History: 1959 c 675 art 9 s 6; 1979 c 251 s 5; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 60; 2015 c 70 art 2 s 4

201.21   PERMANENT REGISTRATION SYSTEM.

A permanent system of voter registration by county is established, with a single, official, centralized, interactive computerized statewide voter registration list defined, maintained, and administered at the state level that contains the name and registration information of every legally registered voter in the state, and assigns a unique identifier to each legally registered voter in the state. The interactive computerized statewide voter registration list constitutes the official list of every legally registered voter in the state. The county auditor shall be chief registrar of voters and the chief custodian of the official registration records in each county. The secretary of state is responsible for defining, maintaining, and administering the centralized system.

History: 1973 c 676 s 3; 1975 c 204 s 94; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 5; 1984 c 560 s 2; 1987 c 361 s 2; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 1

201.22   STATEWIDE REGISTRATION SYSTEM.

Subdivision 1. Establishment. The secretary of state shall maintain a statewide voter registration system to facilitate voter registration and to provide a central database containing voter registration information from around the state. The system must be accessible to the county auditor of each county in the state. The system must also:

(1)          provide for voters to submit their voter registration applications to any county auditor, the secretary of state, or the Department of Public Safety;

(2)          provide for the definition, establishment, and maintenance of a central database for all voter registration information;

(3)          provide for entering data into the statewide registration system;

(4)          provide for electronic transfer of completed voter registration applications from the Department of Public Safety to the secretary of state or the county auditor;

(5)          assign a unique identifier to each legally registered voter in the state;

(6)          provide for the acceptance of the Minnesota driver's license number, Minnesota state identification number, and last four digits of the Social Security number for each voter record;

(7)          coordinate with other agency databases within the state;

(8)          allow county auditors and the secretary of state to add or modify information in the system to provide for accurate and up-to-date records;

(9)          allow county auditors, municipal and school district clerks, and the secretary of state to have electronic access to the statewide registration system for review and search capabilities;

(10)        provide security and protection of all information in the statewide registration system and ensure that unauthorized access is not allowed;

(11)        provide access to municipal clerks to use the system;

(12)        provide a system for each county to identify the precinct to which a voter should be assigned for voting purposes;

(13)        provide daily reports accessible by county auditors on the driver's license numbers, state identification numbers, or last four digits of the Social Security numbers submitted on voter registration applications that have been verified as accurate by the secretary of state; and

(14)        provide reports on the number of absentee ballots transmitted to and returned and cast by voters under section 203B.16.

The appropriate state or local official shall provide security measures to prevent unauthorized access to the computerized list established under section 201.021.

Subd. 2. Rules. The secretary of state shall make permanent rules necessary to administer the system required in subdivision 1.

Subd. 3. Consultation with local officials. The secretary of state must consult with representatives of local election officials in the development of the statewide voter registration system.

History: 1987 c 361 s 1; 1988 c 646 s 1; 1990 c 585 s 2; 1995 c 233 art 2 s 56; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 8; 2004 c 293

art 1 s 2; 2005 c 162 s 1

201.054 METHODS OF REGISTRATION; PROHIBITIONS; PENALTY.

Subdivision 1. Registration. An individual may register to vote:

(1)          at any time before the 20th day preceding any election as provided in section 201.061, subdivision 1;

(2)          on the day of an election as provided in section 201.061, subdivision 3; or

(3)          when submitting an absentee ballot, by enclosing a completed registration application as provided in section 203B.04, subdivision 4.

Subd. 2. Prohibitions; penalty.  No individual shall intentionally:

(1)          Cause or attempt to cause the individual’s name to be registered in any precinct if the individual is not eligible to vote;

(2)          Cause or attempt to cause the individual’s name to be registered for the purpose of voting in more than

one precinct;

(3)          Misrepresent the individual’s identity when attempting to register to vote; or

(4)          Aid, abet, counsel, or procure any other individual to violate this subdivision. A violation of this subdivision is a felony.

Subd. 3. Prohibited methods of compensation; penalty. (a) No individual may be compensated for the solicitation, collection, or acceptance of voter registration applications from voters for submission to the secretary of state, a county auditor, or other local election official in a manner in which payment is calculated by multiplying (1) either a set or variable payment rate, by (2) the number of voter registration applications solicited, collected, or accepted.

(b)          No individual may be deprived of compensation or have compensation automatically reduced exclusively for failure to solicit, collect, or accept a minimum number of voter registration applications, and no individual may receive additional compensation for reaching or exceeding a minimum number of voter registration applications.

(c)           A person who violates this subdivision is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

History: 1981 c 29 art 2 s 6; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 361 s 3; 1990 c 585 s 4; 1999 c 132 s 5; 2008 c 244 art 1 s 2; 2008

c 244 art 2 s 2

NOTES AND DECISIONS 201.054

Conclusory allegations of registered voters and organizations representing registered voters, that various Minnesota state and county officials responsible for election administration or enforcement of election laws had taken insufficient steps to ensure that election day registrants were eligible to vote and that defendants violated the rights of eligible voters by diluting their votes with the votes of ineligible EDRs, were insufficient to state claims for violations of the First, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and the Minnesota Constitution, in the absence of allegations that defendants had denied the right of citizens to vote for reasons of race, or fraudulent interference with a free election by stuffing of the ballot box, or other unlawful conduct which interfered with the right to vote or other constitutionally protected right. Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Ritchie, 890 F. Supp. 2d 1106 (D. Minn. 2012).

201.056 SIGNATURE OF REGISTERED VOTER; MARKS ALLOWED.

An individual who is unable to write the individual’s name shall be required to sign a registration application in the manner provided by section 645.44, subdivision 14. If the individual registers in person and signs by making a mark, the clerk or election judge accepting the registration shall certify the mark by signing the individual’s name. If the individual registers by mail and signs by making a mark, the mark shall be certified by having a voter registered in the individual’s precinct sign the individual’s name and the voter’s own name and

give the voter’s own address.

History: 1981 c 29 art 2 s 7; 1986 c 444; 2008 c 244 art 1 s 3

201.061 REGISTRATION ON OR BEFORE ELECTION DAY.

Subdivision 1. Prior to election day. (a) At any time except during the 20 days immediately preceding any regularly scheduled election, an eligible voter or any individual who will be an eligible voter at the time of the next election may register to vote in the precinct in which the voter maintains residence by completing a voter registration application as described in section 201.071, subdivision 1. A completed application may be submitted:

(1)          in person or by mail to the county auditor of that county or to the Secretary of State's Office; or

(2)          electronically through a secure Web site that shall be maintained by the secretary of state for this purpose, if the applicant has an e-mail address and provides the applicant’s verifiable Minnesota driver’s license number, Minnesota state identification card number, or the last four digits of the applicant’s Social Security number.

A registration that is received in person or by mail no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 21st day preceding any election, or a registration received electronically through the secretary of state’s secure Web site no later than 11:59 p.m. on the 21st day preceding any election, shall be accepted. An improperly addressed or delivered registration application shall be forwarded within two working days after receipt to the county auditor of the county where the voter maintains residence. A state or local agency or an individual that accepts completed voter registration applications from a voter must submit the completed applications to the secretary of state or the appropriate county auditor within ten calendar days after the applications are dated by the voter.

(b)          An application submitted electronically under paragraph (a), clause (2), may only be transmitted to the county auditor for processing if the secretary of state has verified the application information matches the information in a government database associated with the applicant’s driver’s license number, state identification card number, or Social Security number. The secretary of state must review all unverifiable voter registration applications submitted electronically for evidence of suspicious activity and must forward any such application to an appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation.

An individual may not electronically submit a voter registration application on behalf of any other individual.

(c)           For purposes of this section, mail registration is defined as a voter registration application delivered to the secretary of state, county auditor, or municipal clerk by the United States Postal Service or a commercial carrier.

Subd. 1a. Incomplete registration by mail. If the county auditor determines that a voter who has submitted a voter registration application by mail has not previously voted in this state for a federal office and has also not presented a document authorized for election day registration in section 201.061, subdivision 3, to the auditor, and the county auditor is unable to verify the voter's driver's license, state identification, or last four digits of the voter's Social Security number as provided by the voter on the voter registration application, then the county auditor must notify the voter that the registration is incomplete and to complete registration by using one of the following methods:

(1)          presenting to the auditor more than 20 days before the election a document authorized for election day registration in section 201.061, subdivision 3;

(2)          registering in person before or on election day;

(3)          if voting by absentee ballot or by mail, following election day registration procedures for absentee voters as described in section 203B.04, subdivision 4; or

(4)          providing proof of residence by any of the methods authorized for election day registration in section 201.061, subdivision 3.

Subd. 3. Election day registration. (a) An individual who is eligible to vote may register on election day by appearing in person at the polling place for the precinct in which the individual maintains residence, by completing a registration application, making an oath in the form prescribed by the secretary of state and providing proof of residence. An individual may prove residence for purposes of registering by:

(1)          presenting a driver's license or Minnesota identification card issued pursuant to section 171.07;

(2)          presenting any document approved by the secretary of state as proper identification;

(3)          presenting one of the following:

(i)            a current valid student identification card from a postsecondary educational institution in Minnesota, if a list of students from that institution has been prepared under section 135A.17 and certified to the county auditor in the manner provided in rules of the secretary of state; or

(ii)           a current student fee statement that contains the student's valid address in the precinct together with a picture identification card; or

(4)          having a voter who is registered to vote in the precinct, or an employee employed by and working in a residential facility in the precinct and vouching for a resident in the facility, sign an oath in the presence of the election judge vouching that the voter or employee personally knows that the individual is a resident of the precinct. A voter who has been vouched for on election day may not sign a proof of residence oath vouching for any other individual on that election day. A voter who is registered to vote in the precinct may sign up to eight proof-of-residence oaths on any election day. This limitation does not apply to an employee of a residential facility described in this clause. The secretary of state shall provide a form for election judges to use in recording the number of individuals for whom a voter signs proof-of-residence oaths on election day. The form must include space for the maximum number of individuals for whom a voter may sign proof-of-residence oaths. For each proof-of-residence oath, the form must include a statement that the individual: (i) is registered to vote in the

precinct or is an employee of a residential facility in the precinct, (ii) personally knows that the voter is a resident of the precinct, and (iii) is making the statement on oath. The form must include a space for the voter's printed name, signature, telephone number, and address.

(b)          The operator of a residential facility shall prepare a list of the names of its employees currently working in the residential facility and the address of the residential facility. The operator shall certify the list and provide it to the appropriate county auditor no less than 20 days before each election for use in election day registration.

(c)           "Residential facility" means transitional housing as defined in section 119A.43, subdivision 1; a supervised living facility licensed by the commissioner of health under section 144.50, subdivision 6; a nursing home as defined in section 144A.01, subdivision 5; a residence registered with the commissioner of health as a housing with services establishment as defined in section 144D.01, subdivision 4; a veterans home operated by the board of directors of the Minnesota Veterans Homes under chapter 198; a residence licensed by the commissioner of human services to provide a residential program as defined in section 245A.02, subdivision 14; a residential facility for persons with a developmental disability licensed by the commissioner of human services under section 252.28; setting authorized to provide housing support as defined in section 256I.03, subdivision 3; a shelter for battered women as defined in section 611A.37, subdivision 4; or a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter or dwelling designed to provide temporary living accommodations for the homeless.

(d)          For tribal band members, an individual may prove residence for purposes of registering by:

(1)          presenting an identification card issued by the tribal government of a tribe recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, United States Department of the Interior, that contains the name, address, signature, and picture of the individual; or

(2)          presenting an identification card issued by the tribal government of a tribe recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, United States Department of the Interior, that contains the name, signature, and picture of the individual and also presenting one of the documents listed in Minnesota Rules, part 8200.5100, subpart 2, item B.

(e)          A county, school district, or municipality may require that an election judge responsible for election day registration initial each completed registration application.

Subd. 4. Registration by election judges; procedures. Registration at the polling place on election day shall be conducted by the election judges. Before registering an individual to vote at the polling place, the election judge must review any  list of absentee election day registrants provided by the county auditor or municipal clerk to see if the person has already voted by absentee ballot. If the person’s name appears on the list, the election judge must not allow the individual to register or to vote in the polling place. The election judge who registers an individual at the polling place on election day shall not handle that voter’s ballots at any time prior to the opening of the ballot box after the voting ends. Registration applications and forms for oaths shall be available at each polling place. If an individual who registers on election day proves residence by oath of a

registered voter, the form containing the oath shall be attached to the individual’s registration application. Registration applications completed on election day shall be forwarded to the county auditor who shall add the name of each voter to the registration system unless the information forwarded is substantially deficient. A county auditor who finds an election day registration substantially deficient shall give written notice to the individual whose registration is found deficient. An election day registration shall not be found deficient solely because the individual who provided proof of residence was ineligible to do so.

Subd. 5. Unregistered voters; penalty. No election judge in any precinct in which registration is required may receive the vote at any election of any individual whose name is not registered in a manner specified in section 201.054, subdivision 1 or not recorded under section 203B.19. A violation of this subdivision is a felony.

Subd. 6. Precinct map. Except as otherwise provided by this subdivision, the county auditor shall provide each precinct with an accurate precinct map or precinct finder to assist the election judges in determining whether an address is located in that precinct. A county auditor may delegate this responsibility as provided in section 201.221, subdivision 4, to a municipal or school district clerk who prepares precinct maps as provided in section 204B.14, subdivision 5.

Subd. 7. Record of attempted registrations. The election judge responsible for election day registration shall attempt to keep a record of the number of individuals who attempt to register on election day but who cannot provide proof of residence as required by this section. The record shall be forwarded to the county auditor with the election returns for that precinct.

Subd. 8. Web site security. (a) The secretary of state shall maintain a log of each Internet Protocol address used to submit a voter registration application electronically under subdivision 1, paragraph (a), clause (2), and must monitor the log, volume of Web site use, and other appropriate indicators for suspicious activity. Evidence of suspicious activity that cannot be resolved by the secretary of state must be forwarded to an appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation.

(b)          The electronic registration system must be secure. The Web site shall maintain the confidentiality of all users and preserve the integrity of the data submitted. The secretary of state shall employ security measures to ensure the accuracy and integrity of voter registration applications submitted electronically pursuant to this section. All data sent and received through the Web site must be encrypted.

(c)           The secretary of state must provide ongoing testing and monitoring to ensure continued security. The secretary of state must work with the chief information officer as defined in section 16E.01, subdivision 1, or another security expert to annually assess the security of the system. The security assessment must include a certification signed by the secretary of state that states that adequate security measures are in place. The certification must also be signed by the chief information officer or another security expert affirming that the assessment is accurate. The secretary of state must submit the security assessment to the legislative auditor and to the chairs and ranking minority members of the committees in the senate and house of representatives with primary jurisdiction over elections by January 1 of each year, except that the first annual security assessment must be submitted by September 30, 2014, and no report is required for January 1, 2015.

(d)          In developing the electronic voter registration system, the secretary of state must consult with the chief information officer or the chief’s designee to ensure the site is secure.

History: 1973 c 676 s 4; 1974 c 583 s 1,2; 1977 c 395 s 1,2; 1978 c 714 s 1,30; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 8; 1981 c 217 s 3;

2Sp1981 c 2 s 1; 1983 c 253 s 1; 1984 c 560 s 3; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 6,7; 1987 c 361 s 4; 1990 c 585 s 5;

1991 c 227 s 4; 1997 c 147 s 2; 2000 c 467 s 5; 2002 c 394 s 1; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 3-5; 2005 c 98 art 1 s 24; 2005 c

156 art 6 s 15; 2006 c 242 s 13 & 14; 2008 c 244 art 1 s 4; 2008 c 244 art 2 s 3; 2010 c 194 s 1; 2010 c 201 s 2; 2013

c 131 art 2 s 7; 2014 c 185 s 2 & 3; 2014 c 264 s 3 & 4; 1Sp2017 c 6 art 2 s 39

NOTES AND DECISIONS 201.061

Conclusory allegations of registered voters and organizations representing registered voters, that various Minnesota state and county officials responsible for election administration or enforcement of election laws had taken insufficient steps to ensure that election day registrants were eligible to vote and that defendants violated the rights of eligible voters by diluting their votes with the votes of ineligible persons, were insufficient to state claims for violations of the First, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and the Minnesota Constitution, in the absence of allegations that defendants had denied the right of citizens to vote for reasons of race, or fraudulent interference with a free election by stuffing of the ballot box, or other unlawful conduct which interfered with the right to vote or other constitutionally protected right. Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Ritchie, 890 F. Supp. 2d 1106 (D. Minn. 2012).

201.071 REGISTRATION APPLICATIONS.

Subdivision 1. Form. Both paper and electronic voter registration applications must contain the same information unless otherwise provided by law. A voter registration application must contain spaces for the following required information: voter's first name, middle name, and last name; voter's previous name, if any; voter's current address; voter's previous address, if any; voter's date of birth; voter's municipality and county of residence; voter's telephone number, if provided by the voter; date of registration; current and valid Minnesota driver's license number or Minnesota state identification number, or if the voter has no current and valid Minnesota driver's license or Minnesota state identification, the last four digits of the voter's Social Security number; and voter's signature. The paper registration application may include the voter's e-mail address, if provided by the voter. The electronic voter registration application must include the voter’s e-mail address. The registration application may include the voter's interest in serving as an election judge, if indicated by the voter. The application must also contain the following certification of voter eligibility:

"I certify that I:

(1)          will be at least 18 years old on election day;

(2)          am a citizen of the United States;

(3)          will have resided in Minnesota for 20 days immediately preceding election day;

(4)          maintain residence at the address given on the registration form;

(5)          am not under court-ordered guardianship in which the court order revokes my right to vote;

(6)          have not been found by a court to be legally incompetent to vote;

(7)          have the right to vote because, if I have been convicted of a felony, my felony sentence has expired (been completed) or I have been discharged from my sentence; and

(8)          have read and understand the following statement: that giving false information is a felony punishable by not more than five years imprisonment or a fine of not more than $10,000, or both."

The certification must include boxes for the voter to respond to the following questions: "(1) Are you a citizen of the United States?" and

"(2) Will you be 18 years old on or before election day?"

And the instruction:

"If you checked 'no' to either of these questions, do not complete this form."

The form of the voter registration application and the certification of voter eligibility must be as provided in this subdivision and approved by the secretary of state. Voter registration forms authorized by the National Voter Registration Act must also be accepted as valid. The federal postcard application form must also be accepted as valid if it is not deficient and the voter is eligible to register in Minnesota.

Subd. 2. Instructions. A registration application shall be accompanied by instructions specifying the manner and method of registration, the qualifications for voting, the penalties for false registration, and the availability of registration and voting assistance for elderly and handicapped individuals and residents of health care facilities and hospitals. The instructions must indicate that if the voter does not have a valid Minnesota driver's license or identification card, the last four digits of the voter's Social Security number must be provided, unless the voter does not have a Social Security number. If, prior to election day, a person requests the instructions in Braille, audio format, or in a version printed in 16-point bold type with 24-point leading, the county auditor shall provide them in the form requested. The secretary of state shall prepare Braille and audio copies and make them available.

Subd. 3. Deficient registration. No voter registration application is deficient if it contains the voter's name, address, date of birth, current and valid Minnesota driver's license number or Minnesota state identification number, or if the voter has no current and valid Minnesota driver's license or Minnesota state identification number, the last four digits of the voter's Social Security number, if the voter has been issued a Social Security number, prior registration, if any, and signature. The absence of a zip code number does not cause the registration to be deficient. Failure to check a box on an application form that a voter has certified to be true does not cause the registration to be deficient. The election judges shall request an individual to correct a voter registration application if it is deficient or illegible. No eligible voter may be prevented from voting unless the voter's registration application is deficient or the voter is duly and successfully challenged in accordance with section

201.195 or 204C.12.

A voter registration application 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 voter registration application 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 registration deficient.

A voter registration application accepted before January 1, 2004, is not deficient for lack of a valid Minnesota driver's license or state identification number or the last four digits of a Social Security number. A voter registration application submitted by a voter who does not have a Minnesota driver's license or state identification number, or a Social Security number, is not deficient for lack of any of these numbers.

A voter registration application submitted electronically through the Web site of the secretary of state prior to the effective date of this section is not invalid as a result of its electronic submission.

Subd. 4. Change of registration. A county auditor who receives a registration application indicating that an individual was previously registered in a different county in Minnesota shall update the voter’s record electronically through the statewide registration system in the manner prescribed by the secretary of state. A county auditor who receives a registration application or notification requiring a change of registration records under this subdivision as a result of an election day registration shall also check the statewide registration system to determine whether the individual voted in more than one precinct in the most recent election.

Subd. 8. School district assistance. School districts shall assist county auditors in determining the school district in which a voter resides.

History: 1973 c 676 s 5; 1974 c 583 s 3,4; 1977 c 395 s 3; 1978 c 714 s 2,30; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 9; 1981 c 92 s 1;

1983 c 124 s 1-3; 1983 c 303 s 1; 1984 c 471 s 1; 1984 c 628 art 3 s 11; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 175 s 1; 1987 c 266 art

1 s 8,9; 1987 c 361 s 5; 1988 c 646 s 3; 1990 c 453 s 1; 1990 c 585 s 6,7; 1993 c 223 s 1; 1997 c 147 s 3; 2004 c

293 art 1 s 6-8; 2005 c 10 art 4 s 4; 2005 c 56 s 1; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 16; 2008 c 244 art 2 s 4; 2008 c 244 art 2 s 5;

2013 c 131 art 2 s 8; 2014 c 185 s 4 & 5; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 8

NOTES AND DECISIONS 201.071

Conclusory allegations of registered voters and organizations representing registered voters, that various Minnesota state and county officials responsible for election administration or enforcement of election laws had taken insufficient steps to ensure that election day registrants were eligible to vote and that defendants violated the rights of eligible voters by diluting their votes with the votes of ineligible persons, were insufficient to state claims for violations of the First, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and the Minnesota Constitution, in the absence of allegations that defendants had denied the right of citizens to vote for reasons of race, or fraudulent interference with a free election by stuffing of the ballot box, or other unlawful conduct which interfered with the right to vote or other constitutionally protected right. Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Ritchie, 890 F. Supp. 2d 1106 (D. Minn. 2012).

VOTER REGISTRATION RECORDS; ACCESS AND RETENTION

201.081 REGISTRATION FILES.

Subdivision 1. Statewide registration system. (a) The statewide registration system is the official record of registered voters. The voter registration applications and the terminal providing access to the statewide registration system must be under the control of the county auditor or the public official to whom the county auditor has delegated the responsibility for maintaining voter registration records. The voter registration applications and terminals providing access to the statewide registration system must not be removed from the control of the county auditor except as provided in this section. The county auditor may make photographic copies of voter registration applications in the manner provided by section 138.17.

(b)          A properly completed voter registration application that has been submitted electronically or in paper form to the secretary of state or a county auditor must be maintained by the secretary of state or the county auditor for at least 22 months after the date that the information on the application is entered into the database of the statewide registration system. The secretary of state or the county auditor may dispose of the applications after retention for 22 months in the manner provided by section 138.17.

(c)           Data contained on a voter registration application submitted electronically through the secure Web site established in section 201.061, subdivision 1, must be maintained in its original form, in a manner suitable for printing, for the period required by this section. The Internet Protocol address used to submit an application electronically must be maintained with the voter registration application data.

Subd. 2. Exception. The secretary of state may maintain voter records of participants of the Safe at Home program for the purposes of chapter 5B.

History: 1973 c 676 s 6; 1976 c 223 s 4; 1978 c 714 s 30; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 10; 1987 c 361 s 6; 1990 c 585 s 8; 1993

c 223 s 2; 1997 c 147 s 4; 2008 c 244 art 2 s 6; 2009 c 86 a 1 s 29; 2014 c 185 s 6; 2014 c 264 s 5

201.091 REGISTERED VOTER LISTS; REPORTS; REGISTRATION PLACES.

Subdivision 1. Master list. Each county auditor shall prepare and maintain a current list of registered voters in each precinct in the county which is known as the master list. The master list must be created by entering each completed voter registration application received by the county auditor into the statewide registration system. It must show the name, residence address, and date of birth of each voter registered in the precinct. The information contained in the master list may only be made available to public officials for purposes related to election administration, jury selection, and in response to a law enforcement inquiry concerning a violation of or failure to comply with any criminal statute or state or local tax statute.

Subd. 2. Corrected list. By February 15 of each year, the secretary of state shall prepare the master list for each county auditor. The records in the statewide registration system must be periodically corrected and updated by the county auditor. An updated master list for each precinct must be available for absentee voting at least 46 days before each election. A final corrected master list must be available seven days before each election.

Subd. 4. Public information lists. The county auditor shall make available for inspection a public information list which must contain the name, address, year of birth, and voting history of each registered voter in the county. The list must not include the party choice of any voter who voted in a presidential nomination primary. The telephone number must be included on the list if provided by the voter. The public information list may also include information on voting districts. The county auditor may adopt reasonable rules governing access to the list. No individual inspecting the public information list shall tamper with or alter it in any manner. No individual who inspects the public information list or who acquires a list of registered voters prepared from the public information list may use any information contained in the list for purposes unrelated to elections, political activities, or law enforcement. The secretary of state may provide copies of the public information lists and other information from the statewide registration system for uses related to elections, political activities, or in response to a law enforcement inquiry from a public official concerning a failure to comply with any criminal statute or any state or local tax statute.

Before inspecting the public information list or obtaining a list of voters or other information from the list, the individual shall provide identification to the public official having custody of the public information list and shall state in writing that any information obtained from the list will not be used for purposes unrelated to elections, political activities, or law enforcement. Requests to examine or obtain information from the public information lists or the statewide registration system must be made and processed in the manner provided in the rules of the secretary of state.

Upon receipt of a statement signed by the voter that withholding the voter’s name from the public information list is required for the safety of the voter or the voter’s family, the secretary of state and county auditor must withhold from the public information list the name of a registered voter.

Subd. 4a. Presidential primary political party list. The secretary of state must maintain a list of the voters who voted in a presidential nomination primary and the political party each voter selected. Information maintained on the list is private data on individuals as defined under section 13.02, subdivision 12, except that the secretary of state must provide the list to the chair of each major political party.

Subd. 5. Copy of list to registered voter. The county auditors and the secretary of state shall provide copies of the public information lists in electronic or other media to any voter registered in Minnesota within ten days of receiving a written or electronic request accompanied by payment of the cost of reproduction. The county auditors and the secretary of state shall make a copy of the list available for public inspection without cost. An individual who inspects or acquires a copy of a public information list may not use any information contained in it for purposes unrelated to elections, political activities, or law enforcement.

Subd. 8. Registration places. Each county auditor shall designate a number of public buildings in those political subdivisions of the county where pre-registration of voters is allowed as provided in section 201.061, subdivision 1, where eligible voters may register to vote.

An adequate supply of registration applications and instructions must be maintained at each designated location, and a designated individual must be available there to accept registration applications and transmit them to the county auditor.

A person who, because of handicap, needs assistance in order to determine eligibility or to register must be assisted by a designated individual. Assistance includes but is not limited to reading the registration form and instructions and filling out the registration form as directed by the eligible voter.

Subd. 9. Restricted data. A list provided for public inspection or purchase, for jury selection, or in response to a law enforcement inquiry, must not include a voter's date of birth or any part of a voter's Social Security number, driver's license number, or identification card number, military identification card number, or passport number.

History: 1973 c 676 s 7; 1974 c 55 s 1; 1976 c 223 s 1-3; 1977 c 96 s 1; 1977 c 395 s 4-6; 1978 c 714 s 30; 1981 c

29 art 2 s 11; 1984 c 471 s 2; 1985 c 31 s 1; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 175 s 2; 1988 c 646 s 4,5; 1990 c 585 s 9; 1991 c

227 s 5,6; 1991 c 349 s 28; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 9-11; 2008 c 190 s 1; 2012 c 208 s 1; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 9; 2014 c 264

s 6; 2016 c 162 s 1; 2019 1st special session c 10 art 4 s 1 & 2

NOTES AND DECISIONS 201.091

Statute restricts access to data contained in statewide voter registration system; access is limited to public information lists and to information provided by secretary of state. Secretary of state was not required to disclose voter status, reasons for challenges to voter registration, or information related to individuals who were not currently registered voters. Cilek v. Office of Minn. Sec’y of State, 941 N.W.2d 411 (Minn. 2020).

Statute restricts access to registered voter list, which includes all information that makes up list. Cilek v. Office of the Minn. Sec’y of State, 941 N.W.2d 411 (Minn. 2020).

“Voter history” as used in election statutes, means whether and when a registered voter has voted in the past; it does not include voter status or the reasons for challenges to voter registration. Cilek v. Office of the Minn. Sec’y of State, 941 N.W.2d 411 (Minn. 2020).

Under Minnesota law, voters’ e-mail addresses were not part of the public information list containing the name and registration information of every legally registered voter, and thus, unsuccessful third-party candidate for the United States House of Representatives did not have a property interest protected by the Due Process Clause in obtaining the e-mail addresses; refusal of Minnesota Secretary of State and agency official to provide e-mail addresses to candidate, who purchased public information list with the name and registration information of every legally registered voter in the congressional district, also did not violate candidate’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association. Carlson v. Ritchie, 960 F.Supp.2d 943 (D. Minn. 2013), aff’d 573 Fed.Appx. 608 (8th Cir. 2014).

201.96   SCHOOL ELECTIONS; USE OF VOTER REGISTRATION SYSTEM.

The county auditor shall allow independent or special school districts to use the necessary portions of the statewide registration system for school district elections. The county auditor may impose reasonable requirements to preserve the security and integrity of the system. The county auditor and the school district shall provide by agreement for the details of the use of the system by the school district. The school board may designate a member of the board or an employee as registration officer. The provisions of this chapter and chapter 203B relating to registration of voters apply to school district elections in which the statewide registration system is used.

History: 1990 c 585 s 10

201.11   PRECINCT BOUNDARIES; HOUSE NUMBER; STREET ADDRESS CHANGED, CHANGE OF FILES.

Subdivision 1. Precinct boundaries changed. When the boundaries of a precinct are changed, the county auditor shall immediately update the voter records for that precinct in the statewide voter registration system to accurately reflect those changes.

Subd. 2. House number or street address changed. If a municipality administratively changes the number or name of a street address of an existing residence, the municipal clerk shall promptly notify the county auditor and the county auditor shall immediately update the voter records of registered voters in the statewide voter registration system to accurately reflect that change. A municipality must not make a change to the number or name of a street address of an existing residence effective during the 45 days prior to any election in a jurisdiction which includes the affected residence.

History: 1959 c 675 art 2 s 11; 1973 c 676 s 8; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 13; 1993 c 223 s 3; 2010 c 201 s 3

201.12   PROPER REGISTRATION, VERIFICATION BY MAIL; CHALLENGES.

Subdivision 1. Notice of registration. To prevent fraudulent voting and to eliminate excess names, the

county auditor may mail to any registered voter a notice stating the voter’s name and address as they appear in the registration files. The notice shall request the voter to notify the county auditor if there is any mistake in the information.

Subd. 2. Moved within state. If any nonforwardable mailing from an election official is returned as

undeliverable but with a permanent forwarding address in this state, the county auditor may change the voter’s status to “inactive” in the statewide registration system and shall transmit a copy of the mailing to the auditor of the county in which the new address is located. If an election is scheduled to occur in the precinct in which the voter resides in the next 47 days, the county auditor shall promptly update the voter’s address in the statewide voter registration system. If there is not an election scheduled, the auditor may wait to update the voter’s address until after the next list of address changes is received from the secretary of state. Once updated, the

county auditor shall mail to the voter a notice stating the voter’s name, address, precinct, and polling place,

except that if the voter’s record is challenged due to a felony conviction, noncitizenship, name change,

incompetence, or a court’s revocation of voting rights of individuals under guardianship, the auditor must not mail the notice. The notice must advise the voter that the voter’s voting address has been changed and that the voter must notify the county auditor within 21 days if the new address is not the voter’s address of residence.

The notice must state that it must be returned if it is not deliverable to the voter at the named address.

Subd. 3. Moved out of state. If any nonforwardable mailing from an election official is returned as undeliverable but with a permanent forwarding address outside this state, the county auditor shall promptly mail to the voter at the voter’s new address a notice advising the voter that the voter’s status in the statewide voter registration system will be changed to “inactive” unless the voter notifies the county auditor within 21 days that the voter is retaining the former address as the voter’s address of residence. If the voter’s record is challenged due to a felony conviction, lack of United States citizenship, legal incompetence, or court-ordered revocation of voting rights of persons under guardianship, the county auditor must not mail this notice. If the notice is not received by the deadline, the county auditor shall change the voter’s status to “inactive” in the statewide voter registration system.

Subd. 4. Challenges. If any nonforwardable mailing from an election official is returned as undeliverable but with no forwarding address, the county auditor shall change the registrant’s status to “challenged” in the statewide voter registration system. An individual challenged in accordance with this subdivision shall comply with the provisions of section 204C.12, before being allowed to vote. If a notice mailed at least 60 days after the return of the first nonforwardable mailing is also returned by the postal service, the county auditor shall change the registrant’s status to “inactive” in the statewide voter registration system.

History: 1959 c 675 art 2 s 12; 1973 c 676 s 9; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 14; 1986 c 444; 1986 c 475 s 3; 1990 c 585 s 11;

1997 c 147 s 5; 1999 c 132 s 6; 2008 c 165 s 1; 2010 c 201 s 4; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 10

201.121 ENTRY OF NAMES; MAILED NOTICE.

Subdivision 1. Entry of registration information. (a) At the time a voter registration application is properly completed, submitted, and received in accordance with sections 201.061 and 201.071, the county auditor shall enter the information contained on it into the statewide registration system. Voter registration applications completed before election day must be entered into the statewide registration system within ten days after they have been submitted to the county auditor. Voter registration applications completed on election day must be entered into the statewide registration system within 42 days after the election, unless the county auditor notifies the secretary of state before the deadline has expired that the deadline will not be met. Upon receipt of a notification under this paragraph, the secretary of state must extend the deadline for that county auditor by an additional 28 days. The secretary of state may waive a county’s obligations under this paragraph if, on good cause shown, the county demonstrates its permanent inability to comply.

The secretary of state must post data on each county’s compliance with this paragraph on the secretary of state’s Web site including, as applicable, the date each county fully complied or the deadline by which a county’s compliance must be complete.

(b)          Upon receiving a completed voter registration application, the secretary of state may electronically transmit the information on the application to the appropriate county auditor as soon as possible for review by the county auditor before final entry into the statewide registration system. The secretary of state may mail the voter registration application to the county auditor.

(c)           Within ten days after the county auditor has entered information from a voter registration application into the statewide registration system, the secretary of state shall compare the voter's name, date of birth, and driver's license number, state identification number, or the last four digits of the Social Security number with the same information contained in the Department of Public Safety database.

(d)          The secretary of state shall provide a report to the county auditor on a weekly basis that includes a list of voters whose name, date of birth, or identification number have been compared with the same information in the Department of Public Safety database and cannot be verified as provided in this subdivision. The report must list separately those voters who have submitted a voter registration application by mail and have not voted in a federal election in this state.

(e)          The county auditor shall compile a list of voters for whom the county auditor and the secretary of state are unable to conclude that information on the voter registration application and the corresponding information in the Department of Public Safety database relate to the same person.

(f)           The county auditor shall send a notice of incomplete registration to any voter whose name appears on the list and change the voter's status to "incomplete." A voter who receives a notice of incomplete registration from the county auditor may either provide the information required to complete the registration at least 21 days before the next election or at the polling place on election day.

Subd. 2. Notice of registration; challenges. The county auditor shall mail a notice indicating the

individual’s name, address, precinct and polling place to each registered voter. The notice shall indicate that it must be returned if it is not deliverable to the voter at the named address. Upon return of the notice by the postal service, the county auditor shall change the registrant’s status to “challenged” in the statewide registration system. An individual challenged in accordance with this subdivision shall comply with the provisions of section 204C.12, before being allowed to vote.

Subd. 3. Postelection sampling. (a) Within ten days after an election, the county auditor shall send the notice required by subdivision 2 to a random sampling of the individuals registered on election day. The random sampling shall be determined in accordance with the rules of the secretary of state. As soon as practicable after the election, the county auditor shall mail the notice required by subdivision 2 to all other individuals registered on election day. If a notice is returned as not deliverable, the county auditor shall attempt to determine the reason for the return. A county auditor who does not receive or obtain satisfactory proof of an individual’s eligibility to vote shall immediately notify the county attorney of all of the relevant information. The county auditor must notify the secretary of state of the following information by each precinct:

(1)          the total number of all notices that were returned as nondeliverable;

(2)          the total number of nondeliverable notices that the county auditor was able to determine the reason for the return along with the reason for each return; and

(3)          the total number of individuals for whom the county auditor does not receive or obtain satisfactory proof of an individual's eligibility to vote.

(b)          By March 1 of every odd-numbered year, the secretary of state shall report to the chair and ranking minority members of the legislative committees with jurisdiction over elections the following information by each precinct and each county:

(1)          the total number of all notices that were returned as nondeliverable;

(2)          the total number of nondeliverable notices that a county auditor was able to determine the reason for the return along with the reason for each return; and

(3)          the total number of individuals for whom the county auditor does not receive or obtain satisfactory proof of an individual's eligibility to vote.

History: 1973 c 676 s 10; 1978 c 714 s 3,30; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 15; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 361 s 7; 1990 c 585 s 12,13;

1997 c 147 s 6; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 12; 2010 c 201 s 5; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 10, 11

201.13   REPORT OF DECEASED VOTERS; CHANGES TO VOTER RECORDS.

Subdivision 1. Commissioner of health, reports of deceased residents. Pursuant to the Help America Vote Act of 2002, Public Law 107-252, the commissioner of health shall report monthly by electronic means to the secretary of state the name, address, date of birth, and county of residence of each individual 18 years of age or older who has died while maintaining residence in Minnesota since the last previous report. The secretary of state shall determine if any of the persons listed in the report are registered to vote and shall prepare a list of those registrants for each county auditor. Within 60 days after receiving the list from the secretary of state, the county auditor shall change the status of those registrants to "deceased" in the statewide voter registration system.

Subd. 1a. Social Security Administration; other reports of deceased residents. The secretary of state may determine if any of the persons listed on the Social Security Death Index or reported as deceased by the vital records department of another state are registered to vote and prepare a list of those registrants for each county auditor. The county auditor shall change the status of those registrants to “deceased” in the statewide voter registration system.

Subd. 2. Deceased nonresidents. After receiving notice of death of a voter who has died outside the county, the county auditor shall change the voter’s status to “deceased.” Notice must be in the form of a printed obituary or a written statement signed by a registered Minnesota voter.

Subd. 3. Use of change of address system. (a) At least once each month the secretary of state shall obtain a list of individuals registered to vote in this state who have filed with the United States Postal Service a change of their permanent address. The secretary of state may also periodically obtain a list of individuals with driver’s licenses or state identification cards to identify those who are registered to vote who have applied to the

Department of Public Safety for a replacement driver’s license or state identification card with a different address, and a list of individuals for whom the Department of Public Safety received notification of a driver’s

license or state identification card cancellation due to a change of residency out of state. However, the secretary of state shall not load data derived from these lists into the statewide voter registration system within the 47 days before the state primary or 47 days before a November general election.

(b)          If the address is changed to another address in this state, the secretary of state shall locate the precinct in which the voter resides, if possible. If the secretary of state is able to locate the precinct in which the voter resides, the secretary must transmit the information about the changed address by electronic means to the county auditor of the county in which the new address is located. For addresses for which the secretary of state is unable to determine the precinct, the secretary of state may forward information to the appropriate county auditors for individual review. If the voter has not voted or submitted a voter registration application since the address change, upon receipt of the information, the county auditor shall update the voter’s address in the statewide voter registration system. The county auditor shall mail to the voter a notice stating the voter’s name, address, precinct, and polling place, unless the voter’s record is challenged due to a felony conviction, noncitizenship, name change, incompetence, or a court’s revocation of voting rights of individuals under guardianship, in which case the auditor must not mail the notice. The notice must advise the voter that the

voter’s voting address has been changed and that the voter must notify the county auditor within 21 days if the new address is not the voter’s address of residence. The notice must state that it must be returned if it is not deliverable to the voter at the named address.

(c)           If the change of permanent address is to an address outside this state, the secretary of state shall notify by electronic means the auditor of the county where the voter formerly resided that the voter has moved to another state. If the voter has not voted or submitted a voter registration application since the address change, the county auditor shall promptly mail to the voter at the voter’s new address a notice advising the voter that

the voter’s status in the statewide voter registration system will be changed to “inactive” unless the voter notifies the county auditor within 21 days that the voter is retaining the former address as the voter’s address of residence, except that if the voter’s record is challenged due to a felony conviction, noncitizenship, name

change, incompetence, or a court’s revocation of voting rights of individuals under guardianship, the auditor must not mail the notice. If the notice is not received by the deadline, the county auditor shall change the voter’s status to “inactive” in the statewide voter registration system.

(d)          If, in order to maintain voter registration records, the secretary of state enters an agreement to share information or data with an organization governed exclusively by a group of states, the secretary must first determine that the data security protocols are sufficient to safeguard the information or data shared. If required by such an agreement, the secretary of state may share the following data from the statewide voter registration system and data released to the secretary of state under section 171.12, subdivision 7a:

(1)          name;

(2)          date of birth;

(3)          address;

(4)          driver’s license or state identification number;

(5)          the last four digits of an individual’s Social Security number; and

(6)          the date that an individual’s record was last updated.

If the secretary of state enters into such an agreement, the secretary and county auditors must process changes to voter records based upon the data in accordance with this section. Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, when data is shared with the secretary of state by another state, the secretary of state must maintain the same data classification that the data had while it was in the possession of the state providing data.

Subd. 4. Request for removal of voter record. If a voter makes a written request for removal of the voter’s

record, the county auditor shall inactivate the record of the voter in the statewide voter registration system.

History: 1959 c 675 art 2 s 13; 1973 c 676 s 11; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 16; 1987 c 361 s 8; 1989 c 7 s 1; 1991 c 227 s 7;

1993 c 101 s 1; 1993 c 223 s 4,5; 1994 c 465 art 3 s 63; 1997 c 147 s 7,8; 1999 c 132 s 7; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 13;

2008 c 165 s 2; 2010 c 201 s 6; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 11; 2014 c 238 s 2; 2014 c 264 s 7

201.14   COURT ADMINISTRATOR OF DISTRICT COURT; REPORT CHANGES OF NAMES.

The state court administrator shall regularly report by electronic means to the secretary of state the name, address, and, if available, driver’s license or state identification card number of each individual, 18 years of age or over, whose name was changed since the last report, by marriage, divorce or any order or decree of the court. The secretary of state shall determine if any of the persons in the report are registered to vote under their previous name and shall prepare a list of those registrants for each county auditor. Upon receipt of the list, the county auditor shall make the change in the voter’s record and mail to the voter the notice of registration required by section 201.121, subdivision 2. A notice must not be mailed if the voter’s record is challenged due to a felony conviction, lack of United States citizenship, legal incompetence, or court-ordered revocation of voting rights of persons under guardianship.

History: 1959 c 675 art 2 s 14; 1973 c 676 s 12; 1973 c 725 s 38; 1977 c 395 s 7; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 17; 1986 c 444;

1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82; 2010 c 201 s 7; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 12

201.145 REPORTS ON GUARDIANSHIPS, LEGAL INCOMPETENCE, FELONY CONVICTIONS, AND CITIZENSHIP; STATUS CHANGES.

Subdivision 1. Report requirements. Reports required by this section must be submitted to the secretary of state as provided in this section. Reports from the state court administrator that are required under this section must be made on a daily basis, excluding weekends and holidays. Reports from the commissioner of corrections and the commissioner of public safety that are required under this section must be made to the secretary of state at least monthly. Reports must be submitted by electronic means. Reports from the commissioner of corrections and the commissioner of public safety must include a complete list of each individual under the

reporting entity’s jurisdiction and must not provide only the changes since the last report.

Subd. 2. State court administrator report. (a) The state court administrator must report on individuals 17 years of age or older who are under a guardianship in which a court order revokes the ward’s right to vote or where the court has found the individual to be legally incompetent to vote.

(b)          The state court administrator must report on individuals transferred to the jurisdiction of the court who meet a condition specified in paragraph (a).

(c)           Each report required under this subdivision must include the following information for each individual in the report: name, address, date of birth, and, if available, last four digits of the Social Security number and

driver’s license or state identification card number.

(d)          No later than seven calendar days after receiving a report under this subdivision, the secretary of state must determine if a person identified under paragraphs (a) and (b) is registered to vote and must prepare a list of those registrants for the county auditor. No later than seven calendar days after receiving the list from the secretary of state, the county auditor must challenge the status on the record in the statewide voter registration system of each individual named in the list.

Subd. 3. Commissioner of corrections report; state court administrator report. (a) The state court administrator must report on individuals 17 years of age or older who have been convicted of a felony.

(b)          The commissioner of corrections must report on individuals 17 years of age or older who are currently:

(1)          serving felony sentences under the commissioner’s jurisdiction; or

(2)          on probation for felony offenses that resulted in the loss of civil rights, as indicated by the statewide supervision system established under section 241.065.

(c)           Each report under this subdivision must include the following information for each individual: name, address or last known residential address that is not a correctional facility, and date of birth. If available, each report must also include the individual’s: corrections’ state identification number, last four digits of the Social Security number, driver’s license or state identification card number, date of sentence, effective date of the sentence, county in which the conviction occurred, and date of discharge.

(d)          No later than seven calendar days after receiving a report under this subdivision, the secretary of state must determine if a person identified under paragraph (a) is registered to vote and must prepare a list of those registrants for the county auditor. No later than seven calendar days after receiving a report under this subdivision, the secretary of state must determine if any data newly indicates that a person identified under paragraph (b) is registered to vote and must prepare a list of those registrants for the county auditor. No later than seven calendar days after receiving the list from the secretary of state, the county auditor must challenge the status on the record in the statewide voter registration system of each individual named in the list.

(e)          The county auditor must identify an individual who registered to vote or voted while serving a felony sentence under the commissioner’s jurisdiction or while on probation for a felony offense that resulted in the loss of civil rights during a period when the individual’s civil rights were revoked. The county auditor must immediately send notice to the county attorney. The notice must include the name of the individual and any other identifying information as well as the evidence that shows the individual registered to vote or voted during the period when the individual’s civil rights were revoked.

Subd. 4. Reports; restoration of right to vote. (a) The state court administrator must report on each individual whose guardianship was modified to restore the ward’s right to vote or whose guardianship was terminated by order of the court under section 524.5-317 after being ineligible to vote for any of the reasons specified in subdivision 2, paragraph (a).

(b)          The state court administrator must report on individuals previously convicted of a felony whose civil rights have been restored.

(c)           The commissioner of corrections must report on individuals who were serving a felony sentence under the commissioner’s jurisdiction or who were on probation for a felony offense under the commissioner’s jurisdiction that resulted in the loss of civil rights but who have been discharged from the sentence.

(d)          Each report under this subdivision must include the following information for each individual: name, address, date of birth, and, if available, the last four digits of the Social Security number. For reports required by paragraphs (b) and (c), each report must also include the individual’s, if available: corrections’ state identification number, driver’s license or state identification card number, date of sentence, effective date of the sentence, county in which the conviction occurred, and date of discharge.

(e)          No later than seven calendar days after receiving a report under this subdivision, the secretary of state must determine if a person identified under paragraph (a) or (b) is registered to vote and must prepare a list of those registrants for the county auditor. No later than seven calendar days after receiving a report under this subdivision, the secretary of state must determine if any data newly indicates that a person identified under paragraph (c) is registered to vote and must prepare a list of those registrants for the county auditor. No later than seven calendar days after receiving the list from the secretary of state, the county auditor must remove the challenge status on the record in the statewide voter registration system of each individual named in the list.

Subd. 5. Commissioner of public safety report. (a) The commissioner of public safety must report on individuals identified by department data as having temporary lawful status in the United States.

(b)          The report under this section must include the following information for each individual: name,

address, date of birth, driver’s license or state identification card number, and, if available, last four digits of the Social Security number.

(c)           No later than seven calendar days after receiving a report under this subdivision, the secretary of state must determine if any data newly indicates that a person identified under paragraph (a) is registered to vote and prepare a list of those voters for the county auditor. Within seven calendar days of receiving the list from the secretary of state, the county auditor must challenge the status on the record in the statewide voter registration system of each individual named in the list.

(d)          The county auditor must also immediately send notice to the county attorney of each individual identified in paragraph (c). The notice must include the name of the individual and any other identifying information as well as the evidence that shows the individual registered to vote or voted and is not a citizen.

History: 2017 c 92 art 1 s 12

NOTES AND DECISIONS 201.15

201.161               DRIVER’S LICENSE AND IDENTIFICATION CARD APPLICATIONS.

The Department of Public Safety shall change its applications for an original, duplicate, or change of address driver's license or identification card so that the forms may also serve as voter registration applications. The forms must contain spaces for all information collected by voter registration applications prescribed by the secretary of state. Applicants for driver's licenses or identification cards must be asked if they want to register to vote at the same time and that information must be transmitted at least weekly by electronic means to the secretary of state. Pursuant to the Help America Vote Act of 2002, Public Law 107-252, the computerized driver's license record containing the voter's name, address, date of birth, driver's license number or state identification number, county, town, and city must be made available for access by the secretary of state and interaction with the statewide voter registration system.

History: 1977 c 395 s 8; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 19; 1987 c 361 s 10; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 16; art 2 s 9

201.1611 POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTION AND SCHOOL DISTRICT VOTER REGISTRATION.

Subdivision 1. Forms. All postsecondary institutions that enroll students accepting state or federal financial aid shall provide voter registration forms to each student as early as possible in the fall quarter. All school districts shall make available voter registration applications each May and September to all students registered as students of the school district who will be eligible to vote at the next election after those months. A school district has no obligation to provide voter registration applications to students who participate in a postsecondary education option program or who otherwise reside in the district but do not attend a school operated by the district. A school district fulfills its obligation to a student under this section if it provides a voter registration application to the student one time. The forms must contain spaces for the information required in section 201.071, subdivision 1, and applicable rules of the secretary of state. The institutions and school districts may request these forms from the secretary of state. Institutions shall consult with their campus student government in determining the most effective means of distributing the forms and in seeking to facilitate election day registration of students under section 201.061, subdivision 3. School districts must advise students that completion of the voter registration application is not a school district requirement.

Subd. 2. Student voter registration. A copy of each completed voter registration form must be sent to the county auditor of the county in which the voter maintains residence or to the secretary of state as soon as possible. All completed voter registration forms must be forwarded no later than 21 days before the general election.

History: 1991 c 227 s 8; 1996 c 398 s 57; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 10

201.1615 INFORMATION SHARING; USE OF SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.

The secretary of state shall enter into an agreement with the commissioner of public safety to match information in the statewide voter registration system with information in the Department of Public Safety database to verify the accuracy of the information provided on applications for voter registrations.

The commissioner of public safety shall enter into an agreement with the commissioner of the United States Social Security Administration under section 205(r)(8) of the Social Security Act to allow the use of the last four digits of the Social Security number to be used to verify voter registration information, to ensure the maintenance of the confidentiality of any applicable information disclosed, and to establish procedures to permit the department to use the information for purposes of maintaining its records.

History: 2004 c 293 art 1 s 17

201.162               DUTIES OF STATE AGENCIES.

The commissioner or chief administrative officer of each state agency or community-based public agency or nonprofit corporation that contracts with the state agency to carry out obligations of the state agency shall provide voter registration services for employees and the public. A person may complete a voter registration application or apply to change a voter registration name or address if the person has the proper qualifications on the date of application. Nonpartisan voter registration assistance, including routinely asking members of the public served by the agency whether they would like to register to vote and, if necessary, assisting them in preparing the registration forms must be part of the job of appropriate agency employees.

History: 1987 c 361 s 11

201.171 POSTING VOTING HISTORY; FAILURE TO VOTE; REGISTRATION REMOVED.

Within six weeks after every election, the county auditor shall post the voting history for every person who voted in the election. After the close of the calendar year, the secretary of state shall determine if any registrants have not voted during the preceding four years. The secretary of state shall perform list maintenance by changing the status of those registrants to "inactive" in the statewide registration system. The list maintenance performed must be conducted in a manner that ensures that the name of each registered voter appears in the official list of eligible voters in the statewide registration system. A voter must not be removed from the official list of eligible voters unless the voter is not eligible or is not registered to vote. List maintenance must include procedures for eliminating duplicate names from the official list of eligible voters.

The secretary of state shall also prepare a report to the county auditor containing the names of all registrants whose status was changed to "inactive."

Registrants whose status was changed to "inactive" must register in the manner specified in section 201.054 before voting in any primary, special primary, general, school district, or special election, as required by section 201.018.

Although not counted in an election, a late or rejected absentee or mail ballot must be considered a vote for the purpose of continuing registration under this section, but is not considered voting history for the purpose of public information lists available under section 201.091, subdivision 4.

History: 1973 c 676 s 14; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 20; 1987 c 361 s 12; 1990 c 585 s 14; 1997 c 147 s 11; 2004 c 293 art 1

s 18; art 2 s 11; 2008 c 244 art 1 s 5; 2010 c 201 s 13

201.195 CHALLENGES.

Subdivision 1. Petition; hearing. Upon petition filed with the county auditor, any voter registered within a county may challenge the eligibility or residence of any other voter registered within that county. The petition shall state the grounds for challenge and be accompanied by an affidavit stating that the challenge is based on

the challenger’s personal knowledge. Within five days after receipt of the petition, the county auditor shall set a date for a hearing on the challenge and notify the challenger by mail. A copy of the petition and notice of the hearing shall be served on the challenged voter by the county auditor in the same manner as in a civil action.

The hearing shall be held before the county auditor or the auditor’s designee who shall then make findings and

affirm or dismiss the challenge.

Subd. 2. Appeal. If a challenge is affirmed, the voter whose registration has been challenged may appeal the ruling to the secretary of state. The appeal shall be heard within five days but in any case before election day. Upon hearing the appeal the secretary of state shall affirm or reverse the ruling and shall give appropriate instructions to the county auditor.

Subd. 3. Hearing procedures. A hearing before the secretary of state shall be conducted as a contested case and determined in accordance with chapter 14.

MISCELLANEOUS

201.211 COSTS.

The office required to perform the functions and duties of this chapter shall bear the costs incurred. If these functions and duties are delegated to another office, that office shall bear the costs. The secretary of state shall pay the costs of operating and maintaining the statewide registration system. The secretary of state shall also pay the costs of preparing polling place rosters and master lists from the money appropriated for this purpose.

History: 1973 c 676 s 16; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 23; 1990 c 585 s 15

201.221 RULES.

Subdivision 1. Adoption of rules. To implement the provisions of this chapter, the secretary of state shall adopt rules consistent with federal and state election laws.

Subd. 2. Uniform procedures for counties. The secretary of state shall assist local election officers by devising uniform forms and procedures. The secretary of state shall provide uniform rules for maintaining voter registration records on the statewide registration system. The secretary of state shall supervise the development and use of the statewide registration system to insure that it conforms to applicable federal and state laws and rules.

Subd. 3. Procedures for polling place rosters. The secretary of state shall prescribe the form of paper polling place rosters that include the voter's name, address, date of birth, school district number, and space for the voter's signature. An electronic roster and the voter signature certificate together must include the same information as a paper polling place roster. The secretary of state may prescribe additional election-related information to be placed on the polling place rosters on an experimental basis for one state primary and general election cycle; the same information may not be placed on the polling place roster for a second state primary and general election cycle unless specified in this subdivision. The polling place roster must be used to indicate whether the voter has voted in a given election. The secretary of state shall prescribe procedures for transporting the polling place rosters to the election judges for use on election day. The secretary of state shall prescribe the form for a county or municipality to request the date of birth from currently registered voters. The county or municipality shall not request the date of birth from currently registered voters by any communication other than the prescribed form and the form must clearly indicate that a currently registered voter does not lose registration status by failing to provide the date of birth. In accordance with section 204B.40, the county auditor shall retain the prescribed polling place rosters used on the date of election for 22 months following the election.

Subd. 4. County rules. The county auditor of each county may adopt rules that delegate to the secretary of state or municipal officials in that county the duties assigned to county auditors by this chapter. Delegation of duties to the secretary of state requires the approval of the secretary of state. Delegation to a municipal official requires the approval of the governing body of the municipality. Delegation by the county auditor of the duty to accept registrations does not relieve the county auditor of the duty to accept registrations. Each delegation agreement must include a plan to allocate the costs of the duties to be delegated.

History: 1973 c 676 s 17; 1978 c 714 s 30; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 24; 1981 c 92 s 2; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 10;

1987 c 361 s 13,14; 1990 c 585 s 16; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 19,20; 2014 c 288 art 2 s 3

201.225 ELECTRONIC ROSTER AUTHORIZATION.

Subdivision 1. Authority. A county, municipality, or school district may use electronic rosters for any election. In a county, municipality, or school district that uses electronic rosters, the head elections official may designate that some or all of the precincts use electronic rosters. An electronic roster must comply with all of the requirements of this section. An electronic roster must include information required in section 201.221, subdivision 3, and any rules adopted pursuant to that section.

Subd. 2. Technology requirements. An electronic roster must:

(1)          be able to be loaded with a data file that includes voter registration data in a file format prescribed by the secretary of state;

(2)          allow for data to be exported in a file format prescribed by the secretary of state;

(3)          allow for data to be entered manually or by scanning a Minnesota driver's license or identification card to locate a voter record or populate a voter registration application that would be printed and signed and dated by the voter. The printed registration application can be either a printed form, labels printed with voter information to be affixed to a preprinted form, or a combination of both;

(4)          allow an election judge to update data that was populated from a scanned driver's license or identification card;

(5)          cue an election judge to ask for and input data that is not populated from a scanned driver's license or identification card that is otherwise required to be collected from the voter or an election judge;

(6)          immediately alert the election judge if the voter has provided information that indicates that the voter is not eligible to vote;

(7)          immediately alert the election judge if the electronic roster indicates that a voter has already voted in that precinct, the voter's registration status is challenged, or it appears the voter resides in a different precinct;

(8)          provide immediate instructions on how to resolve a particular type of challenge when a voter's record is challenged;

(9)          provide for a printed voter signature certificate, containing the voter's name, address of residence, date of birth, voter identification number, the oath required by section 204C.10, and a space for the voter's original signature. The printed voter signature certificate can be either a printed form or a label printed with the voter's information to be affixed to the oath;

(10)        contain only preregistered voters within the precinct, and not contain preregistered voter data on voters registered outside of the precinct;

(11)        be only networked within the polling location on election day, except for the purpose of updating absentee ballot records;

(12)        meet minimum security, reliability, and networking standards established by the Office of the Secretary of State in consultation with the Office of MN.IT Services;

(13)        be capable of providing a voter's correct polling place; and

(14)        perform any other functions necessary for the efficient and secure administration of the participating election, as determined by the secretary of state.

Electronic rosters used only for election day registration do not need to comply with clauses (1), (8), and (10). Electronic rosters used only for preregistered voter processing do not need to comply with clauses (4) and (5).

Subd. 3. Minnesota Election Law; other law. Unless otherwise provided, the provisions of the Minnesota Election Law apply to the use of electronic rosters. Voters participating in the safe at home program must be allowed to vote pursuant to section 5B.06. Nothing in this section shall be construed to amend absentee voting provisions in chapter 203B.

Subd. 4. Election records retention. All voter signature certificates and voter registration applications printed from an electronic roster must be retained pursuant to section 204B.40. The electronic rosters must print voter signature certificates and voter registration applications on material that will remain legible through the period prescribed by section 204B.40. Data on election day registrants and voter history must be uploaded to the statewide voter registration system for processing by county auditors.

Subd. 5. Election day. (a) Precincts may use electronic rosters for election day registration, to process preregistered voters, or both. The printed election day registration applications must be reviewed when electronic records are processed in the statewide voter registration system. The election judges shall determine the number of ballots to be counted by counting the number of original voter signature certificates or the number of voter receipts.

(b) Each precinct using electronic rosters shall have a paper backup system approved by the secretary of state present at the polling place to use in the event that the election judges are unable to use the electronic roster.

Subd. 6. Reporting; certification. (a) A county, municipality, or school district that intends to use electronic rosters in an upcoming election must notify the Office of the Secretary of State at least 90 days before the first election in which the county, municipality, or school district intends to use electronic rosters. The notification must specify whether all precincts will use electronic rosters, and if not, specify which precincts will be using electronic rosters. The notification is valid for all subsequent elections, unless revoked by the county, municipality, or school district. If precincts within a county, municipality, or school district that were not included in the initial notification intend to use electronic rosters, a new notification must be submitted.

(b) The county, municipality, or school district that intends to use electronic rosters must certify to the Office of the Secretary of State at least 30 days before the election that the electronic rosters meet all of the requirements in this section.

History: 2014 c 288 art 1 s 1; 2016 c 158 art 1 s 78

201.27 VIOLATIONS; PENALTY.

Subdivision 1. Intentional violation. No officer, deputy, clerk, or other employee shall intentionally:

(1)          fail to perform or enforce any of the provisions of this chapter except subdivision 2;

(2)          remove a registration application or record from its proper place in the registration files in a manner or for a purpose not authorized by law;

(3)          destroy or make an unauthorized change to a record required to be kept by this chapter; or

(4)          add a name or names to the voter registration files, records, or applications, except as authorized by law.

An individual who violates this subdivision is guilty of a felony.

Subd. 2. Knowledge of violation. A deputy, clerk, employee, or other subordinate of a county auditor or municipal or school district clerk who has knowledge or reason to believe that a violation of this chapter has occurred shall immediately transmit a report of the knowledge or belief to the county auditor or municipal or school district clerk, together with any possessed evidence of the violation. Any county auditor or municipal or school district clerk who has knowledge or reason to believe that a violation of this chapter has occurred shall immediately transmit a report of the knowledge or belief to the county attorney of the county where the violation is thought to have occurred, together with any possessed evidence of the violation. The county auditor or municipal or school district clerk shall also immediately send a copy of the report to the secretary of state. A violation of this subdivision is a misdemeanor.

Subd. 3. General penalty. An individual who intentionally violates any provision of this chapter is guilty of a felony, unless a different penalty is specifically provided by law.

History: 1959 c 675 art 2 s 27; 1973 c 676 s 20; 1978 c 714 s 5,30; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 25; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 266

art 1 s 11; 1990 c 585 s 17 ; 2008 c 244 art 2 s 9

201.275 INVESTIGATIONS; PROSECUTIONS.

(a)          A law enforcement agency that is notified by affidavit of an alleged violation of this chapter shall promptly investigate. Upon receiving an affidavit alleging a violation of this chapter, a county attorney shall promptly forward it to a law enforcement agency with jurisdiction for investigation. If there is probable cause for instituting a prosecution, the county attorney shall proceed according to the generally applicable standards regarding the prosecutorial functions and duties of a county attorney, provided that the county attorney is not required to proceed with the prosecution if the complainant withdraws the allegation. A county attorney who refuses or intentionally fails to faithfully perform this or any other duty imposed by this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall forfeit office.

(b)          Willful violation of this chapter by any public employee constitutes just cause for suspension without pay or dismissal of the public employee.

(c)           Where the matter relates to a voter registration application submitted electronically through the secure Web site established in section 201.061, subdivision 1, alleged violations of this chapter may be investigated and prosecuted in the county in which the individual registered or attempted to register.

History: 1978 c 714 s 6; 1981 c 29 art 2 s 26; 1986 c 444; 1988 c 578 art 1 s 2; 2004 c 277 s 2; 2013 c 131 art 3 s

3; 2014 c 185 s 7; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 10

CHAPTER 204B - ELECTIONS; GENERAL PROVISIONS

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 1

204B.02 APPLICATION.

This chapter applies to all elections held in this state except as otherwise provided by law.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 2; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 23

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.02

Statutory regulations of election franchise must be construed to insure rather than defeat full exercise when possible. Flakne v. Erickson, 213 Minn. 146, 6 N.W.2d 40 (1942).

CANDIDATE NOMINATION AND FILING 204B.03 MANNER OF NOMINATION.

Candidates of a major political party for any partisan office except presidential elector and all candidates for nonpartisan office shall apply for a place on the primary ballot by filing an affidavit of candidacy as provided in section 204B.06, and except as otherwise provided in section 204D.07, subdivision 3, shall be nominated by primary. Candidates for any partisan office who do not seek the nomination of a major political party shall be nominated by nominating petition as provided in sections 204B.07 and 204B.08, and, except for presidential elector candidates, shall file an affidavit of candidacy as provided in section 204B.06.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 3; 1986 c 475 s 7

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.03

Write-in candidate was not entitled to have name placed on ballot for general election with no party affiliation following major political party’s substitution of a withdrawn candidate with a different party-endorsed candidate following the primary election, where statute required a candidate who did not seek party nomination to be nominated by petition, which criterion candidate failed to meet. Fosle v. Ritchie, 824 N.W.2d 618 (Minn. 2012).

Service of a petition seeking to replace withdrawn candidate endorsed by major political party on “all” candidates for an elective office included write-in candidate who had formally requested that write-in votes cast for him be counted, where, as a write-in candidate whose votes were to be counted by the Secretary of State, candidate’s interest in the outcome of the underlying litigation was no different than the interest of other candidates on the ballot who were properly served with the petition. Fosle v. Ritchie, 824 N.W.2d 618 (Minn. 2012).

Petition requirement was not unconstitutionally burdensome; requirement did not freeze political status quo by locking candidates of non-major parties out of the electoral process, as candidate suggested; and prior decisions stated that such requirements did not violate freedom of speech and association or the right to equal protection. Beaulieu v. Mack, 788 N.W. 2d 892 (Minn. 2010).

See also Minn. Const. art VII, s 6.

The requirement that a person filing for office state in his affidavit of candidacy “that he is a qualified voter in the subdivision where he seeks nomination” is not applicable to a person filing for the office of representative in Congress. Affidavit is sufficient insofar as statement of residence is concerned, if, in accordance with the residency qualification of U.S. Constitution, the person filing states in the affidavit that he is a resident of this state. Op. Atty. Gen.

186A, July 24, 1968.

Affidavits of candidacy need not be filed personally by candidate, but the affidavit should be executed during the filing period. Op. Atty. Gen. 437A-6, February 28, 1963.

If affidavit of candidacy omits statement of political subdivision in which candidates are to be voted but such information can be determined from other statements in affidavit, auditor may accept same. Op. Atty. Gen. 28C-11, August 11, 1954.

Affidavit must be signed and sworn by candidate. Op. Atty. Gen. 911L, August 6, 1942.

204B.04 CANDIDACY; PROHIBITIONS.

Subdivision 1. Major party candidates. No individual shall be named on any ballot as the candidate of more than one major political party. No individual who has been certified by a canvassing board as the nominee of any major political party shall be named on any ballot as the candidate of any other major political party at the next ensuing general election.

Subd. 2. Candidates seeking nomination by primary. No individual who seeks nomination for any partisan or nonpartisan office at a primary shall be nominated for the same office by nominating petition.

Subd. 3. Nomination for nonpartisan office. No individual shall be nominated by nominating petition for any nonpartisan office.

Subd. 4. Prohibition on multiple candidacy. A candidate who files an affidavit of candidacy for an office to be elected at the general election may not subsequently file another affidavit of candidacy for any other office to be elected on the date of that general election, unless the candidate withdraws the initial affidavit pursuant to section 204B.12. The provisions in section 645.21 do not apply to this subdivision.

Subd. 5. Ballots; candidates who file by nominating petition. Candidates who were filed as a team by nominating petition under section 204B.07, subdivision 2, shall not appear on the ballot as minor party or independent candidates if either candidate is certified as a major party candidate for president or vice president pursuant to section 208.03.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 4; 1991 c 320 s 4; 1996 c 419 s 4,5; 2010 c 201 s 22; 2011 c 65 s 1; 2012 c 187 art 1 s

28; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 21; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 4

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.04

Candidate had no colorable claim that First Amendment right of association was violated by statutory requirements for signatures in support of nominating petition.  Idusogie v. Kiffmeyer, 721 N.W.2d 283 (Minn. 2006).

Prohibition on candidate from appearing on ballot as candidate of more than one political party does not violate First Amendment. Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party, 520 U.S. 351 (1997).

Petition for independent candidate for Congress containing less than the required number of valid signatures was fatally defective. Williams v. Donovan, 253 Minn. 493, 92 N.W. 2d 917 (1958).

Candidates for the office of United States senator may be nominated by petition. Attlen v. Holm, 243 Minn. 96, 66 N.W. 2d 610 (1954).

There is no limitation upon the number of candidates who may qualify for an elective office by virtue of nomination by petition where a vacancy occurs. Flakne v. Erickson, 213 Minn. 146, 6 N.W. 2d 40 (1942).

Where no person files for a nonpartisan office, no person can be nominated by petition. Write-in votes permitted. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-3, August 24, 1962. There is no provision for filing name of candidate for county commissioner by nominating petition in primary election. Op. Atty. Gen. 911K, July 3, 1952.

204B.06 FILING FOR PRIMARY; AFFIDAVIT OF CANDIDACY.

Subdivision 1. Form of affidavit. An affidavit of candidacy shall state the name of the office sought and, except as provided in subdivision 4, shall state that the candidate:

(1)          is an eligible voter;

(2)          has no other affidavit on file as a candidate for any office at the same primary or next ensuing general election, except that a candidate for soil and water conservation district supervisor in a district not located in whole or in part in Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey, or Washington County, may also have on file an affidavit of candidacy for mayor or council member of a statutory or home rule charter city of not more than 2,500 population contained in whole or in part in the soil and water conservation district or for town supervisor in a town of not more than 2,500 population contained in whole or in part in the soil and water conservation district; and

(3)          is, or will be on assuming the office, 21 years of age or more, and will have maintained residence in the district from which the candidate seeks election for 30 days before the general election.

An affidavit of candidacy must include a statement that the candidate's name as written on the affidavit for ballot designation is the candidate's true name or the name by which the candidate is commonly and generally known in the community.

An affidavit of candidacy for partisan office shall also state the name of the candidate's political party or political principle, stated in three words or less.

Subd. 1b. Address and telephone number. (a) An affidavit of candidacy must state a telephone number where the candidate can be contacted. An affidavit must also state the candidate’s address of residence as determined under section 200.031, or at the candidate’s request in accordance with paragraph (c), the

candidate’s campaign contact address. The form for the affidavit of candidacy must allow the candidate to request, if eligible, that the candidate’s address of residence be classified as private data, and to provide the certification required under paragraph (c) for classification of that address.

(b)          For an office whose residency requirement must be satisfied by the close of the filing period, a registered voter in this state may request in writing that the filing officer receiving the affidavit of candidacy review the address as provided in this paragraph, at any time up to one day after the last day for filing for office. If requested, the filing officer must determine whether the address provided in the affidavit of candidacy is within the area represented by the office the candidate is seeking. If the filing officer determines that the address is not within the area represented by the office, the filing officer must immediately notify the candidate and the candidate’s name must be removed from the ballot for that office. A determination made by a filing officer under this paragraph is subject to judicial review under section 204B.44.

(c)           If the candidate requests that the candidate’s address of residence be classified as private data, the

candidate must list the candidate’s address of residence on a separate form to be attached to the affidavit. The candidate must also certify on the affidavit that a police report has been submitted or an order for protection has been issued in regard to the safety of the candidate or the candidate’s family, or that the candidate’s address is otherwise private pursuant to Minnesota law. The address of residence provided by a candidate who makes a request for classification on the candidate’s affidavit of candidacy and provides the certification required by this paragraph is classified as private data, as defined in section 13.02, subdivision 12, but may be reviewed by the filing officer as provided in this subdivision.

(d)          The requirements of this subdivision do not apply to affidavits of candidacy for a candidate for: (1) judicial office; (2) the office of county attorney; or (3) county sheriff.

Subd. 2. Major party candidates. A candidate who seeks the nomination of a major political party for a partisan office shall state on the affidavit of candidacy that the candidate either participated in that party’s most recent precinct caucus or intends to vote for a majority of that party’s candidates at the next ensuing general election.

Subd. 4. Federal offices. Candidates for president or vice-president of the United States are not required to file an affidavit of candidacy for office. Candidates who seek nomination for the office of United States senator or representative shall state the following information on the affidavit:

(1)          for United States senator, that the candidate will be an inhabitant of this state when elected and will be 30 years of age or older and a citizen of the United States for not less than nine years on the next January 3 or, in the case of an election to fill a vacancy, within 21 days after the special election;

(2)          for United States representative, that the candidate will be an inhabitant of this state when elected and will be 25 years of age or older and a citizen of the United States for not less than seven years on the next January 3 or, in the case of an election to fill a vacancy, within 21 days after the special election.

Subd. 4a. State and local offices. Candidates who seek nomination for the following offices shall state the following additional information on the affidavit:

(1)          for governor or lieutenant governor, that on the first Monday of the next January the candidate will be 25 years of age or older and, on the day of the state general election, a resident of Minnesota for not less than one year;

(2)          for supreme court justice, court of appeals judge, or district court judge, that the candidate is learned in the law;

(3)          for county, municipal, school district, or special district office, that the candidate meets any other qualifications for that office prescribed by law;

(4)          for senator or representative in the legislature, that on the day of the general or special election to fill the office the candidate will have resided not less than one year in the state and not less than six months in the legislative district from which the candidate seeks election.

Subd. 5. United States senator; two candidates at same election. When two candidates are to be elected United States senators from this state at the same election, each individual filing for the nomination shall state in the affidavit of candidacy the term for which the individual desires to be a candidate, by stating the date of the expiration of the term.

Subd. 6. Judicial candidates; designation of term. An individual who files as a candidate for the office of chief justice or associate justice of the supreme court, judge of the court of appeals, or judge of the district court shall state in the affidavit of candidacy the office of the particular justice or judge for which the individual is a candidate. The individual shall be a candidate only for the office identified in the affidavit. Each justice of the supreme court and each court of appeals and district court judge is deemed to hold a separate nonpartisan office.

Subd. 7. Governor and lieutenant governor. An individual who files as a candidate for governor or lieutenant governor shall file the affidavit of candidacy jointly with the affidavit of another individual who seeks nomination as a candidate for the other office.

Subd. 8. Proof of eligibility. A candidate for judicial office or for the office of county attorney shall submit with the affidavit of candidacy proof that the candidate is licensed to practice law in this state. Proof means providing a copy of a current attorney license.

A candidate for county sheriff shall submit with the affidavit of candidacy proof of licensure as a peace officer in this state. Proof means providing a copy of a current Peace Officer Standards and Training Board license.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 6; 1982 c 501 s 14; 1983 c 247 s 83,84; 1986 c 444; 1986 c 475 s 8; 1990 c 603 s 2; 1993

c 223 s 7,8; 1995 c 222 s 2; 1996 c 419 s 6,10; 1997 c 147 s 26; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 16; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 14;

2005 c 156 art 6 s 31,32; 2008 c 244 art 2 s 16; 2010 c 314 s 2; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 20

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.06

Candidate for judicial office was not required to attach a copy of his current attorney license to his affidavit of candidacy; although attaching copy could fulfill statutory requirement to provide license, supplying, without attaching, copy of license also satisfied plain language of statute. Moulton v. Simon, 883. N.W.2d 819 (Minn. 2016).

Prohibition on candidate from appearing on ballot as candidate of more than one political party does not violate First Amendment. Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party, 520 U.S. 351 (1997).

See also Minn. Const. art VII, s 6.

Even if would-be candidate for state senate was told by Secretary of State’s Office that affidavit of candidacy was complete, despite the absence of a required phone number, such reliance was not reasonable, where affidavit of candidacy itself stated that a telephone number was required, and statutory requirement that an affidavit of candidacy include a telephone number at which the candidate could be contacted was clear. In re Pfliger, 819 N.W.2d 620 (Minn. 2012).

Requirement that affidavit of candidacy include a statement that the name to appear on the ballot is the candidate’s true name “or the name by which the candidate is commonly and generally known in the community” requires that an alternate name be one that the candidate has routinely used, before he files his affidavit of candidacy, to identify himself to the public; in addition, the alternate name must, at a minimum, be the name by which candidate is broadly and widely known to members of the public before the candidate submits the affidavit of candidacy at issue. Weiler v. Ritchie, 788 N.W, 2d 879 (Minn. 2010) .

A candidate who has not resided in the legislative district for six months immediately preceding election is not qualified to run for state legislative office in that district. Studer v. Kiffmeyer , 712 N.W.2d 552 (Minn. 2006); Melendez v. O’Connor,  654 N.W.2d 114 (Minn. 2002).

State legislative candidate had sufficient presence in legislative district and intent to reside there to meet residency requirement, despite fact that candidate was living in apartment outside of district while legislature was in session during portion of six months immediately preceding election, where candidate leased apartment in new district, moved his personal belongings into adjacent living space pending departure of holdover tenants, and spent some time there while legislative session continued. Piepho v. Bruns, 652 N.W.2d 40 (Minn. 2002).

Officeholders must be 21 years of age when they assume office. Jude v. Erdahl, 207 N.W. 2d 715 (Minn. 1973).

The requirement that a person filing for office state in his affidavit of candidacy “that he is qualified voter in the subdivision where he seeks nomination” is not applicable to a person filing for the office of representative in Congress. Affidavit is sufficient insofar as statement of residence is concerned, if, in accordance with the residency qualification of U.S. Constitution, the person filing states in the affidavit that he is a resident of this state. Op. Atty. Gen.

186A, July 24, 1968.

Affidavits of candidacy need not be filed personally by candidate, but the affidavit should be executed during the filing period. Op. Atty. Gen. 437A-6, February 28, 1963.

Candidate for office need not be a registered voter. Op. Atty. Gen. 1841, November 18, 1958.

If affidavit of candidacy omits statement of political subdivision in which candidates are to be voted but such information can be determined from other statements of affidavit, auditor may accept same. Op. Atty. Gen. 28C-11, August 11, 1954.

Affidavit must be signed and sworn by candidate. Op. Atty. Gen. 911i, August 6, 1942.

204B.07 NOMINATING PETITIONS.

Subdivision 1. Form of petition. A nominating petition may consist of one or more separate pages each of which shall state:

(a)          The office sought;

(b)          The candidate’s name and residence address, including street and number if any; and

(c)           The candidate’s political party or political principle expressed in not more than three words. No candidate who files for a partisan office by nominating petition shall use the term “nonpartisan” as a statement of political principle or the name of the candidate’s political party. No part of the name of a major political party may be used to designate the political party or principle of a candidate who files for a partisan office by

nominating petition, except that the word “independent” may be used to designate the party or principle. A candidate who files an affidavit of candidacy to fill a vacancy in nomination for a nonpartisan office pursuant to section 204B.13, shall not state any political principle or the name of any political party on the petition.

Subd. 2. Petitions for presidential electors and alternates. This subdivision does not apply to candidates for presidential elector or alternate nominated by major political parties. Major party candidates for presidential elector or alternate are certified under section 208.03. Other presidential electors or alternates are nominated by petition pursuant to this section. On petitions nominating presidential electors or alternates, the names of the candidates for president and vice-president shall be added to the political party or political principle stated on the petition. One petition may be filed to nominate a slate of presidential electors equal in number to the number of electors to which the state is entitled and an alternate for each elector nominee.

Subd. 3. Number of candidates nominated. No nominating petition shall contain the name of more than one candidate except a petition jointly nominating individuals for governor and lieutenant governor or nominating a slate of presidential electors.

Subd. 4. Oath and address of signer. Following the information required by subdivisions 1 and 2 and before the space for signing, each separate page that is part of the petition shall include an oath in the following form:

“I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I know the contents and purpose of this petition, that I do not intend to vote at the primary election for the office for which this nominating petition is made, and that I signed this petition of my own free will.”

Notarization or certification of the signatures on a nominating petition is not required. Immediately after the signature, the signer shall write on the petition the signer’s residence address including street and number, if any, and mailing address if different from residence address.

Subd. 5. Sample forms. An official with whom petitions are filed shall make sample forms for nominating petitions available upon request.

Subd. 6. Penalty. An individual who, in signing a nominating petition, makes a false oath is guilty of perjury.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 7; 1986 c 444; 1986 c 475 s 9,10; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 17; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 15; 2012 c

187 art 1 s 29; 2015 c 70 art 2 s 1

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.07

Oath requirement for signers of nominating petitions is constitutional. Libertarian Party of Minn. V. Simon, 463 F. Supp. 3d 936 (D. Minn. 2020).

Statutory oath does not preclude signers of nominating petitions from changing their minds and voting in a primary election. Libertarian Party of Minn. V. Simon, 463 F. Supp. 3d 936 (D. Minn. 2020).

Statement of political party or political principle by would-be candidate for state House of Representatives exceeded the statutory limit of three words, and, therefore, she did not strictly comply with the statutory requirements for filing for elective office. Anderson v. Ritchie, 819 N.W.2d 445 (Minn. 2012).

County auditor was neither authorized nor required to consult documents other than nominating petition to confirm that the signers were residents of the district and, thus, auditor did not err in rejecting signatures on a nominating petition for state senate candidate for which the only addresses provided were post office box, city or township, and county; enforcement of residence address requirement did not violate candidate’s equal protection rights.

Paquin v. Mack, 788 N.W. 2d 899 (Minn. 2010)

Party name protection law applies only to names of major political parties. Scofield v. Kiffmeyer, 620 N.W.2d 24 (Minn. 2000).

Court will not change political party or principle as stated on presidential elector nominating petition absent showing of significant degree of confusion. Mere similarity of party name is not sufficient.  Id.

Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives could not be certified on election ballot as “Shelvie Prolife Rettmann” where name not authorized by statute nor was it nickname by which candidate was generally and commonly known. Clifford v. Hoppe, 357 N.W. 2d 98 (Minn. 1984).

“Elector” means one who has a constitutional right to vote even though not a registered voter. Eastwood v. Donovan, 259 Minn. 43, 105 N.W. 2d 636 (1960).

Candidates for the office of United States senator may be nominated by petition. Allen v. Holm, 243 Minn. 96, 66 N.W. 2d 610 (1954). Presidential and vice-presidential candidates nominated by petition may withdraw. Op. Atty. Gen. 28c-5, September 26, 1968.

Where three candidates file for office of state senator and one dies before primary ballots are printed, names of candidates should not be placed on ballot. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-1, August 16, 1954.

Even if there is only one filing for a partisan office, including Congress, name must be placed on primary ballot; but when only two persons file for nomination for a nonpartisan office, names are not included on primary ballot. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-5, July 2, 1954.

There is no provision for filing name of candidate for county commissioner by nominating petition in primary election. Op. Atty. Gen. 911K, July 8, 1952.

It is not necessary that the party or political principle of a candidate for nonpartisan office be stated in the petition. Op. Atty. Gen. 184C-1, September 17, 1934.

204B.071 PETITIONS, RULES OF SECRETARY OF STATE.

The secretary of state shall adopt rules governing the manner in which petitions required for any election in this state are circulated, signed, filed, and inspected. The secretary of state shall provide samples of petition forms for use by election officials.

History: 1999 c 132 s 16

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.07

Statute giving secretary of state authority to adopt rules governing elections applied to all elections held in the state, including filing petitions to place charter amendment on ballot. Butler v. City of St. Paul, 936 N.W.2d 478 (Minn. 2019). 
204B.08 SIGNING PETITIONS.

Subdivision 1. Time for signing. Nominating petitions shall be signed during the period when petitions may be filed as provided in section 204B.09. 

Subd. 2. Qualifications of signers. A nominating petition may be signed only by individuals who are eligible to vote for the candidate who is nominated. No individual may sign more than one nominating petition for candidates for the same office unless more than one candidate is to be elected to that office. If more than one candidate is to be elected to the office, an individual may sign as many petitions as there are candidates to be elected.

Subd. 3. Number of signatures. The number of signatures required on a nominating petition shall be as follows:

(a)          For a federal or state office voted on statewide, 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 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;

(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.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 8; 1990 c 453 s 3; 1999 c 132 s 17; 2008 c 244 art 2 s 17

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.08

State senate candidate could not show that signers of nominating petition whose signatures were rejected for lack of a residence address on the petition lived within legislative district and, thus, did not meet his burden to prove that leaving his name off of ballot was an error of which Supreme Court was required to order correction by county auditor, although some signatures listed post office (P.O.) box information; P.O. box provided no information about location of signers’ residences, and candidate provided no other evidence that those who listed P.O. box intended city or township and county listed as their residential address. Paquin v. Mack, 788 N.W. 2d 899 (Minn. 2010)

Minnesota law bars a candidate for elective office from filing additional signatures on a nominating petition after 5 p.m. on the last day for filing for elective office, and also bars filing additional signatures on a petition filed in place of the required filing fee after said time and date. Idusogie v. Kiffmeyer, 721 N.W.2d 283 (Minn. 2006).

Registration does not affect qualification of person to vote. Eastwood v. Donovan, 259 Minn. 43, 105 N.W.2d 686 (1960).

Petition for independent candidate for Congress containing less than the required number of valid signatures was fatally defective. Williams v. Donovan, 253 Minn. 493, 92 N.W. 2d 917 (1958).

204B.09 TIME AND PLACE OF FILING AFFIDAVITS AND PETITIONS.

 Amendment to subd. 3 is effective August 1, 2021           Subdivision 1. Candidates in state and county general elections. (a) Except as otherwise provided by this subdivision, affidavits of candidacy and nominating petitions for county, state, and federal offices filled at the state general election shall be filed not more than 84 days nor less than 70 days before the state primary. The affidavit may be prepared and signed at any time between 60 days before the filing period opens and the last day of the filing period.

(b)          Notwithstanding other law to the contrary, the affidavit of candidacy must be signed in the presence of a notarial officer or an individual authorized to administer oaths under section 358.10.

(c)           This provision does not apply to candidates for presidential elector nominated by major political parties. Major party candidates for presidential elector are certified under section 208.03. Other candidates for presidential electors may file petitions at least 77 days before the general election day pursuant to section 204B.07. Nominating petitions to fill vacancies in nominations shall be filed as provided in section 204B.13. No affidavit or petition shall be accepted later than 5:00 p.m. on the last day for filing.

(d)          Affidavits and petitions for county offices must be filed with the county auditor of that county. Affidavits and petitions for federal offices must be filed with the secretary of state. Affidavits and petitions for state offices must be filed with the secretary of state or with the county auditor of the county in which the candidate resides.

(e)          Affidavits other than those filed pursuant to subdivision 1a must be submitted by mail or by hand, notwithstanding chapter 325L, or any other law to the contrary and must be received by 5:00 p.m. on the last day for filing.

Subd. 1a. Absent candidates. (a) A candidate for special district, county, state, or federal office who will be absent from the state during the filing period may submit a properly executed affidavit of candidacy, the appropriate filing fee, and any necessary petitions in person to the filing officer. The candidate shall state in writing the reason for being unable to submit the affidavit during the filing period. The affidavit, filing fee, if any, and petitions must be submitted to the filing officer during the seven days immediately preceding the candidate's absence from the state. Nominating petitions may be signed during the 14 days immediately preceding the date when the affidavit of candidacy is filed.

(b) A candidate for special district, county, state, or federal office who will be absent from the state during the entire filing period or who must leave the state for the remainder of the filing period and who certifies to the secretary of state that the circumstances constitute an emergency and were unforeseen, may submit a properly executed affidavit of candidacy by facsimile device or by transmitting electronically a scanned image of the affidavit to the secretary of state during the filing period. The candidate shall state in writing the specific reason for being unable to submit the affidavit by mail or by hand during the filing period or in person prior to the start of the filing period. The affidavit of candidacy, filing fee, if any, and any necessary petitions must be received by the secretary of state by 5:00 p.m. on the last day for filing. If the candidate is filing for a special district or county office, the secretary of state shall forward the affidavit of candidacy, filing fee, if any, and any necessary petitions to the appropriate filing officer.

Subd. 2. Other elections. Affidavits of candidacy and nominating petitions for city, town or other elective offices shall be filed during the time and with the official specified in chapter 205 or other applicable law or charter, except as provided for a special district candidate under subdivision 1a. Affidavits of candidacy and applications filed on behalf of eligible voters for school board office shall be filed during the time and with the official specified in chapter 205A or other applicable law. Affidavits of candidacy and nominating petitions filed under this subdivision must be submitted by mail or by hand, notwithstanding chapter 325L, or any other law to the contrary, and must be received by the appropriate official within the specified time for the filing of affidavits and petitions for the office.

Subd. 3. Write-in candidates. (a) A candidate for county, state, or federal office who wants write-in votes for the candidate to be counted must file a written request with the filing office for the office sought not more than 84 days before the primary and no later than the seventh day before the general election. The filing officer shall provide copies of the form to make the request. No The filing officer shall not accept a written request shall be accepted later than 5:00 p.m. on the last day for filing a written request.

(b)          A candidate for president of the United States who files a request under this subdivision must include the name of a candidate for vice-president of the United States. file jointly with another individual seeking nomination as a candidate for vice president of the United States. A candidate for vice president of the United States who files a request under this subdivision must file jointly with another individual seeking nomination as a candidate for president of the United States. The request must also include the name of at least one candidate for presidential elector. The total number of names of candidates for presidential elector on the request may not exceed the total number of electoral votes to be cast by Minnesota in the presidential election.

(c)           A candidate for governor who files a request under this subdivision must include the name of a candidate for lieutenant governor. file jointly with another individual seeking nomination as a candidate for lieutenant governor. A candidate for lieutenant governor who files a request under this subdivision must file jointly with another individual seeking nomination as a candidate for governor.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 9; 1986 c 475 s 11; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 24; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 8; 1990 c 585 s 24; 1990 c

608 art 7 s 2; 1991 c 227 s 11; 2000 c 467 s 9-11; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 18,19; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 16,17; 2008 c 244

art 1 s 10; 2010 c 184 s 12; 2014 c 264 s 14; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 13; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 7

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.09

Statutory fourteen-day period for independent and minor-party candidates to collect signatures for access to general election ballot is constitutional.

Libertarian Party of Minn. V. Simon, 463 F. Supp. 3d 936 (D. Minn. 2020).

Requirement to name vice-presidential candidate when requesting that votes cast for write-in presidential candidate be counted did not violate associational rights protected by First Amendment; burden imposed by requirement was at most de minimis, major-party candidates were required to provide same information, and requirement was reasonable regulation that promoted state’s interest in orderly administration of election. Carlson v. Simon, 888 N.W. 2d 467 (Minn. 2016).

For an affidavit of candidacy to be “properly filed,” as required for candidate’s name to be placed on primary election ballot, it must be both filed before the deadline and filed with the appropriate election official. Smith v. Kiffmeyer, 721 N.W.2d 912 (Minn. 2006).

Candidate had no colorable claim that First Amendment right of association was violated by statutory requirements for signatures in support of nominating petition. The secretary of state is barred from accepting late petitions and affidavits from all candidates, whether they seek the nomination of major political parties, minor political parties, or run as independent candidates. A candidate for elective office may not file additional signatures for a nominating petition and/or a petition filed in place of the required filing fee after 5 p.m. on the last day for filing for elective office. Idusogie v. Kiffmeyer, 721 N.W.2d 283 (Minn. 2006).

Filing affidavit of candidacy within deadline is accomplished by actual filing at proper office, and not by mere deposit in the U.S. mail. Harris v. Donovan, 269 Minn. 574, 129 N.W. 2d 797 (1964).

Petition for nomination presented after closing time of Secretary of State’s Office was not entitled to filing. Johnson v. Holm, 198 Minn. 192, 269 N.W. 405 (1936).

Secretary of state may pass upon form and sufficiency of nominating petition, but has no authority to determine whether candidate is qualified to serve. Op. Atty. Gen. 911J, September 15, 1970.

Under former law, write-in votes for presidential candidates whose electors have not been certified as such to the secretary of state under M.S. 208.03 or former 202A.32, would be nullity since the state canvassing board under the authority of M.S. 208.05 determines the election only of electors, but an effective write-in vote would either write in the office of presidential elector and names of as many as ten candidates for a presidential elector, or apply a sticker for the same purpose. Op. Atty. Gen. 28C-5, October 5, 1968.

The requirement that a person filing for office state in his affidavit of candidacy “that he is qualified voter in the subdivision where he seeks nomination” is not applicable to a person filing for the office of representative in Congress. Affidavit is sufficient insofar as statement of residence is concerned, if, in accordance with the residency qualifications of U.S. Constitution, the person filing states in the affidavit that he is a resident of this state. Op. Atty. Gen. 186A, July 24, 1968.

Affidavits of candidacy need not be filed personally by candidate, but the affidavit should be executed during the filing period. Op. Atty. Gen. 437A-6, February 28, 1963.

Ineligibility of candidate receiving highest number of votes, in absence of knowledge by voters of disqualifying facts, will not result in giving the election to the next highest candidate. Op. Atty. Gen. 63A-11, March 23, 1955.

If affidavit of candidacy omits statement of political subdivision in which candidates are to be voted but such information can be determined from other statements in affidavit, auditor may accept same. Op. Atty. Gen. 28C-11, August 11, 1954.

If last day for filing should fall on Monday, February 22, a legal holiday, both Monday, February 22, and Sunday, February 21, are omitted in computation and last day for filing would be Saturday, February 20. Op. Atty. Gen. 911E, February 1, 1954.

Affidavit must be signed and sworn to by candidate. Op. Atty. Gen. 911L, August 6, 1942. Affidavit could not be accepted for filing on legal holiday. Op. Atty. Gen. 1922, No. 270, p. 216.

204C.14 UNLAWFUL VOTING; PENALTY.

Subdivision 1. Violations; penalty. No individual shall intentionally:

(a)          Misrepresent the individual’s identity in applying for a ballot, depositing a ballot in a ballot box or attempting to vote by means of a voting machine or electronic voting system;

(b)          Vote more than once at the same election;

(c)           Put a ballot in a ballot box for any illegal purpose;

(d)          Give more than one ballot of the same kind to an election judge to be placed in a ballot box;

(e)          Aid, abet, counsel or procure another to go into any precinct for the purpose of voting in that precinct, knowing that the other individual is not eligible to vote in that precinct; or

(f)           Aid, abet, counsel or procure another to do any act in violation of this section. A violation of this section is a felony.

Subd. 2. Signature on roster as evidence of intent. For purposes of proving a violation of this section, the signature of an individual on a polling place roster or voter signature certificate is prima facie evidence of the intent of the individual to vote at that election.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 14; 1986 c 444; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 32; 2013 c 131 art 3 s 5; 2014 c 288 art 2 s 7

CHAPTER 203B - ABSENTEE VOTING

GENERAL PROVISIONS 203B.001 ELECTION LAW APPLICABILITY.

The Minnesota election law is applicable to voting by absentee ballot unless otherwise provided in this chapter.

History: 1989 c 291 art 1 s 3

203B.01 ABSENTEE BALLOTING; DEFINITIONS.

 Amendment to subd. 3 is effective August 1, 2021           Subdivision 1. Application. The definitions in chapter 200 and this section apply to this chapter.

Subd. 2. Municipal clerk. “Municipal clerk” means a full-time town or city clerk who is authorized or required to administer the provisions of sections 203B.04 to 203B.15, as provided in section 203B.05. “Municipal clerk” also means clerk of the school district who is authorized or required to administer the

provisions of sections 203B.04 to 203B.15, as provided in section 203B.05 for a school district election not held on the same day as a statewide election.

Subd. 3. Military. “Military” means the army, navy, air force, marine corps, coast guard or merchant marine of the United States, and all other uniformed services as defined in United States Code, title 52, section 20310, and military forces as defined by section 190.05, subdivision 3, or any eligible citizen of Minnesota enrolled as a student at the United States Naval Academy, the United States Coast Board Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, or the United States Military Academy.

Subd. 4. Health care facility. “Health care facility” means a licensed hospital, sanitarium, or other institution as defined in section 144.50, subdivision 2, or a nursing home licensed to serve adults under section 144A.02.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 1; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 12; 1997 c 147 s 12; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 20; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 11;

2021 c 31 art 3 s 1

203B.02 GENERAL ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.

Subdivision 1. Absentee voting; eligibility. Any eligible voter may vote by absentee ballot as provided in sections 203B.04 to 203B.15.

Subd. 2. Military service; temporary absence. An eligible voter who is either in the military, or is a spouse or dependent of an individual serving in the military, or is temporarily outside the territorial limits of the United States may vote by absentee ballot either as provided in sections 203B.04 to 203B.15 or as provided in sections 203B.16 to 203B.27.

Subd. 3. Indefinite residence abroad. A United States citizen living indefinitely outside the United States who is eligible under federal law to vote in federal elections in Minnesota may vote by absentee ballot only as provided in sections 203B.16 to 203B.27.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 2; 1983 c 303 s 2; 1984 c 471 s 3; 1986 c 444; 1991 c 227 s 9; 2006; 2008 c 244 art 1 s 24; 2010 c

201 s 14; 2013 c 131 art 1 s 2

NOTES AND DECISIONS 203B.02

Provisions pertaining generally to absentee voters are also available to members of the armed forces and their families. Bell v. Gannaway, 227 N.W. 2d 797 (Minn. 1975).

Absentee ballots held to strict compliance with legal requirements. Id.

Absentee ballots may not be challenged after deposit in ballot box, except for facial defects. Id.

203B.03 PROHIBITIONS; PENALTIES.

Subdivision 1. Violation. No individual shall intentionally:

(a)          make or sign any false certificate required by this chapter;

(b)          make any false or untrue statement in any application for absentee ballots;

(c)           apply for absentee ballots more than once in any election with the intent to cast an illegal ballot;

(d)          exhibit a ballot marked by that individual to any other individual;

(e)          do any act in violation of the provisions of this chapter for the purpose of casting an illegal vote in any precinct or for the purpose of aiding another to cast an illegal vote;

(f)           use information from absentee ballot materials or records for purposes unrelated to elections, political activities, or law enforcement; or

(g)          provide assistance toanabsenteevoterexceptinthemannerprovided bysection 204C.15, subdivision 1.

(h)          solicit the vote of an absentee voter while in the immediate presence of the voter during the time the individual knows the absentee voter is voting; or

(i)            alter an absentee ballot application after it has been signed by the voter, except by an election official for administrative purposes.

Before inspecting information from absentee ballot materials or records, an individual shall provide identification to the public official having custody of the material or information.

Subd. 2. Penalty. A violation of this section is a felony.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 3; 1987 c 175 s 3; 1997 c 147 s 13; 1999 c 132 s 8

GENERAL ABSENTEE VOTING 203B.04 APPLICATION FOR BALLOTS.

Amendment to subd. 1 effective August 1, 2021 Subdivision 1. Application procedures. (a) Except as otherwise allowed by subdivision 2 or by section

203B.11, subdivision 4, an application for absentee ballots for any election may be submitted at any time not

less than one day before the day of that election. The county auditor shall prepare absentee ballot application forms in the format provided by the secretary of state and shall furnish them to any person on request. By January 1 of each even-numbered year, the secretary of state shall make the forms to be used available to auditors through electronic means. An application submitted pursuant to this subdivision shall be in writing. An application may be submitted in person, by electronic facsimile device, by electronic mail, or by mail to:

(1)          the county auditor of the county where the applicant maintains residence; or

(2)          the municipal clerk of the municipality, or school district if applicable, where the applicant maintains residence.

For a federal, state, or county election, an absentee ballot application may alternatively be submitted electronically through a secure Web site that shall be maintained by the secretary of state for this purpose. Notwithstanding paragraph (b), the secretary of state must require applicants using the Web site to submit the applicant’s e-mail address and verifiable Minnesota driver’s license number, Minnesota state identification card number, or the last four digits of the applicant’s Social Security number.

An application submitted electronically under this paragraph may only be transmitted to the county auditor for processing if the secretary of state has verified the application information matches the information in a government database associated with the applicant’s driver’s license number, state identification card number, or Social Security number. The secretary of state must review all unverifiable applications for evidence of suspicious activity and must forward any such application to an appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation.

(b)          An application shall be approved if it is timely received, signed and dated by the applicant, contains the

applicant’s name and residence and mailing addresses, date of birth, and at least one of the following:

(1)          the applicant’s Minnesota driver’s license number;

(2)          Minnesota state identification card number;

(3)          the last four digits of the applicant’s Social Security number; or

(4)          a statement that the applicant does not have any of these numbers.

(c)           To be approved, the application must contain an oath that the information contained on the form is accurate, that the applicant is applying on the applicant’s own behalf, and that the applicant is signing the form under penalty of perjury.

(d)          An applicant’s full date of birth, Minnesota driver’s license or state identification number, and the last four digits of the applicant’s Social Security number must not be made available for public inspection. An application may be submitted to the county auditor or municipal clerk by an electronic facsimile device. An application mailed or returned in person to the county auditor or municipal clerk on behalf of a voter by a person other than the voter must be deposited in the mail or returned in person to the county auditor or municipal clerk within ten days after it has been dated by the voter and no later than six days before the election. The absentee ballot applications or a list of persons applying for an absentee ballot may not be made available for public inspection until the close of voting on election day, except as authorized in section 203B.12, and must be available to the public in the same manner as public information lists in section 201.091, subdivisions 4, 5, and 9.

(e)          An application under this subdivision may contain an application under subdivision 5 to automatically receive an absentee ballot application.

Subd. 2. Health care patient. An eligible voter who on the day before an election becomes a resident or patient in a health care facility or hospital located in the municipality in which the eligible voter maintains residence may apply for absentee ballots on election day if the voter:

(a)          Requests an application form by telephone from the municipal clerk not later than 5:00 p.m. on the day before election day; or

(b)          Submits an absentee ballot application to the election judges engaged in delivering absentee ballots pursuant to section 203B.11.

Subd. 3. Delivery of application forms. The election judges designated to deliver absentee ballots pursuant to section 203B.11 shall deliver a blank application form for absentee ballots to any individual who requests one in order to apply for absentee ballots pursuant to subdivision 2.

Subd. 4. Registration at time of application. An eligible voter who is not registered to vote but who is otherwise eligible to vote by absentee ballot may register by including a completed voter registration application with the absentee ballot. The individual shall present proof of residence as required by section 201.061, subdivision 3, to the individual who witnesses the marking of the absentee ballots. A military voter, as defined in section 203B.01, may register in this manner if voting pursuant to sections 203B.04 to 203B.15, or may register pursuant to sections 203B.16 to 203B.27.

Subd. 5. Permanent absentee voter status. (a) An eligible voter may apply to a county auditor or municipal clerk to automatically receive an absentee ballot application before each election, other than an election by mail conducted under section 204B.45, and to have the status as a permanent absentee voter

indicated on the voter’s registration record. An eligible voter listed as an ongoing absentee voter as of July 31, 2013, pursuant to laws in effect on that date, shall be treated as if the voter applied for status as a permanent absentee voter pursuant to this subdivision.

(b)          A voter who applies under paragraph (a) must automatically be provided an absentee ballot application for each eligible election. A voter’s permanent absentee status ends and automatic ballot application delivery must be terminated on:

(1)          the voter’s written request;

(2)          the voter’s death;

(3)          return of an absentee ballot as undeliverable; or

(4)          a change in the voter’s status to “challenged” or “inactive” in the statewide voter registration system.

(c)           The secretary of state shall adopt rules governing procedures under this subdivision.

Subd. 7. Web site security. (a) The secretary of state shall maintain a log of each Internet Protocol address used to submit an absentee ballot application electronically under this section, and must monitor the log, volume of Web site use, and other appropriate indicators for suspicious activity. Evidence of suspicious activity that cannot be resolved by the secretary of state must be forwarded to an appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation.

(b)          The electronic absentee ballot application system must be secure. The Web site shall maintain the confidentiality of all users and preserve the integrity of the data submitted. The secretary of state shall employ security measures to ensure the accuracy and integrity of absentee ballot applications submitted electronically pursuant to this section. All data sent and received through the Web site must be encrypted.

(c)           The secretary of state must provide ongoing testing and monitoring to ensure continued security. The secretary of state must work with the chief information officer as defined in section 16E.01, subdivision 1, or another security expert to annually assess the security of the system. The security assessment must include a certification signed by the secretary of state that states that adequate security measures are in place. The certification must also be signed by the chief information officer or another security expert affirming that the assessment is accurate. The secretary of state must submit the security assessment to the legislative auditor and to the chairs and ranking minority members of the committees in the senate and house of representatives with primary jurisdiction over elections by January 1 of each year, except that the first annual security assessment must be submitted by September 30, 2014, and no report is required for January 1, 2015.

(d)          In developing the electronic absentee ballot application system, the secretary of state must consult

with the chief information officer or the chief’s designee to ensure the site is secure.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 4; 1983 c 303 s 3; 1984 c 560 s 4; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 13; 1990 c 585 s 19; 1991 c 227 s

10; 1997 c 147 s 14; 1999 c 132 s 9; 2000 c 467 s 6; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 10,11; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 21-23; 2008 c

244 art 2 s 10, 11; 2010 c 194 s 2; 2010 c 201 s 15; 2013 c 131 art 1 s 3, 4, 9; 2014 c 185 s 8 & 9; 2014 c 264 s 8 &

9; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 2

NOTES AND DECISIONS 203B.04

Section should be construed liberally to give every qualified voter an opportunity to vote. Op. Atty. Gen. 182, February 20, 1946.

203B.05 DESIGNATION OF MUNICIPAL CLERKS TO ADMINISTER ABSENTEE VOTING LAWS.

Subdivision 1. Generally. The full-time clerk of any city or town shall administer the provisions of sections 203B.04 to 203B.15 if:

(1)          The county auditor of that county has designated the clerk to administer them; or

(2)          The clerk has given the county auditor of that county notice of intention to administer them.

The designation or notice must specify whether the clerk will be responsible for the administration of a ballot board as provided in section 203B.121.

A clerk of a city that is located in more than one county may only administer the provisions of sections 203B.04 to 203B.15 if the clerk has been designated by each of the county auditors or has provided notice to each of the county auditors that the city will administer absentee voting. A clerk may only administer the provisions of sections 203B.04 to 203B.15 if the clerk has technical capacity to access the statewide voter registration system in the secure manner prescribed by the secretary of state. The secretary of state must identify hardware, software, security, or other technical prerequisites necessary to ensure the security, access controls, and performance of the statewide voter registration system. A clerk must receive training approved by the secretary of state on the use of the statewide voter registration system before administering this section. A clerk may not use the statewide voter registration system until the clerk has received the required training. The county auditor must notify the secretary of state of any municipal clerk who will be administering the provisions of this section and the duties that the clerk will administer.

Subd. 2. City, school district, and town elections. For city, town, and school district elections not held on the same day as a statewide election, applications for absentee ballots shall be filed with the city, school district, or town clerk and the duties prescribed by this chapter for the county auditor shall be performed by the city, school district, or town clerk unless the county auditor agrees to perform those duties on behalf of the city, school district, or town clerk. The costs incurred to provide absentee ballots and perform the duties prescribed by this subdivision shall be paid by the city, town, or school district holding the election.

Notwithstanding any other law, this chapter applies to school district elections held on the same day as a statewide election or an election for a county or municipality wholly or partially within the school district.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 5; 1987 c 62 s 3; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 14; 2008 c 244 art 2 s 12; 2010 c 194 s 3; 2013 c 131

art 2 s 14

NOTES AND DECISIONS 203B.05

The duties to be performed by the city or town clerk include the office hours provisions of M.S. 203B.085. Op. Atty. Gen. 639B, October 21, 1983.

The requirements for filing an application for absentee ballots in school election, M.S. 123.32, subd. 24(b), are mandatory and failure to comply with one or more of them would require that the applicant’s application be disallowed. Op. Atty. Gen. 639A, June 2, 1967.

Former section interpreted as not giving county auditor authority to appoint agent to receive applications for absentee ballots at a place outside county seat. Op. Atty. Gen. 693A, September 15, 1952.

203B.06 APPLICATIONS; FILING WITH COUNTY AUDITOR OR MUNICIPAL CLERK; DELIVERY OF BALLOT.

Subdivision 1. Printing and delivery of forms. Each county auditor and municipal clerk shall prepare and print a sufficient number of blank application forms for absentee ballots. The county auditor or municipal clerk shall deliver a blank application form to any voter who requests one pursuant to section 203B.04. Blank application forms must be mailed to eligible voters who have requested an application pursuant to section 203B.04, subdivision 5, at least 60 days before:

(1)          each regularly scheduled primary for federal, state, county, city, or school board office;

(2)          each regularly scheduled general election for city or school board office for which a primary is not held;

and

(3)          a special primary to fill a federal or county office vacancy or special election to fill a federal or county office vacancy, if; a primary is not required to be held pursuant to section 204D.03, subdivision 3, or 204D.07, subdivision 3; and

(4)          any election held in conjunction with an election described in clauses (1) to (3); or at least 45 days before any other primary or other election for which a primary is not held.

Subd. 2. Applications to wrong official. If for any reason an application for absentee ballots is submitted to the wrong county auditor or municipal clerk, that official shall promptly forward it to the proper county auditor or municipal clerk.

Subd. 3. Delivery of ballots. (a) The commissioner of corrections must provide the secretary of state with a list of the names and mailing addresses of state adult correctional facilities. An application for an absentee ballot that provides an address included on the list provided by the commissioner of corrections must not be accepted and absentee ballot must not be provided to the applicant. The county auditor or municipal clerk must promptly transmit a copy of the application to the county attorney. The Department of Corrections must implement procedures to ensure that absentee ballots issued under chapter 203B are not received or mailed by offenders incarcerated at state adult correctional facilities.

(b)          If an application for absentee ballots is accepted at a time when absentee ballots are not yet available for distribution, the county auditor, or municipal clerk accepting the application shall file it and as soon as absentee ballots are available for distribution shall mail them to the address specified in the application. If an application for absentee ballots is accepted when absentee ballots are available for distribution, the county auditor or municipal clerk accepting the application shall promptly:

(1)          mail the ballots to the voter whose signature appears on the application if the application is submitted by mail and does not request commercial shipping under clause (2);

(2)          ship the ballots to the voter using a commercial shipper requested by the voter at the voter’s expense;

(3)          deliver the absentee ballots directly to the voter if the application is submitted in person; or

(4)          deliver the absentee ballots in a sealed transmittal envelope to an agent who has been designated to bring the ballots, as provided in section 203B.11, subdivision 4, to a voter who would have difficulty getting to the polls because of incapacitating health reasons, or who is disabled, or who is a patient in a health care facility, a resident of a facility providing assisted living services governed by chapter 144G, a participant in a residential program for adults licensed under section 245A.02, subdivision 14, or a resident of a shelter for battered women as defined in section 611A.37, subdivision 4.

(c)           If an application does not indicate the election for which absentee ballots are sought, the county auditor or municipal clerk shall mail or deliver only the ballots for the next election occurring after receipt of the application. Only one set of ballots may be mailed, shipped, or delivered to an applicant for any election, except as provided in section 203B.121, subdivision 2, or when a replacement ballot has been requested by the voter for a ballot that has been spoiled or lost in transit.

Subd. 3a. Unofficial ballots. If no official ballots are ready at the time absentee balloting is scheduled to begin or the supply is exhausted before absentee balloting ends, the county auditor or municipal clerk shall prepare unofficial ballots, printed or written as nearly as practicable in the form of the official ballots. These ballots may be used until the official ballots are available.

Subd. 4. Registration check. Upon receipt of an application for ballots, the county auditor, municipal clerk, or election judge acting pursuant to section 203B.11, who receives the application shall determine whether the applicant is a registered voter. If the applicant is not registered to vote, the county auditor, municipal clerk or election judge shall include a voter registration application among the election materials provided to the applicant.

Subd. 5. Preservation of records. An application for absentee ballots shall be dated by the county auditor or municipal clerk when it is received and shall be initialed when absentee ballots are mailed or delivered to the applicant. All applications shall be preserved by the county auditor or municipal clerk for 22 months.

Subd. 6. Requests from abroad. If an application for absentee ballots requests delivery of absentee ballots to a point outside the continental United States, the absentee ballots must be sent by air mail. The transmittal and return envelopes must contain the text or symbol or both prescribed by the United States Postal Service for transmitting election mail outside the continental United States. Priority in mailing shall be given to all ballots sent by air mail.

Subd. 7. Special postal services. If the federal government or any of its branches, departments, agencies or other instrumentalities makes any special service available for the mailing of absentee voting materials, any county auditor or municipal clerk may use the service.

Subd. 8. Names on envelopes, directions. No envelope, return envelope or directions for casting an absentee ballot shall contain the name of any candidate whose name appears on any of the absentee ballots.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 6; 1984 c 560 s 5; 1987 c 175 s 4; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 15; 1997 c 147 s 15; 2000 c 467 s 7;

1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 12; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 21; 2006; 2008 c 295 s 9; 2010 c 184 s 5; 2010 c 201 s 16, 17; 2011 c

76 art 1 s 26; 2013 c 131 art 1 s 5; 2013 c 131 art 3 s 4

NOTES AND DECISIONS 203B.06

Former provision interpreted as prohibiting auditor who is candidate for reelection from printing his name on envelope, return envelope, or in explanatory note. Op. Atty. Gen. 639A, June 16, 1950.

203B.065 USING THE REGISTRATION SYSTEM

Upon accepting an application for a state primary or state general election, the county auditor or municipal clerk shall record in the statewide voter registration system the voter’s name, date of birth, address of residence in Minnesota, mailing address, Minnesota driver’s license or state identification number, or the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number, if provided by the voter. Upon acceptance of an absentee ballot application of a voter who is registered to vote at an address different from the residential address certified on the absentee ballot application, the voter registration record with the previous address shall be challenged. Once the absentee ballot has been transmitted to the voter, the method of transmission and the date of transmission must be recorded.

Upon receipt of a returned absentee ballot for a state primary or state general election, the county auditor or municipal clerk shall record in the statewide voter registration system that the voter has returned the ballot.

Upon receipt of notice that the ballot board has accepted or rejected the absentee ballot for a state primary or state general election, the county auditor or municipal clerk shall record in the statewide voter registration system whether the ballot was accepted or rejected, and if rejected, the reason for rejection. If a replacement ballot is transmitted to the voter, the county auditor or municipal clerk shall record this in the statewide voter registration system.

The labels provided for envelopes used for transmitting an absentee ballot to and from an applicant for an absentee ballot for a state primary or state general election must contain bar codes generated by the statewide voter registration system to facilitate the recording required under this section. A county auditor or municipal clerk entering information into the statewide voter registration system under this section must include the information provided on the bar code label whenever information is entered into the system.

History: 2010 c 194 s 4

203B.07 RETURN AND BALLOT ENVELOPES; DIRECTIONS TO VOTERS.

Subdivision 1. Delivery of envelopes, directions. The county auditor or the municipal clerk shall prepare, print, and transmit a return envelope, a ballot envelope, and a copy of the directions for casting an absentee ballot to each applicant whose application for absentee ballots is accepted pursuant to section 203B.04. The county auditor or municipal clerk shall provide first class postage for the return envelope. The directions for casting an absentee ballot shall be printed in at least 14-point bold type with heavy leading and may be printed on the ballot envelope. When a person requests the directions in Braille or on audio file, the county auditor or municipal clerk shall provide them in the form requested. The secretary of state shall prepare Braille and audio file copies and make them available.

When a voter registration application is sent to the applicant as provided in section 203B.06, subdivision 4, the directions or registration application shall include instructions for registering to vote.

Subd. 2. Design of envelopes. The return envelope shall be of sufficient size to conveniently enclose and contain the ballot envelope and a folded voter registration application. The return envelope shall be designed to open on the left-hand end. The return envelope must be designed in one of the following ways:

(1)          it must be of sufficient size to contain an additional envelope that when sealed, conceals the signature, identification, and other information; or

(2)          it must provide an additional flap that when sealed, conceals the signature, identification, and other information.

(3)          Election officials may open the flap or the additional envelope at any time after receiving the returned ballot to inspect the returned certificate for completeness or to ascertain other information.

Subd. 3. Eligibility certificate. A certificate of eligibility to vote by absentee ballot shall be printed on the back of the return envelope. The certificate shall contain space for the voter’s Minnesota driver’s license number, state identification number, or the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number, or to indicate that the voter does not have one of these numbers. The space must be designed to ensure that the voter

provides the same type of identification as provided on the voter’s absentee ballot application for purposes of comparison. The certificate must also contain a statement to be signed and sworn by the voter indicating that the voter meets all of the requirements established by law for voting by absentee ballot and space for a statement signed by a person who is registered to vote in Minnesota or by a notary public or other individual authorized to administer oaths stating that:

(1)          the ballots were displayed to that individual unmarked;

(2)          the voter marked the ballots in that individual's presence without showing

(3)          how they were marked, or, if the voter was physically unable to mark them, that the voter

(4)          directed another individual to mark them; and

(5)          if the voter was not previously registered, the voter has provided proof of residence as required by section 201.061, subdivision 3.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 7; 1984 c 471 s 4; 1999 c 132 s 10; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 13; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 24; 2008

c 244 art 1 s 6; 2008 c 244 art 2 s 13; 2010 c 194 s 5, 6; 2015 c 70 art 1 s12

NOTES AND DECISIONS 203B.07

Provisions pertaining generally to absentee voters are also available to members of the armed forces and their families. Bell v. Gannaway, 227 N.W. 2d 797 (Minn. 1975).

Absentee ballots held to strict compliance with legal requirements. Id.

Absentee ballots may not be challenged after deposit in ballot box, except for facial defects. Id.

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. If delivered in person, the return envelope must be submitted to the county auditor or municipal clerk by 3:00 p.m. on election day.

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. 2. Address on return envelopes. The county auditor or municipal clerk shall address return envelopes to allow direct mailing of the absentee ballots to the county auditor or municipal clerk who has the responsibility to accept and reject the absentee ballots.

Subd. 3. Procedures on receipt of ballots. When absentee ballots are returned to a county auditor or municipal clerk, that official shall stamp or initial and date the return envelope and place it in a secure location with other return envelopes received by that office. Within five days after receipt, the county auditor or municipal clerk shall deliver to ballot board all ballots received, except that during the 14 days immediately preceding an election, the county auditor or municipal clerk shall deliver all ballots received to the ballot board within three days. Ballots received on election day either (1) after 3:00 p.m., if delivered in person; or (2) after 8 p.m., if delivered by mail or a package delivery service, shall be marked as received late by the county auditor or municipal clerk, and must not be delivered to the ballot board.

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.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 8; 1983 c 253 s 2,3; 1986 c 362 s 1,2; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 16; 1990 c 453 s 2; 1997 c 147 s

16; 1999 c 132 s 11; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 22; 2008 c 244 art 2 s 14; 2010 c 194 s 7, 8; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 15; 2015 c 70

art 1 s 13, 14

NOTES AND DECISIONS 203B.08

Plaintiffs were likely to succeed on merits of claim that consent decree entered by state court extending absentee-ballot counting deadline beyond Election Day violated Electors Clause of U.S. Constitution. Carson v. Simon, 978 F.3d 1051 (8th Cir. 2020).

Plaintiff were not likely to succeed on merits of claim that provision limiting ballot-delivery assistant to delivering no more than three absentee ballots per election was unconstitutional or preempted by federal Voting Rights Act. DSCC v. Simon, 950 N.W.2d 280 (Minn. 2020).

203B.081 LOCATIONS AND METHODS FOR ABSENTEE VOTING IN PERSON.

Subdivision 1. Location; timing. An eligible voter may vote by absentee ballot in the office of the county auditor and at any other polling place designated by the county auditor during the 46 days before the election, except as provided in this section.

Subd. 2. Town elections. Voters casting absentee ballots in person for a town election held in March may do so during the 30 days before the election. The county auditor shall make such designations at least 14 weeks before the election. At least one voting booth in each polling place must be made available by the county auditor for this purpose. The county auditor must also make available at least one electronic ballot marker in

each polling place that has implemented a voting system that is accessible for individuals with disabilities pursuant to section 206.57, subdivision 5.

Subd. 3. Alternative procedure. (a) The county auditor may make available a ballot counter and ballot box for use by the voters during the seven days before the election. If a ballot counter and ballot box is provided, a voter must be given the option either (1) to vote using the process provided in section 203B.08, subdivision 1, or

(2) to vote in the manner provided in this subdivision.

(b)          If a voter chooses to vote in the manner provided in this subdivision, the voter must state the voter’s name, address, and date of birth to the county auditor or municipal clerk. The voter shall sign a voter’s certificate, which must include the voter’s name, identification number, and the certification required by section 201.071, subdivision 1. The signature of an individual on the voter’s certificate and the issuance of a ballot to the individual is evidence of the intent of the individual to vote at that election.

(c)           After signing the voter’s certificate, the voter shall be issued a ballot and immediately retire to a voting station or other designated location in the polling place to mark the ballot. The ballot must not be taken from the polling place. If the voter spoils the ballot, the voter may return it to the election official in exchange for a new ballot. After completing the ballot, the voter shall deposit the ballot into the ballot box.

(d)          The election official must immediately record that the voter has voted in the manner provided in section 203B.121, subdivision 3.

(e)          The election duties required by this subdivision must be performed by the county auditor, municipal clerk, or a deputy of the auditor or clerk.

History: 1997 c 147 s 17; 1999 c 132 s 12; 2008 c 244 art 1 s 7; 2010 c 184 s 6; 2010 c 201 s 18; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 16; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 2

NOTES AND DECISIONS 203B.081

County auditors may designate sites for early voting in three ways: (1) absentee balloting alone during entire 46-day period before election; (2) both ballot counter-ballot box voting and absentee balloting during 7-day period before election; or (3) absentee balloting during 46-day period; with additional voter option of ballot counter-ballot box voting during final 7 days of period. Op. Atty. Gen. 185a-5 (Jan. 2, 2020).

203B.085 COUNTY AUDITOR’S OFFICE AND MUNICIPAL CLERK’S OFFICES TO REMAIN OPEN DURING CERTAIN HOURS PRECEDING ELECTION.

The county auditor's office in each county and the clerk's office in each city or town authorized under section 203B.05 to administer absentee balloting must be open for acceptance of absentee ballot applications and casting of absentee ballots from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday and until 5:00 p.m. on the day immediately preceding a primary, special, or general election unless that day falls on a Saturday or Sunday.

Town clerks' offices must be open for absentee voting from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on the Saturday before a town general election held in March. The school district clerk, when performing the county auditor's election duties, need not comply with this section.

History: 1983 c 303 s 4; 1991 c 265 art 9 s 61; 1999 c 132 s 13; 2000 c 467 s 8; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 13

203B.09 FORM AND CONTENT OF REQUIRED MATERIALS; RULES OF SECRETARY OF STATE.

The secretary of state shall adopt rules establishing the form, content, and type size and style for the printing of blank applications for absentee ballots, absentee voter lists, return envelopes, certificates of eligibility to vote by absentee ballot, ballot envelopes and directions for casting an absentee ballot. Any official charged with the duty of printing any of these materials shall do so in accordance with these rules.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 9; 1990 c 585 s 20

203B.11 HOSPITAL PATIENTS AND RESIDENTS OF HEALTH CARE FACILITIES.

Subdivision 1. Generally. Each full-time municipal clerk or school district clerk who has authority under section 203B.05 to administer absentee voting laws shall designate election judges to deliver absentee ballots in accordance with this section. The county auditor must also designate election judges to perform the duties in this section. A ballot may be delivered only to an eligible voter who is a temporary or permanent resident or patient in a health care facility or hospital located in the municipality in which the voter maintains residence.

The ballots shall be delivered by two election judges, each of whom is affiliated with a different major political party. When the election judges deliver or return ballots as provided in this section, they shall travel together in the same vehicle. Both election judges shall be present when an applicant completes the certificate of eligibility and marks the absentee ballots, and may assist an applicant as provided in section 204C.15. The election judges shall deposit the return envelopes containing the marked absentee ballots in a sealed container and return them to the clerk on the same day that they are delivered and marked.

Subd. 2. Twenty days before an election. During the 20 days preceding an election, the election judges shall deliver absentee ballots only to an eligible voter who has applied for absentee ballots to the county auditor or municipal clerk under section 203B.04, subdivision 1.

Subd. 3. Election day. On election day, the election judges shall deliver absentee ballots only to an eligible voter who on the day before the election became a resident or patient in a health care facility or hospital and who has applied for absentee ballots under section 203B.04, subdivision 2.

Subd. 4. Agent delivery of ballots. During the seven days preceding an election and until 2:00 p.m. on election day, an eligible voter who would have difficulty getting to the polls because of incapacitating health reasons, or who is disabled, or who is a patient of a health care facility, a resident of a facility providing assisted living services governed by chapter 144G, a participant in a residential program for adults licensed under section 245A.02, subdivision 14, or a resident of a shelter for battered women as defined in section 611A.37, subdivision 4, may designate an agent to deliver the ballots to the voter from the county auditor or municipal clerk. An agent must have a preexisting relationship with the voter. A candidate at the election may not be designated as an agent. The voted ballots must be returned to the county auditor or municipal clerk no later than 3:00 p.m. on election day. The voter must complete an affidavit requesting the auditor or clerk to provide the agent with the ballots in a sealed transmittal envelope. The affidavit must include a statement from the voter stating that the ballots were delivered to the voter by the agent in the sealed transmittal envelope. An agent may deliver ballots to no more than three persons in any election. The secretary of state shall provide samples of the affidavit and transmission envelope for use by the county auditors.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 11; 1983 c 253 s 4; 1997 c 147 s 18,19; 1999 c 132 s 14,15; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 25; 2006;

2008 c 295 s 10

203B.12 ABSENTEE VOTER NAMES.

Subd. 7. Names of persons; rejected absentee ballots. (a) The names of voters who have submitted an absentee ballot to the county auditor or municipal clerk that has not been accepted may not be made available for public inspection until the close of voting on election day.

(b) After the close of voting on election day, the lists must be available to the public in the same manner as public information lists in section 201.091, subdivisions 4, 5, and 9.

Subd. 8. Names of persons; accepted absentee ballots. For all elections where use of the statewide voter registration system is required, the secretary of state must maintain a list of voters who have submitted absentee ballots that have been accepted. For all other elections, the county auditor or municipal clerk must maintain a list of voters who have submitted absentee ballots that have been accepted. The lists must be available to the public in the same manner as public information lists in section 201.091, subdivision 4, 5, and 9.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 12; 1981 c 185 s 2; 1983 c 253 s 5,6; 1984 c 560 s 6-9; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 18; 1989 c 291

art 1 s 5,6; 1990 c 585 s 21,22; 1991 c 320 s 1; 1997 c 147 s 20,21; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 23; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 26;

1Sp2005 c 7 s 21; 2010 c 194 s 27; 2014 c 264 s 10 & 11; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 3

NOTES AND DECISIONS 203B.12

Trial court order in contest of election for United States Senator, rejecting certain absentee ballots on basis that ballots did not strictly comply with one or more of the statutory requirements for voting by absentee ballot, did not violate contestant’s substantive due process rights, because order did not represent a post election change in standards by which the validity of absentee ballots were to be determined; strict compliance with the statutory requirements for absentee voting had always been required, because voting by absentee ballot was a privilege granted by the legislature. Order also did not violate contestant’s equal protection rights, absent showing that trial court acted to intentionally or purposefully discriminate against an individual or class. In re Contest of General Election Held on November 4, 2008, for Purpose of Electing a U.S. Senator from State of Minnesota, 767 N.W.2d 453 (Minn. 2009).

During automatic administrative recount, absent a voluntary agreement between local election officials and two candidates for seat in United States Senate that absentee ballots had been rejected in error and that the absentee-ballot envelopes should be opened and the ballots should be counted, resolution of whether the absentee ballots were rejected in error would have to await an election contest proceeding. Coleman v. Ritchie, 759 N.W.2d 47 (Minn. 2009).

Absentee ballot may not be challenged after deposit in ballot box except for invalidity on the face of the ballot. Bell v. Gannaway, 227 N.W. 2d 797 (Minn. 1975).

Absentee ballot, which was torn and had been repaired by tape, was properly allowed on theory that it was mutilated ballot presumed to have been torn after it was received and counted by election officers. Sperl v. Wegwerth, 265 Minn. 47, 120 N.W. 2d 355 (1963).

203B.121 BALLOT BOARDS.

Amendments to subds. 2 & 4 are effective August 1, 2021             Subdivision 1. Establishment; applicable laws. (a) The governing body of each county, municipality, and

school district with responsibility to accept and reject absentee ballots must, by ordinance or resolution,

establish a ballot board. The board must consist of a sufficient number of election judges trained in the handling of absentee ballots and appointed as provided in sections 204B.19 to 204B.22. The board may include deputy county auditors or deputy city clerks who have received training in the processing and counting of absentee ballots.

(b)          Each jurisdiction must pay a reasonable compensation to each member of that jurisdiction’s ballot

board for services rendered during an election.

(c)           Except as otherwise provided by this section, all provisions of the Minnesota Election Law apply to a ballot board.

Subd. 2. Duties of ballot board; absentee ballots. (a) The members of the ballot board shall take possession of all return signature envelopes delivered to them in accordance with section 203B.08. Upon receipt from the county auditor, municipal clerk, or school district clerk, two or more members of the ballot board shall examine each return signature envelope and shall mark it accepted or rejected in the manner provided in this subdivision. 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, subdivision 2.

(b)          The members of the ballot board shall mark the return signature envelope “Accepted” and initial or sign the return signature envelope below the word “Accepted” if a majority of the members of the ballot board examining the envelope are satisfied that:

(1)          the voter’s name and address on the return signature envelope are the same as the information provided on the absentee ballot application;

(2)          the voter signed the certification on the envelope;

(3)          the voter’s Minnesota driver’s license, state identification number, or the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number are the same as a number on the voter’s absentee ballot application or voter record. If the number does not match, the election judges must compare the signature provided by the applicant to determine whether the ballots were returned by the same person to whom they were transmitted;

(4)          the voter is registered and eligible to vote in the precinct or has included a properly completed voter registration application in the return signature envelope;

(5)          the certificate has been completed as prescribed in the directions for casting an absentee ballot; and

(6)          the voter has not already voted at that election, either in person or, if it is after the close of business on the seventh day before the election, by absentee ballot.

The return signature envelope from accepted ballots must be preserved and returned to the county auditor.

(c)(1) If a majority of the members of the ballot board examining a return signature envelope find that an absentee voter has failed to meet one of the requirements provided in paragraph (b), they shall mark the return signature envelope “Rejected,” initial or sign it below the word “Rejected,” list the reason for the rejection on the envelope, and return it to the county auditor. There is no other reason for rejecting an absentee ballot beyond those permitted by this section. Failure to place the ballot within the security secrecy envelope before placing it in the outer white envelope is not a reason to reject an absentee ballot.

(2)          If an envelope has been rejected at least five days before the election, the envelope must remain sealed and the official in charge of the ballot board shall provide the voter with a replacement absentee ballot and return signature envelope in place of the rejected ballot.

(3)          If an envelope 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.

(d)          The official in charge of the absentee ballot board must mail the voter a written notice of absentee ballot rejection between six and ten weeks following the election. If the official determines that the voter has otherwise cast a ballot in the election, no notice is required. If an absentee ballot arrives after the deadline for submission provided by this chapter, the notice must be provided between six to ten weeks after receipt of the ballot. A notice of absentee ballot rejection must contain the following information:

(1)          the date on which the absentee ballot was rejected or, if the ballot was received after the required deadline for submission, the date on which the ballot was received;

(2)          the reason for rejection; and

(3)          the name of the appropriate election official to whom the voter may direct further questions, along with appropriate contact information.

(e)          An absentee ballot return signature envelope marked “Rejected” may not be opened or subject to

further review except in an election contest filed pursuant to chapter 209.

Subd. 3. Record of voting. (a) When applicable, the county auditor or municipal clerk must immediately record that a voter’s absentee ballot has been accepted. After the close of business on the seventh day before the election, a voter whose record indicates that an absentee ballot has been accepted must not be permitted to cast another ballot at that election. In a state primary, general, or state special election for federal or state office, the auditor or clerk must also record this information in the statewide voter registration system.

(b)          The roster must be marked, and a supplemental report of absentee voters who submitted a voter registration application with their ballot must be created, no later than the start of voting on election day to indicate the voters that have already cast a ballot at the election. The roster may be marked either:

(1)          by the county auditor or municipal clerk before election day;

(2)          by the ballot board before election day; or

(3)          by the election judges at the polling place on election day.

The record of a voter whose absentee ballot was received after the close of business on the seventh day before the election is not required to be marked on the roster or contained in a supplemental report as required by this paragraph.

Subd. 4. Opening of envelopes. After the close of business on the seventh day before the election, the ballots from return secrecy envelopes within the signature envelopes marked “Accepted” may be opened, duplicated as needed in the manner provided in section 206.86, subdivision 5, initialed by the members of the ballot board, and deposited in the appropriate ballot box. If more than one voted ballot is enclosed in the ballot envelope, the ballots must be returned in the manner provided by section 204C.25 for return of spoiled ballots, and may not be counted.

Subd. 5. Storage and counting of absentee ballots. (a) On a day on which absentee ballots are inserted into a ballot box, two members of the ballot board must:

(1)          remove the ballots from the ballot box at the end of the day;

(2)          without inspecting the ballots, ensure that the number of ballots removed from the ballot box is equal to the number of voters whose absentee ballots were accepted that day; and

(3)          seal and secure all voted and unvoted ballots present in that location at the end of the day.

(b)          After the polls have closed on election day, two members of the ballot board must count the ballots, tabulating the vote in a manner that indicates each vote of the voter and total votes cast for each candidate or question. In state primary and state general elections, the results must indicate the total votes cast for each candidate or question in each precinct and report the vote totals tabulated for each precinct. The count must be recorded on a summary statement in substantially the same format as provided in section 204C.26. The ballot board shall submit at least one completed summary statement to the county auditor or municipal clerk. The county auditor or municipal clerk may require the ballot board to submit a sufficient number of completed summary statements to comply with the provisions of section 204C.27, or the county auditor or municipal clerk may certify reports containing the details of the ballot board summary statement to the recipients of the summary statements designated in section 204C.27.

In state primary and state general elections, these vote totals shall be added to the vote totals on the summary statements of the returns for the appropriate precinct. In other elections, these vote totals may be added to the vote totals on the summary statement of returns for the appropriate precinct or may be reported as a separate total.

The count shall be public. No vote totals from ballots may be made public before the close of voting on election day.

(c)           In addition to the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b), if the task has not been completed previously, the members of the ballot board must verify as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours after the end of the hours for voting, that voters whose absentee ballots arrived after the rosters were marked or supplemental reports were generated and whose ballots were accepted did not vote in person on election day. An absentee ballot submitted by a voter who has voted in person on election day must be rejected. All other accepted absentee ballots must be opened, duplicated if necessary, and counted by members of the ballot board. The vote totals from these ballots must be incorporated into the totals with the other absentee ballots and handled according to paragraph (b).

History: 2010 c 194 s 9; 2010 c 314 s 4; 2013 c 131 art 1 s 6-8; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 17, 18; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 15;

2019 1st special session c 10 art 4 s 3; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 4-5

NOTES AND DECISIONS 203B.121

Challengers do not have any role or authority within the ballot-board process. Op. Atty. Gen. 182 (Oct. 16, 2020).

203B.125 SECRETARY OF STATE TO MAKE RULES.

The secretary of state shall adopt rules establishing methods and procedures for issuing ballot cards and related absentee forms to be used as provided in section 203B.08, subdivision 1a, and for the reconciliation of voters and ballot cards before tabulation under section 204C.20, subdivision 1.

History: 1983 c 253 s 7; 2010 c 194 s 10

203B.14 COUNTY AUDITOR OR MUNICIPAL CLERK MAY EMPLOY ADDITIONAL HELP.

Each county auditor and each municipal clerk may employ additional clerical assistance as necessary to discharge the responsibilities imposed on the county auditor or municipal clerk as provided in this chapter.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 14

203B.15 ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES.

Each county shall pay the expenses incurred by its county auditor and each municipality or school district shall pay the expenses incurred by its clerk for administering the provisions of sections 203B.04 to 203B.15.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 15; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 20

MILITARY AND OVERSEAS CITIZENS ABSENTEE VOTING 203B.16 ABSENT VOTERS IN THE MILITARY OR OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES.

Subdivision 1. Military service; temporary residence outside United States. Sections 203B.16 to 203B.27 provide alternative voting procedures for eligible voters who are absent from the precinct where they maintain residence because they are:

(1)          either in the military or the spouses or dependents of individuals serving in the military; or

(2)          temporarily outside the territorial limits of the United States.

Sections 203B.16 to 203B.27 are intended to implement the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, United States Code, title 52, sections 20301 to 20310.

Subd. 2. Indefinite residence outside United States. Sections 203B.16 to 203B.27 provide the exclusive voting procedure for United States citizens who are living indefinitely outside the territorial limits of the United States who meet all the qualifications of an eligible voter except residence in Minnesota, but who are authorized by federal law to vote in Minnesota because they or, if they have never resided in the United States, a parent maintained residence in Minnesota for at least 20 days immediately prior to their departure from the United States. Individuals described in this subdivision shall be permitted to vote only for the offices of president,

vice-president, senator in Congress, and representative in Congress.

Subd. 4. Duties of secretary of state. The secretary of state shall provide information regarding voter registration and absentee balloting procedures to be used by absent uniformed services voters, their spouses and dependents, and overseas voters.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 16; 1997 c 147 s 24; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 14; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 24; 2008 c 190 s 14;

2010 c 201 s 19; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 16, 17

203B.17 APPLICATION FOR BALLOT.

Subdivision 1. Submission of application. (a) An application for absentee ballots for a voter described in section 203B.16 must be in writing and may be submitted in person, by mail, by electronic facsimile device, by electronic mail, or electronically through a secure Web site that shall be maintained by the secretary of state for this purpose, upon determination by the secretary of state that security concerns have been adequately addressed. An application for absentee ballots for a voter described in section 203B.16 may be submitted by that voter or by that voter's parent, spouse, sister, brother, or child over the age of 18 years.

(b)          An application for a voter described in section 203B.16, subdivision 1, shall be submitted to the county auditor of the county where the voter maintains residence or through the secure Web site maintained by the secretary of state.

(c)           An application for a voter described in section 203B.16, subdivision 2, shall be submitted to the county auditor of the county where the voter or the voter’s parent last maintained residence in Minnesota or through the secure Web site maintained by the secretary of state.

(d)          An application for absentee ballots shall be valid for any primary, special primary, general election, or special election from the time the application is received through the end of that calendar year or through the next regularly scheduled state general election, whichever is later.

(e)          There shall be no limitation of time for filing and receiving applications for ballots under sections 203B.16 to 203B.27.

Subd. 2. Required information. An application shall be accepted if it contains the following information stated under oath:

(a)          the voter's name, birthdate, and present address of residence in Minnesota, or former address of residence or parent’s former address of residence in Minnesota if the voter is living permanently outside the United States;

(b)          a statement indicating that the voter is in the military, or is the spouse or dependent of an individual serving in the military, or is temporarily outside the territorial limits of the United States, or is living permanently outside the territorial limits of the United States and voting under federal law;

(c)           a statement that the voter expects to be absent from the precinct at the time of the election;

(d)          the address to which absentee ballots are to be mailed;

(e)          the voter's signature or the signature and relationship of the individual authorized to apply on the voter's behalf;

(f)           the voter's passport number, Minnesota driver's license or state identification card number, or the last four digits of the voter's social security number; if the voter does not have access to any of

these documents, the voter or other individual requesting absentee ballots may attest to the truthfulness of the contents of the application under penalty of perjury; and

(g)          the voter’s e-mail address, if the application was submitted electronically through the secure Web site maintained by the secretary of state.

Notwithstanding clause (f), an application submitted through the secretary of state’s Web site must include the voter’s verifiable Minnesota driver’s license number, Minnesota state identification card number, or the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number, and may only be transmitted to the county auditor for processing if the secretary of state has verified the application information matches the information in a government database associated with the applicant’s driver’s license number, state identification card number, or Social Security number. The secretary of state must review all unverifiable applications for evidence of suspicious activity and must forward any such application to an appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation.

Subd. 3. Web site security. (a) The secretary of state shall maintain a log of each Internet Protocol address used to submit an absentee ballot application electronically under this section, and must monitor the log, volume of Web site use, and other appropriate indicators for suspicious activity. Evidence of suspicious activity that cannot be resolved by the secretary of state must be forwarded to an appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation.

(b)          The electronic absentee ballot application system must be secure. The Web site shall maintain the confidentiality of all users and preserve the integrity of the data submitted. The secretary of state shall employ security measures to ensure the accuracy and integrity of absentee ballot applications submitted electronically pursuant to this section. All data sent and received through the Web site must be encrypted.

(c)           The secretary of state must provide ongoing testing and monitoring to ensure continued security. The secretary of state must work with the chief information officer as defined in section 16E.01, subdivision 1, or another security expert to annually assess the security of the system. The security assessment must include a certification signed by the secretary of state that states that adequate security measures are in place. The certification must also be signed by the chief information officer or another security expert affirming that the assessment is accurate. The secretary of state must submit the security assessment to the legislative auditor and to the chairs and ranking minority members of the committees in the senate and house of representatives with primary jurisdiction over elections by January 1 of each year, except that the first annual security assessment must be submitted by September 30, 2014, and no report is required for January 1, 2015.

(d)          In developing the electronic absentee ballot application system, the secretary of state must consult with the chief information officer or the chief's designee to ensure the site is secure.

History:1981 c 29 art 3 s 17; 1985 c 72 s 1; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 15; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 25; 2008 c 190 s 2; 2010 c

184 s 8; 2014 c 185 s 10; 2014 c 264 s 12; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 18, 19; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 3

NOTES AND DECISIONS 203B.17

Statutes generally applicable to absentee voters are equally available to servicemen. Bell v. Gannaway, 303 Minn. 346, 227 N.W.2d 797 (1975).

Former provision interpreted as prohibiting auditor who is candidate for reelection from printing his name on envelope, return envelope, or in explanatory note. Op. Atty. Gen. 639A, June 16, 1950.

Application form supplied by the federal authorities for absentee voting by members of the armed forces should be treated as substantial compliance with former section pertaining to absentee ballot applications from members of armed forces. Op. Atty. Gen. 639F, June 1, 1948.

Liberality should be exercised when considering request for ballots filed by soldiers. Op. Atty. Gen. 639E, March 24, 1944.

203B.18 FORWARDING APPLICATIONS.

If an application for absentee ballots under sections 203B.16 to 203B.27, is received by the secretary of state or by any election official other than the proper county auditor described in section 203B.17, subdivision 1, that official shall forward the application to the appropriate county auditor.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 18

203B.19 RECORDING APPLICATIONS.

Upon accepting an application, the county auditor shall record in the statewide registration system the voter's name, address of present or former residence in Minnesota, mailing address, school district number, passport number, Minnesota driver's license number or state identification card number, or the last four digits of the voter's social security number, and whether the voter is in the military or the spouse or dependent of an individual serving in the military, is a voter temporarily outside the territorial limits of the United States, or is living permanently outside the territorial limits of the United States and voting under federal law. The county auditor shall retain the record for six years. A voter whose name is recorded as provided in this section shall not be required to register under any other provision of law in order to vote under sections 203B.16 to 203B.27.

Persons from whom applications are not accepted must be notified by the county auditor and provided with the reasons for the rejection.

No later than 60 days after the general election, the county auditor shall report to the secretary of state the combined number of absentee ballots transmitted to and the combined number of absentee ballots returned and cast by absent voters described in section 203B.16. The secretary of state may require the information be reported by category under section 203B.16 or by precinct.

No later than 90 days after the general election, the secretary of state shall report to the federal Election Assistance Commission the number of absentee ballots transmitted to voters under section 203B.16.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 19; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 21; 1997 c 147 s 25; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 26; 2008 c 190 s 3; 2010 c

201 s 20

203B.20 CHALLENGES.

Except as provided in this section, the eligibility or residence of a voter whose application for absentee ballots is recorded under section 203B.19 may be challenged in the manner set forth by section 201.195. The county auditor shall not be required to serve a copy of the petition and notice of hearing on the challenged voter. If the absentee ballot application was submitted on behalf of a voter by an individual authorized under section 203B.17, subdivision 1, paragraph (a), the county auditor must attempt to notify the individual who submitted the application of the challenge. The county auditor may contact other registered voters to request information that may resolve any discrepancies appearing in the application. All reasonable doubt shall be resolved in favor of the validity of the application. If the voter’s challenge is affirmed, the county auditor shall provide the challenged voter with a copy of the petition and the decision and shall inform the voter of the right to appeal as provided in section 201.195.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 20; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 27; 2008 c 190 s 3

203B.21 BALLOTS AND ENVELOPES.

Subdivision 1. Form. Absentee ballots under sections 203B.16 to 203B.27 shall conform to the requirements of the Minnesota election law, except that modifications in the size or form of ballots or envelopes may be made if necessary to satisfy the requirements of the United States postal service. The return envelope must be designed in one of the following ways:

(1)          it must be of sufficient size to contain an additional envelope that when sealed, conceals the signature, identification, and other information; or

(2)          it must provide an additional flap that when sealed, conceals the signature, identification, and other information. The flap or the additional envelope must be perforated to permit election officials to inspect the returned certificate for completeness or to ascertain other information at any time after receiving the returned ballot without opening the return envelope.

Subd. 2. Mailing of ballots; return. Ballots and instructions for marking them, ballot envelopes, and return envelopes shall be sent by first class mail to addresses within the continental United States and by air mail to addresses outside the continental United States. The ballot envelope and return envelope shall be marked

“Official Ballot,” and shall contain sufficient postage to assure proper return delivery. The return envelope shall be addressed to comply with any method for return of absentee ballots as authorized under section 203B.08, subdivision 2. The requirements of this subdivision do not apply to ballots and related materials provided under section 203B.225.

Subd. 3. Back of return envelope. On the back of the return envelope a certificate shall appear with space for:

(1)          the voter's address of present or former residence in Minnesota;

(2)          the voter's current e-mail address, if the voter has one;

(3)          a statement indicating the category described in section 203B.16 to which the voter belongs;

(4)          a statement that the voter has not cast and will not cast another absentee ballot in the same election or elections;

(5)          a statement that the voter personally marked the ballots without showing them to anyone, or if physically unable to mark them, that the voter directed another individual to mark them; and

(6)          the same voter's passport number, Minnesota driver's license or state identification card number, or the last four digits of the voter's social security number as provided on the absentee ballot application; if the voter does not access to any of these documents, the voter may attest to the truthfulness of the contents of the certificate under penalty of perjury.

The certificate shall also contain a signed oath in the form required by section 705 of the Help America Vote Act, Public Law 107-252, which must read:

"I swear or affirm, under penalty of perjury, that:

I am a member of the uniformed services or merchant marine on active duty or an eligible spouse or dependent of such a member; a United States citizen temporarily residing outside the

United States; or other United States citizen residing outside the United States; and I am a United States citizen, at least 18 years of age (or will be by the date of the election), and I am eligible to vote in the requested jurisdiction; I have not been convicted of a felony, or other disqualifying offense, or been adjudicated mentally incompetent, or, if so, my voting rights have been reinstated; and I am not registering, requesting a ballot, or voting in any other jurisdiction in the United States except the jurisdiction cited in this voting form. In voting, I have marked and sealed my ballot in private and have not allowed any person to observe the marking of the ballot, except for those authorized to assist voters under state or federal law. I have not been influenced.

The information on this form is true, accurate, and complete to the best of my knowledge. I understand that a material misstatement of fact in completion of this document may constitute grounds for a conviction for perjury."

Subd. 4. Names on envelopes, instructions. No envelope, return envelope, or instruction to voters shall contain the name of an individual who appears as a candidate on any enclosed ballot.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 21; 1983 c 303 s 5; 1985 c 72 s 2; 1991 c 320 s 3; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 28, 29; 2008 c 190 s 5,

6; 2012 c 250 s 1

203B.22 TRANSMITTING BALLOTS.

(a)          The county auditor shall transmit the appropriate ballots, as promptly as possible, to an absent voter whose application has been recorded under section 203B.19. If the county auditor determines that a voter is not eligible to vote at the primary but will be eligible to vote at the general election, only general election ballots shall be transmitted. Only one set of ballots shall be transmitted to any applicant for any election, except that the county auditor may transmit a replacement ballot to a voter whose ballot has been spoiled or lost in transit or whose mailing address has changed after the date on which the original application was submitted as confirmed by the county auditor. Ballots to be sent outside the United States shall be given priority in transmission. A county auditor may make use of any special service provided by the United States government for the transmission of voting materials under sections 203B.16 to 203B.27.

(b)          The county auditor must transmit the appropriate ballots by express mail immediately upon discovery that the ballots were not properly transmitted to the voter as a result of the following circumstances: (1) an application was received by the county auditor by the close of business at least 46 days before the election; (2) the county auditor failed to transmit the appropriate ballots by the 46th day before the election; and (3) the voter did not request that the ballots be electronically transmitted to the voter under section 203B.225, subdivision 1.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 22; 2008 c 190 s 7; 2010 c 184 s 9; 2014 c 264 s 13

203B.225 TRANSMITTING AND RETURNING BALLOTS.

Subdivision 1. Transmitting ballot and certificate of voter eligibility. A voter described in section 203B.16 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. Upon receipt of a properly completed application requesting electronic transmission, the county auditor shall electronically transmit the requested materials to the voter. The county auditor is not required to provide return postage to voters to whom ballots are transmitted electronically.

Subd. 2. Returning voted ballots. The voter must return the voted ballots and the certificate of voter eligibility to the county auditor in a sealed envelope.

History: 2008 c 190 s 8; 2010 c 184 s 10

203B.227 WRITE-IN ABSENTEE BALLOT.

(a)          A voter described in section 203B.16, subdivision 1, may use the federal write-in absentee ballot to vote in any federal, state, or local election. In a state or local election, a vote for a political party without specifying the name of a candidate must not be counted.

(b)          If a voter submits a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot for which a Federal Post Card Application was not received, the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot serves as a voter registration, for voters who are eligible to

register, in lieu of the voter’s Federal Post Card Application. If the voter has not already voted and the accompanying certificate is properly completed, the absentee ballot board must accept the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot.

History: 2008 c 190 s 9; 2008 c 336 s 1; 2010 c 201 s 21; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 19

203B.23 ABSENTEE BALLOT BOARD.

Subdivision 1. Establishment. The county auditor must establish an absentee ballot board for ballots issued under sections 203B.16 to 203B.27. The board may consist of staff trained as election judges, in which case, the board is exempt from sections 204B.19, subdivision 5, and 204C.15, relating to party balance in appointment of judges and to duties to be performed by judges of different major political parties.

Subd. 2. Duties. The absentee ballot board must examine all returned absentee ballot envelopes for ballots issued under sections 203B.16 to 203B.27 and accept or reject the absentee ballots in the manner provided in section 203B.24. If the certificate of voter eligibility is not printed on the return or administrative envelope, the certificate must be attached to the ballot secrecy envelope.

The absentee ballot board must immediately examine the return envelopes and mark them "accepted" or "rejected" during the 45 days before the election. If an envelope has been rejected at least five days before the election, the ballots in the envelope must be considered spoiled ballots and the official in charge of the absentee ballot board must provide the voter with a replacement absentee ballot and return envelope in place of the spoiled ballot.

If a county has delegated the responsibility for administering absentee balloting to a municipality under section 203B.05, accepted absentee ballots must be delivered to the appropriate municipality’s absentee ballot board. The absentee ballot board with the authority to open and count the ballots must do so in accordance with section 203B.121, subdivisions 4 and 5.

Subd. 3. Applicable laws. Except as otherwise provided in this section, all the laws applicable to absentee ballots and absentee voters and all other provisions of the Minnesota Election Law apply to an absentee ballot board.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 23; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 22; 2008 c 190 s 10; 2010 c 184 s 11; 2010 c 194 s 11; 2010 c 194

s 12, 13

NOTES AND DECISIONS 203B.23

Challengers do not have any role or authority within the ballot-board process. Op. Atty. Gen. 182 (Oct. 16, 2020).

203B.24 DUTIES OF ELECTION JUDGES.

Amendment to subd. 1 is effective August 1, 2021           Subdivision 1. Check of voter eligibility; proper execution of certificate. Upon receipt of an absentee

ballot returned as provided in sections 203B.16 to 203B.27, the election judges shall compare the voter's name

with the names recorded under section 203B.19 in the statewide registration system to insure that the ballot is from a voter eligible to cast an absentee ballot under sections 203B.16 to 203B.27. The election judges shall mark the return signature envelope "Accepted" and initial or sign the return signature envelope below the word "Accepted" if the election judges are satisfied that:

(1)          the voter's name and address on the return signature envelope appears in substantially the same form as on the application records provided to the election judges by the county auditor;

(2)          the voter has signed the federal oath prescribed pursuant to section 705(b)(2) of the Help America Vote Act, Public Law 107-252;

(3)          the voter has set forth the same voter's passport number, or Minnesota driver's license or state identification card number, or the last four digits of the voter's social security number as submitted on the application, if the voter has one of these documents;

(4)          the voter is not known to have died; and

(5)          the voter has not already voted at that election, either in person or by absentee ballot.

If the identification number described in clause (3) does not match the number as submitted on the application, the election judges must make a reasonable effort to satisfy themselves through other information provided by the applicant, or by an individual authorized to apply on behalf of the voter, that the ballots were returned by the same person to whom the ballots were transmitted.

An absentee ballot cast pursuant to sections 203B.16 to 203B.27 may only be rejected for the lack of one of clauses (1) to (5). In particular, failure to place the ballot within the security secrecy envelope before placing it in the outer white envelope is not a reason to reject an absentee ballot.

Election judges must note the reason for rejection on the back of the envelope in the space provided for that purpose.

Failure to return unused ballots shall not invalidate a marked ballot, but a ballot shall not be counted if the certificate on the return envelope is not properly executed. In all other respects the provisions of the Minnesota Election Law governing deposit and counting of ballots shall apply. Notwithstanding other provisions of this section, the counting of the absentee ballot of a deceased voter does not invalidate the election.

Subd. 2. Recording accepted and rejected ballots. The election judges shall compare the voter's name with the names recorded under section 203B.19 in the statewide registration system. For each returned ballot, the election judges must indicate on the record in the statewide registration system whether the absentee ballot was accepted or rejected.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 24; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 27; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 30; 1Sp2005 c 7 s 22; 2008 c 190 s 11; 2010

c 194 s 13, 2021 c 31 art 3 s 6

NOTES AND DECISIONS 203B.24

During automatic administrative recount, absent a voluntary agreement between local election officials and two candidates for seat in United States Senate that absentee ballots had been rejected in error and that the absentee-ballot envelopes should be opened and the ballots should be counted, resolution of whether the absentee ballots were rejected in error would have to await an election contest proceeding. Coleman v. Ritchie, 759 N.W.2d 47 (Minn. 2009)

203B.26 SEPARATE RECORD.

A separate record of the ballots of absent voters cast under sections 203B.16 to 203B.27 must be generated from the statewide registration system for each precinct and retained with the other election materials.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 26; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 28; 2008 c 190 s 13; 2010 c 194 s 14

203B.27 EXPENSE CHARGEABLE TO GENERAL REVENUE.

Expenses incurred by a county auditor to carry out the provisions of sections 203B.16 to 203B.27 shall be paid by that county from its general revenue fund.

History: 1981 c 29 art 3 s 27

203B.28 POSTELECTION REPORT TO LEGISLATURE

By January 15 of every odd-numbered year, the secretary of state shall provide to the chair and ranking minority members of the legislative committees with jurisdiction over elections a statistical report related to absentee voting in the most recent general election cycle. The statistics must be organized by county and include:

(1)          the number of absentee ballots transmitted to voters;

(2)          the number of absentee ballots returned by voters;

(3)          the number of absentee ballots that were rejected, categorized by the reason for rejection;

(4)          the number of absentee ballots submitted pursuant to sections 203B.16 to 203B.27, along with the number of returned ballots that were accepted, rejected, and the reason for any rejections; and

(5)          the number of absentee ballots that were not counted because the ballot return envelope was received after the deadlines provided in this chapter.

History: 2010 c 194 s 1; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 20

CHAPTER 5B – DATA PROTECTION FOR VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE 5B.03 ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM

Subdivision 1. Application. The secretary of state shall certify an eligible person as a program participant when the secretary receives an application that must contain:

(1)          the full legal name and date of birth of the eligible person;

(2)          a statement by the applicant that the applicant has good reason to believe (i) that the eligible person listed on the application is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or (ii) that the eligible person fears for the person's safety, the safety of another person who resides in the same household, or the safety of persons on whose behalf the application is made, and (iii) that the eligible person is not applying for certification as a program participant in order to avoid prosecution for a crime;

(3)          a designation of the secretary of state as agent for purposes of service of process and for the purpose of receipt of mail;

(4)          the phone number or numbers where the applicant or eligible person can be called by the secretary of state;

(5)          the physical residential address of the eligible person, disclosure of which will increase the risk of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;

(6)          if mail cannot be delivered to the residential address of the eligible person, the address to which mail should be sent;

(7)          a statement whether the eligible person would like information on becoming an ongoing absentee ballot recipient pursuant to section 5B.06;

(8)          a statement from the eligible person that gives the secretary of state consent to confirm the eligible person's participation in Safe at Home to a third party who provides the program participant's first and last name and date of birth or Safe at Home lot number listed on the program participant's card;

(9)          the signature of the applicant, an indicator of the applicant's authority to act on behalf of the eligible person, if appropriate, the name and signature of any individual or representative of any person who assisted in the preparation of the application, and the date on which the application was signed; and

(10)        any other information as required by the secretary of state.

Subd. 2. Filing. Applications must be filed with the secretary of state and are subject to the provisions of section

5.15.

Subd. 3. Certification. (a) Upon filing a completed application, the secretary of state shall certify the eligible person as a program participant. Program participants shall be certified for four years following the date of filing unless the certification is canceled, withdrawn or invalidated before that date. The secretary of state shall by rule establish a renewal procedure.

(b) Certification under this subdivision is for the purpose of participation in the confidentiality program established under this chapter only. Certification must not be used as evidence or be considered for any purpose in any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding related to the behavior or actions giving rise to the application under subdivision 1.

Subd. 4. Changes in information. Program participants or applicants must inform the secretary of state of a change of legal name, address, or telephone number.

Subd. 5. Designated address. The secretary of state must designate a mailing address to which all mail for program participants is to be sent. Each program participant may have only one designated address.

Subd. 6. Attaining age of majority. An individual who became a program participant as a minor assumes responsibility for changes in information and renewal when the individual reaches age 18.

History: 2006 c 242 s 3; 2008 c 227 s 2; 2013 c 76 s 2; 2018 c 109 s 2

204C.15 ASSISTANCE TO VOTERS.

Subdivision 1. Physical assistance in marking ballots. A voter who claims a need for assistance because of inability to read English or physical inability to mark a ballot may obtain the aid of two election judges who are members of different major political parties. The election judges shall mark the ballots as directed by the voter and in as secret a manner as circumstances permit. A voter in need of assistance may alternatively obtain the assistance of any individual the voter chooses. Only the following persons may not provide assistance to a voter: the voter’s employer, an agent of the voter’s employer, an officer or agent of the voter’s union, or a candidate for election. The person who assists the voter shall, unaccompanied by an election judge, retire with that voter to a booth and mark the ballot as directed by the voter. No person who assists another voter as provided in the preceding sentence shall mark the ballots of more than three voters at one election. Before the ballots are deposited, the voter may show them privately to an election judge to ascertain that they are marked as the voter directed. An election judge or other individual assisting a voter shall not in any manner request, persuade, induce, or attempt to persuade or induce the voter to vote for any particular political party or candidate. The election judges or other individuals who assist the voter shall not reveal to anyone the name of any candidate for whom the voter has voted or anything that took place while assisting the voter.

Subd. 2. Outside the polling place. An individual who is unable to enter a polling place where paper ballots or an electronic voting system are used may register and vote without leaving a motor vehicle. Two election judges who are members of different major political parties shall assist the voter to register and to complete a voter’s certificate and shall provide the necessary ballots. The voter may request additional assistance in marking ballots as provided in subdivision 1.

Subd. 3. Voting lines. In all polling places two election judges shall assist a disabled voter to enter the polling place and go through the registration and voting lines. The voter may also request the assistance of election judges or any other individual in marking ballots, as provided in subdivision 1.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 15; 1984 c 471 s 11,12; 1986 c 444; 1997 c 147 s 38; 2006 c 242 s 23; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 33

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.15

Plaintiffs were likely to succeed on merits of claim that statutory provision limiting ballot marking assistant to helping no more than three voters per election was preempted by federal Voting Rights Act. DSCC v. Simon, 950 N.W.2d 280 (Minn. 2020).

Federal Voting Rights Act preempts statutory prohibition on a candidate assisting a voter and prohibition on a person assisting more than three voters in an election. Enforcing these prohibitions would violate Supremacy Clause of U.S. Constitution. Op. Atty. Gen. 28a-6 (May 7, 2020).

Former section 204A.34 held to apply to village and town elections. Op. Atty. Gen. 490E, November 19, 1954.

It was not permissible for one of judges of election on election day to take ballot from polling place to home of sick or disabled person, permit such person to mark it and then return it to polling place and cast it in name of such person. Op. Atty. Gen. 28C-1, November 27, 1935.

204C.09 BALLOT PREPARATION BY ELECTION JUDGES.

Subdivision 1. Counting and Initialing. (a) Before the voting begins, at least two election judges must certify the number of ballots delivered to the precinct. Election judges may conduct this count, presuming that the total count provided for prepackaged ballots is correct. As each package is opened, two judges must count the ballots in the package to ensure that the total count provided for the package is correct. Any discrepancy must be noted on the incident log.

(b) Before the voting begins, or as soon as possible after it begins, at least two election judges shall each initial the backs of all the ballots. The election judges shall not otherwise mark the ballots.

Subd. 2. Distribution procedure. Official ballots shall be distributed only in the room containing the voting booths and only to individuals who are about to vote, except as otherwise provided in section 204C.15, subdivision 2. No official ballot shall be distributed to a voter unless it has been initialed by the election judges as provided in subdivision 1.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 9; 2010 c 201 s 37

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.09

Statutory requirement that all ballots must be initialed by election judge is intended to assure voter that he is given an authentic ballot, to enable public to identify actual ballot cast in event of election contest, and to prevent fraud. Johnson v. Trinka, 277 Minn. 470, 154 N.W. 2d 185 (1967).

204C.10 PERMANENT REGISTRATION; VERIFICATION OF REGISTRATION.

(a)          An individual seeking to vote shall sign a polling place roster or voter signature certificate which states that the individual is at least 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States, has resided in Minnesota for 20 days immediately preceding the election, maintains residence at the address shown, is not under a guardianship in which the court order revokes the individual’s right to vote, has not been found by a court of law to be legally incompetent to vote or has the right to vote because, if the individual was convicted of a felony, the felony sentence has expired or been completed or the individual has been discharged from the sentence, is registered and has not already voted in the election. The roster must also state: "I understand that deliberately providing false information is a felony punishable by not more than five years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $10,000, or both."

(b)          At the presidential nomination primary, the polling place roster must also state: “I am in general agreement with the principles of the party for whose candidate I intend to vote.” This statement must appear separately from the statements required in paragraph (a). The felony penalty provided for in paragraph (a) does not apply to this paragraph.

(c)           A judge may, before the applicant signs the roster or voter signature certificate, confirm the applicant's name, address, and date of birth.

(d)          After the applicant signs the roster or voter signature certificate, the judge shall give the applicant a voter's receipt. The voter shall deliver the voter's receipt to the judge in charge of ballots as proof of the voter's right to vote, and thereupon the judge shall hand to the voter the ballot. The voters' receipts must be maintained during the time for notice of filing an election contest.

(e)          Whenever a challenged status appears on the polling place roster, an election judge must ensure that the challenge is concealed or hidden from the view of any voter other than the voter whose status is challenged.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 10; 1981 c 92 s 3; 1981 c 217 s 6; 1983 c 253 s 12; 1984 c 560 s 15; 1986 c 444; 1990 c 585 s 27; 1999 c 132 s 21; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 31; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 45; 2006 c 242 s 22; 2014 c 288 art 2 s 5; 2016 c 162 s 7; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 18; 2019 1st special session c 10 art 4 s 4

Subdivision 1. Manner of challenging. An election judge shall, and an authorized challenger or other voter may, challenge an individual based on personal knowledge that the individual is not an eligible voter.

Subd. 2. Statement of grounds; oath. A challenger must be a resident of this state. The secretary of state shall prepare a form that challengers must complete and sign when making a challenge. The form must include space to state the ground for the challenge, a statement that the challenge is based on the challenger’s personal knowledge, and a statement that the challenge is made under oath. The form must include a space for the challenger’s printed name, signature, telephone number, and address. An election judge shall administer to the challenged individual the following oath:

“Do you solemnly swear (or affirm) that you will fully and truly answer all questions put to you concerning your eligibility to vote at this election?” 

The election judge shall then ask the challenged individual sufficient questions to test that individual’s residence and right to vote.

Subd. 3. Determination of residence. In determining the legal residence of a challenged individual, the

election judges shall be governed by the principles contained in section 200.031. If the challenged individual’s answers to the questions show ineligibility to vote in that precinct, the individual shall not be allowed to vote. If the individual has marked ballots but not yet deposited them in the ballot boxes before the election judges determine ineligibility to vote in that precinct, the marked ballots shall be placed unopened with the spoiled ballots. If the answers to the questions fail to show that the individual is not eligible to vote in that precinct and the challenge is not withdrawn, the election judges shall verbally administer the oath on the voter certificate to the individual. After taking the oath and completing and signing the voter certificate, the challenged individual shall be allowed to vote.

Subd. 4. Refusal to answer questions or sign a polling place roster. A challenged individual who refuses to answer questions or sign a polling place roster or voter signature certificate as required by this section must not be allowed to vote. A challenged individual who leaves the polling place and returns later willing to answer questions or sign a polling place roster or voter signature certificate must not be allowed to vote.

Subd. 5. Election judges; penalty. An election judge who fails to carry out the duties prescribed by this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 12; 1983 c 253 s 13,14; 1986 c 444; 1990 c 585 s 28; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 46; 2010 c 201 s 38; 2014 c 288 art 2 s 6; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 19

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.12

Voting in elections is a constitutional right, and state election officials bear responsibility and duty to enforce constitutional and legislative requirements for exercise of that right. Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Simon, 885 N.W.2d 660 (Minn. 2016).

At time of voting only qualifications of voter are subject to challenge. Bell v. Gannaway, 303 Minn. 346, 227 N.W.2d 797 (1975).

In the absence of fraud, collusion or participation or consent of the voter, numbers placed on ballots by election officials which could be used to identify the ballots could be counted. Johnson v. Swenson, 246 Minn. 449, 119 N.W. 2d 723 (1963).

Before ballot shall be declared defective because of identifying marks thereon there must be evidence that the voter, and not an election judge or some other person, marked the ballot with distinguishing characteristics which evidenced the voter’s intent to identify it. Marshall v. Stepka, 259 Minn. 533, 108 N.W. 2d 614 (1961).

Procedure for challenging voters as specified in the case of general election under former section 204A.39 would be the proper way for an election judge at an independent school district election to exercise his challenging power. Op. Atty. Gen. 187A-9, May 13, 1970.

The challenge of a voter may not be an automatic response to all seeking a ballot, it must be based on knowledge or reasonable suspicion that the prospective voter is not qualified, and any challenger who demonstrates a pattern of almost continuous challenge of voters would seem to indicate that he is not acting on knowledge or suspicion, but is merely seeking to obstruct voting process in violation of M.S. 210A.07. Op. Atty. Gen. 182, October 26, 1964.

204C.13 RECEIVING AND MARKING BALLOTS.

Subdivision 1. Handing ballot to voter. When the election judges are satisfied that an individual is eligible to vote in that precinct, the election judge in charge of the ballots shall give the voter only one ballot of each kind that is to be voted upon at that precinct. Each ballot shall be removed separately as needed for each voter from the previously initialed pile of ballots.

Subd. 2. Voting booths. One of the election judges shall explain to the voter the proper method of marking the ballots and, during a primary election, the effect of attempting to vote in more than one party’s primary. Except as otherwise provided in section 204C.15, the voter shall retire alone to an unoccupied voting booth or, at the voter’s discretion, the voter may choose to use another writing surface. The voter shall mark the ballots without undue delay. The voter may take sample ballots into the booth to assist in voting. The election judges may adopt and enforce reasonable rules governing the amount of time a voter may spend in the voting booth marking ballots.

Subd. 3. Marking ballots. The voter shall mark each ballot in the following manner:

(a)          The voter shall fill in the oval or similar mark if a different target shape is used, opposite the printed name of each candidate for whom the individual desires to vote, and in the oval or other target shape before the “Yes” or “No” if the individual desires to vote for or against a question.

(b)          The voter may write in other names on the lines provided under the printed names of the candidates, except that no names shall be written in on primary ballots.

(c)           At a state primary an individual may vote for candidates of only one major political party on the partisan primary ballot. If a partisan primary ballot contains votes for the candidates of more than one major political party, the ballot is totally defective and no vote on the partisan section of the ballot shall be counted.

(d)          An individual who spoils a ballot may return it to the election judges and receive another.

Subd. 5. Deposit of ballots in ballot box. The voter shall then withdraw from the voting booth with the ballots and immediately deposit each ballot in the ballot box. Ballots that have not been initialed by the election judges as provided in section 204C.09, shall not be deposited in the ballot box.

Subd. 6. Challenge of voter; time limits; disposition of ballots. At any time before the ballots of any voter are deposited in the ballot boxes, the election judges or any individual who was not present at the time the voter procured the ballots, but not otherwise, may challenge the eligibility of that voter and the deposit of any received absentee ballots in the ballot boxes. The election judges shall determine the eligibility of any voter who is present in the polling place in the manner provided in section 204C.12, and if the voter is found to be not eligible to vote, shall place the ballots of that voter unopened among the spoiled ballots. The election judges shall determine whether to receive or reject the ballots of an absent voter and whether to deposit received absentee ballots in the ballot boxes in the manner provided in sections 203B.121 and 203B.24 and shall dispose of any absentee ballots not received or deposited in the manner provided in section 203B.121. A violation of this subdivision by an election judge is a gross misdemeanor.

Subd. 7. Leaving the polling place. An individual who has voted or whose ballot has been rejected shall leave the polling place and shall not return except as provided by section 204C.06 or 204C.07.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 13; 1987 c 222 s 1; 2010 c 201 s 39; 2011 c 76 art 1 s 28; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 35-37

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.13

Challenge of candidate who was left off of ballot for State Representative in primary election to voter eligibility based on residence address was barred, where challenge only came after the ballots in question had been deposited in the ballot box. Beaulieu v. Mack,788 N.W.2d 892 (Minn. 2010).

Candidate for United States Senator could not challenge legality of absentee ballots after ballots had been deposited in ballot box, and thus absentee ballot return envelopes, which had been opened and the enclosed ballots removed and counted in election, were admissible, in candidate’s contest of election, to show that local election officials had erroneously accepted and counted the ballots. In re Contest of General Election Held on November 4, 2008, for Purpose of electing a U.S. Senator from State of Minnesota, 767 N.W.2d 453 (Minn. 2009).

Statutory violations in the conduct of elections do not of themselves invalidate an election. Munnell v. Rowlette, 275 Minn. 92, 145 N.W. 2d 531 (1966).

Under former law held: In the absence of fraud, collusion or participation or consent of the voter, numbers placed on ballots by election officials which could be used to identify the ballots could be counted. Johnson v. Swenson, 246 Minn. 449, 119 N.W. 2d 723 (1963). But see M.S. 204C.16; 204C.18.

Before ballot shall be declared defective because of identifying marks thereon there must be evidence that the voter and not an election judge or some other person, marked the ballot with distinguishing characters which evidenced the voter’s intent to identify it. Marshall v. Stepka, 259 Minn. 533, 108 N.W. 2d 614 (1961).

In canvassing, object is to give effect to voter intent, where manifested according to statute. Murray v. Floyd, 216 Minn. 69, 11 N.W.2d 780 (1943). Discussion of irregularities involving the use of stickers for write-in votes. Id.

Irregular or imperfect mark did not invalidate ballot where mark intended to express voter’s choice. Pye v. Hanzel, 200 Minn. 135, 273 N.W. 611 (1937).

BALLOTING AND ELECTIONS BY MAIL

204B.45 MAIL BALLOTING.

Subdivision 1. Authorization. A town of any size not located in a metropolitan county as defined by section 473.121, or a city having fewer than 400 registered voters on June 1 of an election year and not located in a metropolitan county as defined by section 473.121, may provide balloting by mail at any municipal, county, or state election with no polling place other than the office of the auditor or clerk or other locations designated by the auditor or clerk. The governing body may apply to the county auditor for permission to conduct balloting by mail. The county board may provide for balloting by mail in unorganized territory. The governing body of any municipality may designate for mail balloting any precinct having fewer than 100 registered voters, subject to the approval of the county auditor. Voted ballots may be returned in person to any location designated by the county auditor or municipal clerk.

Subd. 2. Procedure. 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 mailed 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.

Subd. 3. Election law applied; rules. The Minnesota election law is applicable to mail balloting except as provided by this section or by rules adopted by the secretary of state, but only paper ballots may be used. The secretary of state shall adopt rules for the conduct of mail balloting, including instructions to voters, procedures

for challenge of voters, public observation of the counting of ballots, and procedures for proper handling and safeguarding of ballots to ensure the integrity of the election.

History: 1987 c 212 s 8; 1990 c 585 s 26; 1991 c 227 s 16; 1993 c 318 art 1 s 1; 1997 c 145 s 1; 2008 c 244 art 1 s

12; 2010 c 184 s 18; 2010 c 194 s 16; 2011 c 18 s 4; 2011 c 76 art 1 s 70; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 29, 30; 2015 c 70 art 1

s 32; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 8

204B.46 MAIL ELECTIONS; QUESTIONS.

A county, municipality, or school district submitting questions to the voters at a special election may conduct an election by mail with no polling place other than the office of the auditor or clerk. No offices may be voted on at a mail election. Notice of the election must be given to the county auditor at least 74 days prior to the election. This notice shall also fulfill the requirements of Minnesota Rules, part 8210.3000. The special mail ballot procedures must be posted at least six weeks prior to the election. Not more than 46 nor later than 14 days prior to the election, the auditor or clerk shall mail ballots by nonforwardable mail to all voters registered in the county, municipality, or school district. No later than 14 days before the election, the auditor or clerk 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 mailed may apply for ballots pursuant to chapter 203B. 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 municipal clerks, or deputy school district 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 must 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 ballot board, and deposited in the appropriate 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 ballots may be made public before the close of voting on election day.

History: 1987 c 213 s 1; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 11; 1993 c 223 s 11; 2008 c 295 s 13; 2009 c 82 s 4; 2010 c 180 s 4;

2010 c 194 s 17; 2011 c 18, s 5; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 31; 2014 c 264 s 16

MISCELLANEOUS

204B.47 ALTERNATE ELECTION PROCEDURES; DUTIES OF SECRETARY OF STATE.

When a provision of the Minnesota Election Law cannot be implemented as a result of an order of a state or federal court, the secretary of state shall adopt alternative election procedures to permit the administration of any election affected by the order. The procedures may include the voting and handling of ballots cast after 8:00 p.m. as a result of a state or federal court order or any other order extending the time established by law for closing the polls. The alternative election procedures remain in effect until the first day of July following the next succeeding final adjournment of the legislature, unless otherwise provided by law or by court order.

History: 1997 c 147 s 36; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 29

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.47

Plaintiffs were likely to succeed on merits of claim that consent decree entered by state court extending absentee-ballot counting deadline beyond Election Day violated Electors Clause of U.S. Constitution, even though state law authorized Secretary of State to adopt alternative election procedures and extension was granted due to public health concerns during COVID-19 pandemic; Secretary of State had no power to override Minnesota legislature, and his power to adopt alternative procedures was limited to cases were election statute could not be implemented as result of court order. Carson v. Simon, 978 F.3d 1051 (8th Cir. 2020).

Secretary of State was a proper party-respondent on ballot challenge by voter and judicial candidate seeking an order striking name of appointed associate justice of state Supreme Court from primary and general election ballots or, alternatively, striking designation of that associate justice as the incumbent on those ballots; although Secretary of State was not directly responsible for printing and preparation of ballots, ballot challenge concerned office for which voting was conducted statewide and for which the Secretary of State had provided the challenged ballot information to all 87 county auditors. Clark v.

Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008) certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

204B.49 “I VOTED” STICKERS.

The secretary of state, county auditor, municipal clerk, school district clerk, or an election judge may

provide a sticker containing the words “I VOTED,” and nothing more, to an individual who:

(1)          has successfully deposited a ballot into a ballot box, under section 203B.081, subdivision 3, or 204C.13, subdivision 5;

(2)          is provided an absentee ballot under section 203B.07, subdivision 1, or 203B.21, subdivision 2; or

(3)          is provided a ballot by mail under section 204B.45 or 204B.46.

History: 2017 c 92 art 1 s 17

BALLOTS

204B.35 PREPARATION OF BALLOTS.

Subdivision 1. Application. All ballots for every election shall be prepared in accordance with sections 204B.35 to 204B.44 and chapter 204D, except for voting machine ballots or as otherwise provided by law.

Subd. 2. Manner of preparation. Ballots shall be prepared in a manner that enables the voters to understand which questions are to be voted upon and the identity and number of candidates to be voted for in each office and to designate their choices easily and accurately. The name of a candidate shall not appear on a ballot in any way that gives the candidate an advantage over an opponent, including words descriptive of the candidate’s occupation, qualifications, principles, or opinions, except as otherwise provided by law.

Subd. 3. Number. The official in charge of preparing ballots shall prepare a sufficient number of ballots:

(a)          To fill applications of absentee voters; and

(b)          To provide each precinct with a sufficient number of ballots of each kind as required by section 204B.29, subdivision 1.

Subd. 4. Absentee ballots; preparation; delivery. At least 46 days before an election, ballots necessary to fill applications of absentee voters shall be prepared and delivered to the officials who administer the provisions of chapter 203B, except as provided in this subdivision. Ballots necessary to fill applications of absentee voters for a town general election held in March shall be prepared and delivered to the town clerk at least 30 days before the election.

This section applies to school district elections held on the same day as a statewide election or an election for a county or municipality located partially or wholly within the school district.

Subd. 5. Combined local elections. Municipalities shall determine the voting method in combined local elections when other election jurisdictions located wholly or partially within the municipality schedule elections on the same date as the regular municipal primary or general election.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 35; 1983 c 303 s 11; 1985 c 72 s 3; 1986 c 444; 1986 c 475 s 14; 1987 c 62 s 4; 1987 c

266 art 1 s 33; 1991 c 227 s 15; 2010 c 184 s 17; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 27

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.35

The ballot itself and the candidate information on the ballot are intended to assist the voter identifying “easily and accurately” the candidates for whom they wish to vote; the purpose of the election ballot is not to provide a forum for candidates to campaign or advertise. Weler v. Ritchie, 788, N.W. 2d 879 (Minn. 2010).

Purpose of statute requiring designation of incumbent judicial candidate on election ballot, namely, to inform the voters, was sufficient to justify minimal intrusion, if any, on First Amendment rights of voter and nonincumbent Supreme Court candidate bringing ballot challenge to that statute. Clark v.

Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008) certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Any advantage conveyed by placement on election ballot of word “incumbent” after name of judicial candidate who currently holds the seat being sought is a permissible statutory exception to general prohibition against having candidate’s name appear in a way giving an advantage over an opponent.  Clark

v.            Pawlenty,755 N.W. 2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Affidavit of candidate for associate justice of Supreme Court, attesting to her view that the word “incumbent” next to name of a candidate gave any candidate a distinct advantage over an opponent and stating that her view was based on her experience in talking with voters and in running for county commissioner in a race in which the incumbent label was not used, was inadequate to establish as a fact the existence of an advantage based on statute requiring designation of the incumbent, where candidate was not presented as an expert in those matters. Clark v. Pawlenty 755 N.W. 2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Studies that assertedly concluded that the name appearing first in a list of candidates attracted a larger than random share of the vote did not support proposition that statute requiring placement of the word “incumbent” after name of judicial candidate who currently held the seat in question attracted a disproportionate share of the vote to that candidate.  Clark v. Pawlenty, 755 N..W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Court will not change political party or principle as stated on presidential electors’ nominating petition, notwithstanding dispute over entitlement to use of similar party names, absent showing of significant degree of confusion. Scofield v. Kiffmeyer, 620 N.W.2d 24 (Minn. 2000).

Candidate could appear on ballot only under true name or name by which candidate was commonly known. Clifford v. Hoppe, 357 N.W.2d 98 (Minn. 1984).

The statues do not permit endorsed candidates to appear on primary election ballots as a slate or ticket. Mattson v. McKenna, 301 Minn. 103, 222 N.W. 2d 273 (1974).

One who intends to question form or contents of official ballot must take timely action or not be permitted to complain. Marsh v. Holm, 238 Minn. 25, 55 N.W. 2d 302 (1952).

Use of term “DFL-Endorsed” on ballot next to candidates’ names violated statutory prohibition on ballot designations descriptive of candidate’s occupation, qualifications, principles, or opinions. Schiff v. Griffin, 639 N.W.2d 56 (Minn. App. 2002).

Write-in votes are authorized for presidential electors. Op. Atty. Gen. 28C-5, October 5, 1968.

In a write-in election, where only write-in vote is cast, it is sufficient to elect a person. Op. Atty. Gen. 437A-6, February 23, 1967.

Title of vacant position for which no one has filed would be printed on regular ballot with blank below it to provide for write-in vote. Op. Atty. Gen. 437A- 6, February 23, 1967.

A person may be lawfully elected by means of write-in votes, to an office for which he has not filed. It is irrelevant that at same election that person was defeated for another office for which he filed. Op. Atty. Gen. 472B, January 11, 1967.

Ballot on proposed ordinance may contain explanatory statement clarifying issue of public importance submitted to electorate. Op. Atty. Gen. 28A-5, March 24, 1955.

Voters may place a sticker containing the name of the candidate of their choice in write-in space. Op. Atty. Gen. 28A-8, September 26, 1940. See M.R. 8230.1450 USE OF STICKERS PROHIBITED, May 26, 2010.

Failure to give published notice of sample ballots is not such an irregularity as will invalidate the election. Op. Atty. Gen. 28A-7, June 30, 1938.

204B.36 BALLOTS; FORM.

Amendment to subd. 2 is effective August 1, 2021            Subdivision 1. Type. All ballots shall be printed with black ink on paper of sufficient thickness to prevent

the printing from being discernible from the back. All ballots shall be printed in easily readable type with

suitable lines dividing candidates, offices, instructions and other matter printed on ballots. The same type shall be used for the names of all candidates on the same ballot.

Subd. 2. Candidates and offices. The name of each candidate shall be printed at a right angle to the length of the ballot. At a general election the name of the political party or the political principle of each candidate for partisan office shall be printed above or below the name of the candidate. The name of a political party or a political principle shall be printed in capital and lower case letters of the same type, with the capital letters at least one-half the height of the capital letters used for names of the candidates. At a general or special election, blank lines containing the words “write-in, if any” shall be printed below the name of the last candidate for each office, or below the title of the office if no candidate has filed for that office, so that a voter may write in the names of individuals whose names are not on the ballot. One blank line shall be printed for each officer of that kind to be elected. At a primary election, no blank lines shall be provided for writing in the names of individuals whose names do not appear on the primary ballot.

On the left side of the ballot at the same level with the name of each candidate and each blank line shall be printed an oval or similar target shape in which the voter may designate a vote by filling in the oval or similar mark if a different target shape is used. Each oval or target shape shall be the same size. Above the first name on each ballot shall be instructions for voting. Directly underneath the official title of each office shall be printed the words “Vote for one” or “Vote for up to ...” (any greater number to be elected).

Subd. 3. Question; form of ballot. When a question is to be submitted to a vote, a concise statement of the nature of the question shall be printed on the ballot. The words, “Yes” and “No” shall be printed to the left of this statement, with an oval or similar target shape to the left of each word so that the voter may indicate by a mark either a negative or affirmative vote. The ballot shall include instructions directing the voter to fill in the oval or similar mark if a different target shape is used, before the word “Yes” if the voter desires to vote for the question, or to fill in the oval or similar mark if a different target shape is used, before the word “No” if the voter desires to vote against the question.

Subd. 4. Judicial candidates. The official ballot shall contain the names of all candidates for each judicial office and shall state the number of those candidates for whom a voter may vote. Each seat for an associate justice, associate judge, or judge of the district court must be numbered. The words “Supreme Court,” “Court of Appeals,” and ”(number) District Court” must be printed above the respective judicial office groups on the ballot. The title of each judicial office shall be printed on the official primary and general election ballot as follows:

(a)          In the case of the Supreme Court: "Chief justice"; "Associate justice (number)";

(b)          In the case of the Court of Appeals: "Judge (number)"; or

(c)           In the case of the district court: "Judge (number)."

Subd. 5. Designation of incumbent; judicial offices. If a chief justice, associate justice, or judge is a

candidate to succeed again, the word “incumbent” shall be printed after that judge’s name as a candidate.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 36; 1983 c 247 s 87; 1983 c 253 s 10; 1984 c 560 s 14; 1986 c 362 s 4; 1986 c 444; 1991

c 221 s 1; 1993 c 318 art 2 s 45; 1997 c 147 s 35; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 22; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 28; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 27-

30; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 8

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.36

Constitutional challenges in § 1983 action by voter and prospective candidates for Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice, claiming that Minnesota constitutional provision requiring Governor to fill all judicial vacancies by appointment, Minnesota statute governing incumbency designation for judges, and alleged systematic overuse of vacancies and appointments to avoid elections violated constitutional rights, were barred, under Rooker-Feldman doctrine, because challenges were inextricably intertwined with prior state-court claims that were rejected before federal district court challenges were filed by voter and candidates. Robins v. Ritchie, 631 F.3d 919 (8th Cir. 2011).

Purpose of statute requiring designation of incumbent judicial candidate on Election ballot, namely, to inform the voters, was sufficient to justify minimal intrusion, if any, on First Amendment rights of voter and nonincumbent supreme court candidate bringing ballot challenge to that statute. Clark v.

Pawlenty, 755 N.W. 2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied S.Ct. 2056.

Statute requiring placement of the word “incumbent” on election ballot after name of judicial candidate who currently held the seat in question did not sufficiently interfere with First Amendment rights of candidates and voters to warrant strict scrutiny; statute did not deny any candidate access to the ballot, rotation system required by another statute ensured that names of each candidate would appear in first ballot position roughly an equal number of times, and incumbent designation did not prevent a voter from voting for any candidate of voter’s choosing. Clark v. Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Statute requiring placement of the “incumbent” on election ballot after name of judicial candidate who currently holds the seat in question does not violate State Constitution based on the asserted advantage provided to an incumbent by that designation on the ballot. Clark v. Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008), Certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Studies that assertedly concluded that the name appearing first in a list of candidates attracted a larger than random share of the vote did not support proposition that statute requiring placement of the word “incumbent” after name of judicial candidate who currently held the seat in question attracted a disproportionate share of the vote to that candidate. Clark v. Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Affidavit of candidate for associate justice of Supreme Court, attesting to her view that the word “incumbent” next to name of a candidate gave any candidate a distinct advantage over an opponent and stating that her view was based on her experience in talking with voters and in running for county commissioner in a race in which the incumbent label was not used, was inadequate to establish as a fact the existence of an advantage based on statute requiring designation of the incumbent, where candidate was not presented as an expert in those matters. Clark v. Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 119 S.Ct. 2056.

Any advantage conveyed by placement on election ballot of word “incumbent” after name of judicial candidate who currently holds the seat being sought is a permissible statutory exception to general prohibition against having candidate’s name appear in a way giving an advantage over an opponent.  Clark v. Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Qualification of judicial candidates for the incumbent designation on election ballot under applicable statute is not limited to those who have previously been elected to judicial office. Clark v. Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Amendment that substituted phrase “succeed again” in place of phrase “succeed himself”, in statute requiring that the word “incumbent be printed on election ballot after the name of a chief justice, associate justice or judge who is a candidate to succeed himself, was intended to be only a gender-neutral version of “succeed himself” and was not intended to connote a limitation on the method of attaining office needed to qualify for the incumbent designation. Clark v. Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Appointed associate justice of state Supreme Court who sought election to regular term was a candidate to “succeed again” under statute requiring designation of a chief justice, associate justice, or judge as the incumbent on election ballot; appointed justice was the successor to justice whose resignation created vacancy. Clark v. Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Statute providing for designation of incumbent judges on ballot does not violate equal protection clause. Peterson v. Stafford, 490 N.W.2d 418 (Minn. 1992), cert. denied, 507 U.S. 1033 (1992).

Former section 203A.33 requiring party-designated candidates’ names to be placed before independent candidates’ names on partisan ballot held constitutional. Ulland v. Growe, 262 N.W.2d 412 (Minn. 1978), cert. denied, Berg v. Growe, 436 U.S. 927 (1978).

The statues do not permit endorsed candidates to appear on primary election ballots as a slate or ticket. Mattson v. McKenna, 222 N.W. 2d 273 (Minn. 1974).

One who intends to question form or contents of official ballot must take timely action or not be permitted to complain. Marsh v. Holm, 238 Minn. 25, 55 N.W. 2d 302 (1952).

Write-in votes are authorized for presidential electors. Op. Atty. Gen. 28C-5, October 5, 1968.

Title of vacant position for which no one has filed would be printed on regular ballot with blank below it to provide for write-in vote. Op. Atty. Gen. 437A- 6, February 27, 1967.

In a write-in election, where only write-in vote is cast, it is sufficient to elect a person. Op. Atty. Gen. 437A-6, February 23, 1967.

A person may be lawfully elected by means of write-in votes, to an office for which he has not filed. it is irrelevant that at same election that person was defeated for another office for which he filed. Op. Atty. Gen. 472B, January 11, 1967.

Ballot on proposed ordinance may contain explanatory statement clarifying issue of public importance submitted to electorate. Op. Atty. Gen. 28A-5, March 24, 1955.

Voters may place a sticker containing the name of the candidate of their choice in write-in space. Op. Atty. Gen. 28A-8, September 26, 1940. See M.R. 8230.1450 USE OF STICKERS PROHIBITED, May 26, 2010.

Failure to give published notice of sample ballots is not such an irregularity as will invalidate the election. Op. Atty. Gen.. 28A-7, June 30, 1938.

204B.37 BACK OF BALLOT.

On the back of all ballots shall be printed the words “Official Ballot”, the date of the election and lines for the initials of at least two election judges. The words shall be printed so that they will be visible when the ballot is properly folded for deposit in the ballot box.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 37

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.37

Statute is held directory and departure from its provisions will not invalidate election in absence of showing the results would be different if compliance was had. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-9, March 25, 1941.

204B.38 NAMES ON BALLOTS; IDENTICAL DESCRIPTIVE WORDS.

When the similarity of both the first and last names of two or more candidates for the same office at the same election may cause confusion to voters, up to three additional words may be printed on the ballot after each surname to indicate the candidate’s occupation, office, residence or any combination of them if the candidate furnishes the identifying words to the filing officer by the last day for withdrawal of candidacy.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 38; 2010 c 201 s 32

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.38

Candidate for U.S. Representative could not be certified on ballot as “Shelvie Prolife Rettman” where name not authorized by statute nor was it nickname by which candidate was generally and commonly known. Clifford v. Hoppe, 357 N.W. 2d 98 (Minn. 1984).

For use of word “incumbent” to designate a candidate, see Op. Atty. Gen. 184D, October 14, 1964; M.S. 204B.36, subd. 5.

Descriptive words permissible where political party candidates’ names are on separate “tickets” but on same consolidated primary election ballot. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-2, August 2, 1956.

When a candidate for county office, who was a member of state legislature, moves from district, a vacancy occurs in office of legislature and he cannot use

descriptive words “Present Representative”. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-2, October 1, 1954.

Auditor has no power to add upon his own initiative identifying words where surnames of candidates are identical. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-2, April 30, 1946. Word St. Paul construed as one word. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-2, July 8, 1938.

BALLOTS

204D.04 BALLOT PREPARATION.

Subdivision 1. Rotation of offices; prohibition. There shall be no rotation of offices on any ballot required to be prepared pursuant to this chapter for a state primary or a state general election.

Subd. 2. Instructions to printer; printer's bond. (a)The official charged with the preparation and distribution of the ballots shall prepare instructions to the printer for rotation of the names of candidates and for layout of the ballot.

(b)          Except as provided in paragraph (c), the instructions shall be approved by the legal advisor of the official before delivery to the printer.

(c)           The legal advisor of a town official is not required to approve instructions regarding the rotation of the names of candidates on the ballot or the layout of the ballot.

(d)          Before a contract exceeding $1,000 is awarded for printing ballots, the printer shall furnish, if requested by the official, a sufficient bond, letter of credit, or certified check, acceptable to the official responsible for printing the ballots, conditioned on printing the ballots in conformity with the Minnesota Election Law and the instructions delivered. The official responsible for printing the ballots shall set the amount of the bond, letter of credit, or certified check in an amount equal to the value of the purchase.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 4; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 175 s 11; 1990 c 453 s 11; 1993 c 223 s 15; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s

31; 2003 c 76 s 1; 2010 c 201 s 49

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204D.04

Former M.S. 203A held applicable to city election. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-2, October 17, 1934.

204D.05 STATE PRIMARY BALLOTS; PARTISAN AND NONPARTISAN; OFFICIAL IN CHARGE.

Subdivision 1. State partisan primary ballot. The state partisan primary ballot shall contain the names of the candidates seeking the nomination of each major political party for the partisan offices filled at the state general election.

Subd. 2. State and county nonpartisan primary ballot. The state and county nonpartisan primary ballot shall contain the names of the candidates seeking nomination for the nonpartisan offices filled at the state general election.

Subd. 3. County auditor to prepare. The county auditor of each county shall prepare the state partisan primary ballot and the state and county nonpartisan primary ballot.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 5

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204D.05

After primary election, candidate may not change the form in which his name is to appear on general election ballot. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-2, October 6, 1954.

When three candidates file for office of state senator and one dies before primary ballots are printed, names of candidates should not be placed on ballot. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-1, August 16, 1954.

Even if there is only one filing for a partisan office, including Congress, name must be placed on primary ballot, but when only two persons file for nonpartisan office, names are not included on primary ballot. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-5, July 2, 1954.

Name adopted or used by candidate may be printed on official ballot. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-2, April 21, 1938.

204D.06 CERTIFICATION OF NAMES BY SECRETARY OF STATE.

At least 42 days before a state primary, the secretary of state shall certify to the county auditors the names of all candidates who have properly filed affidavits of candidacy with the secretary of state and who will be voted for in their respective counties at that primary.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 6; 1983 c 303 s 16

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204D.06

Secretary of State was a proper party-respondent on ballot challenge by voter and judicial candidate seeking an order striking name of appointed associate justice of state Supreme Court from primary and general election ballots or, alternatively, striking designation of that associate justice as incumbent on those ballots; although Secretary of State was not directly responsible for printing and preparation of ballots, ballot challenge concerned office for which voting was conducted statewide and for which the Secretary of State had provided the challenged ballot information to all 87 county auditors. Clark v.

Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

204D.07 PLACING NAMES ON BALLOTS.

Subdivision 1. Duties of county auditor. Except as provided in subdivisions 2 and 3, the county auditor shall place on the appropriate state primary ballot the name of each candidate who has properly filed an affidavit of candidacy with the auditor and of each candidate certified by the secretary of state pursuant to section 204D.06.

Subd. 2. Exception; petition candidates. The name of a candidate nominated by petition shall not be placed on any state primary ballot.

Subd. 3. Exception; certain nonpartisan candidate. If not more than twice the number of individuals to be elected to a nonpartisan office file for the nomination, their names and the name of the office shall be omitted from the state and county nonpartisan primary ballot and the candidates who filed shall be the nominees.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 7; 1986 c 444

204D.08 STATE PRIMARY BALLOTS.

Amendment to subd. 4 is effective August 1, 2021             Subdivision 1. Form. Except as provided in this section, state primary ballots shall be printed in the same manner as state general election ballots as far as practicable. A sufficient number shall be printed for each precinct and ward in the state. The secretary of state shall adopt rules for the format and preparation of the state primary ballot.

Subd. 2. Blank lines prohibited. At a primary election, no blank lines shall be provided for writing in the names of individuals whose names do not appear on the primary ballot.

Subd. 3. Rotation of names. On state primary ballots the name of each candidate for nomination to a partisan or nonpartisan office shall be rotated with the names of the other candidates for nomination to that office so that the name of each candidate appears substantially an equal number of times at the top, at the bottom, and at each intermediate place in that group of candidates. If the number of candidates for an office is equal to or less than the number to be elected, no rotation of candidate names is required and the official preparing the ballot shall determine the position of the candidates by lot.

Subd. 4. State partisan primary ballot; party columns. The state partisan primary ballot shall be headed by the words “State Partisan Primary Ballot.” The ballot shall be printed on white paper. There must be at least three vertical columns on the ballot and each major political party shall have a separate column headed by the words “.......... Party,” giving the party name. Above the party names, the following statement shall be printed.

“Minnesota election law permits you to vote for the candidates of only one political party in a state

partisan primary election.”

If there are only two major political parties to be listed on the ballot, one party must occupy the left-hand column, the other party must occupy the right-hand column, and the center column must contain the following statement:

“Do not vote for candidates of more than one party.”

The names of the candidates seeking the nomination of each major political party shall be listed in that party’s column. If only one individual files an affidavit of candidacy seeking the nomination of a major political party for an office, the name of that individual shall be placed on the state partisan primary ballot at the appropriate location in that party’s column.

In each column, the candidates for senator in Congress shall be listed first, candidates for representative in Congress second, candidates for state senator third, candidates for state representative fourth and then candidates for state office in the order specified by the secretary of state. Vacant offices being filled by special election must be listed with other offices of that type, but after any office of that type for which a candidate will be elected for a full term.

The party columns shall be substantially the same in width, type, and appearance. The columns shall be separated by a 12-point solid line.

Subd. 5. Party columns; arrangement. The names of candidates for nomination of the major political party that received the smallest average vote at the last state general election must be placed in the first column on the left side of the ballot. The names of candidates for nomination of the major political party that received the next smallest average vote at the last state general election must be placed in the second column, and so on.

The average vote shall be computed in the manner provided in section 204D.13, subdivision 2.

Subd. 6. State and county nonpartisan primary ballot. The state and county nonpartisan primary ballot shall be headed “State and County Nonpartisan Primary Ballot.” It shall be printed in the manner provided in the rules of the secretary of state. The names of candidates for nomination to the supreme court, court of appeals, district court, and all county offices shall be placed on this ballot.

No candidate whose name is placed on the state and county nonpartisan primary ballot shall be designated or identified as the candidate of any political party or in any other manner except as expressly provided by law.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 8; 1983 c 247 s 89; 1987 c 222 s 3; 1988 c 646 s 7,8; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 17; 1998 c 254 art 2 s 26; 1999 c 132 s 25,26; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 40; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 14

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204D.08

Statute requiring placement of the word “incumbent” on election ballot after name of judicial candidate who currently held the seat in question did not sufficiently interfere with First Amendment rights of candidates and voters to warrant strict scrutiny; statute did not deny any candidate access to the ballot, rotation system required by another statute ensured that names of each candidate would appear in first ballot position roughly an equal number of times, and incumbent designation did not prevent a voter from voting for any candidate of voter’s choosing. Clark v. Pawlenty, 755 N.W. 2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

See M.S. 204D.05 and notes thereafter.

Secretary of State properly directed consolidated ballot for special primary held at same time as regular primary. Johnson v. Growe, 289 N.W.2d 490 (Minn. 1980).

Placement of candidates’ names on ballots. See Ulland v. Growe, 262 N.W. 2d 412 (Minn. 1978), cert. denied, 436 U.S. 927 (1978).

Otherwise eligible candidate who would attain age of 21 before beginning of office term entitled to have name on primary ballot. Jude v. Erdahl, 296 Minn. 200, 207 N.W. 2d 715 (1973).

204D.09 EXAMPLE BALLOTS; SAMPLE PRIMARY BALLOTS.

Subdivision 1. Example ballot. No later than May 1 of each year, the secretary of state shall supply each auditor with a copy of an example ballot to be used at the state primary and state general election. The example ballot must illustrate the format required for the ballots used in the primary and general elections that year. The county auditor shall distribute copies of the example ballot to municipal and school district clerks in municipalities and school districts holding elections that year. The official ballot must conform in all respects to the example ballot.

Subd. 2. Sample ballot. At least 46 days before the state primary the county auditor shall prepare a sample ballot for each precinct for public inspection and transmit an electronic copy of these sample ballots to the secretary of state. The names of the candidates to be voted for in the county shall be placed on the sample ballots, with the names of the candidates for each office arranged in the base rotation as determined by section 206.61, subdivision 5. The county auditor shall post the sample ballots in a conspicuous place in the auditor’s office and shall cause them to be published at least one week before the state primary in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the county.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 9; 1986 c 444; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 32; 2010 c 184 s 21; 2010 c 201 s 50; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 41; 2016 c 162 s 8

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204D.09

Secretary of state was a proper party-respondent on ballot challenge by voter and judicial candidate seeking an order striking name of appointed associate justice of state Supreme Court from primary and general election ballots or, alternatively, striking designation of that associate justice as incumbent on those ballots; although Secretary of State was not directly responsible for printing and preparation of ballots, ballot challenge concerned office for which voting was conducted statewide and for which the Secretary of State had provided the challenged ballot information to all 87 county auditors. Clark v.

Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Secretary of State properly directed consolidated ballot for special primary held at same time as regular primary. Johnson v. Growe, 289 N.W.2d 490 (Minn. 1980).

Failure to give published notice of sample ballots is not such an irregularity as will invalidate the election. Op. Atty. Gen. 28A-7, June 30, 1938.

204D.10 PRIMARY RESULTS; NOMINEES.

Subdivision 1. Partisan offices; nominees. The candidate for nomination of a major political party for a partisan office on the state partisan primary ballot who receives the highest number of votes shall be the nominee of that political party for that office.

Subd. 2.  M.S. 2008 [Repealed, 2010 c 201 s 82]

Subd. 3. Nonpartisan offices; nominees. The candidates for each office on the state and county nonpartisan primary ballot receiving the highest and the next highest number of votes shall be the nominees for that office. When more than one individual is to be elected to the same nonpartisan office, the number of nominees shall be equal to twice the number of individuals to be elected, and that number of candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be the nominees for that office.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 10; 1996 c 419 s 9,10; 2003 c 112 art 2 s 50; 2010 c 201 s 51, 82

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204D.10

Minnesota law prohibiting candidates from appearing on ballot for more than one party is constitutional. Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party, 520 U.S. 351, 117 S. Ct. 1364 (1997).

204D.11 STATE GENERAL ELECTION BALLOTS; CANDIDATES; OFFICIAL IN CHARGE; RULES; REIMBURSEMENT.

Subdivision 1. State general election ballot; rules. The names of the candidates for all state and federal offices, all proposed constitutional amendments, all county offices and questions, and all judicial offices voted on at the state general election shall be placed on a single ballot that shall be known as the “state general election ballot.” This ballot shall be prepared by the county auditor subject to the rules of the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall adopt rules for preparation and time of delivery of the state general election ballot.

Subd. 4. Special federal ballot. (a) The names of all candidates for the offices of president and

vice-president of the United States and senator and representative in Congress shall be placed on a ballot that shall be known as the “special federal ballot.”

(b)          This ballot shall be prepared by the county auditor in the same manner as the state general election ballot and shall be subject to the rules adopted by the secretary of state pursuant to subdivision 1. This ballot must be prepared and furnished in accordance with the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, United States Code, title 52, sections 20301 to 20310.

(c)           The special federal ballot shall be the only ballot sent to citizens of the United States who are eligible to vote by absentee ballot for federal candidates in Minnesota.

Subd. 5. Ballot headings. The ballot containing the offices and questions in subdivisions 1 and 4, shall be

headed with the words “State General Election Ballot.”

Subd. 6. Judicial ballot. When it would not be possible to place all offices on a single ballot card for the state general election, the judicial offices may be placed instead on a separate judicial ballot. The judicial ballot shall be prepared by the county auditor in the manner provided in the rules of the secretary of state.

The judicial ballot must be headed with the words: “Judicial Nonpartisan General Election Ballot.”

Separate ballot boxes must be provided for these judicial ballots.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 11; 1983 c 216 art 2 s 26; 1983 c 247 s 90; 1983 c 301 s 163; 1983 c 303 s 17,18; 1984 c

560 s 18-21; 1986 c 444; 1986 c 475 s 16-18; 1987 c 175 s 12; 1992 c 513 art 3 s 44,45; 1993 c 223 s 16-18; 1999 c 132 s 27; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 33; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 42- 45, 85; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 47

204D.12 NAMES PLACED ON GENERAL ELECTION BALLOTS.

Without payment of an additional fee, the county auditor shall place on the appropriate state general election ballot the name of every candidate:

(a)          Whose nomination at the state primary has been certified by the appropriate canvassing board;

(b)          Who has been nominated by petition, including candidates certified by the secretary of state; and

(c)           Who was nominated and whose name was omitted from the state nonpartisan primary ballot pursuant to section 204D.07, subdivision 3. Only the names of duly nominated candidates may be placed on a ballot.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 12; 1996 c 419 s 7

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204D.12

Minnesota law prohibiting candidates from appearing on ballot for more than one party is constitutional. Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party, 520 U.S. 351, 117 S. Ct. 1364 (1997).

204D.13 BALLOT; PARTISAN OFFICES.

Amendment to subd. 1 is effective August 1, 2021            Subdivision 1. Order of offices. The candidates for partisan offices shall be placed on the state general election ballot in the following order: senator in Congress shall be first; representative in Congress, second; state senator, third; and state representative, fourth. The candidates for state offices shall follow in the order specified by the secretary of state. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor shall appear so that a single vote may be cast for both offices. Vacant offices being filled by special election must be listed with other offices of that type, but after any office of that type for which a candidate will be elected for a full term.

Subd. 2. Order of political parties. The first name printed for each partisan office on the state general election ballot shall be that of the candidate of the major political party that received the smallest average number of votes at the last state general election. The succeeding names shall be those of the candidates of the other major political parties that received a succeedingly higher average number of votes respectively. For the purposes of this subdivision, the average number of votes of a major political party shall be computed by

dividing the total number of votes counted for all of the party’s candidates for statewide office at the state general election by the number of those candidates at the election.

Subd. 3. Nominees by petition; placement on ballot. The names of candidates nominated by petition for a partisan office voted on at the state general election shall be placed on the state general election ballot after the names of the candidates for that office who were nominated at the state primary. No later than 11 weeks before the state general election, the secretary of state shall determine by lot the order of candidates nominated by petition. The drawing of lots must be by political party or principle. The political party or political principle of the candidate as stated on the petition shall be placed after the name of a candidate nominated by petition. The word “nonpartisan” shall not be used to designate any partisan candidate whose name is placed on the state general election ballot by nominating petition.

Subd. 4. [Expired]

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 13; 1983 c 253 s 20; 1996 c 419 s 8,10; 1999 c 132 s 28,29; 2000 c 467 s 23; 2013 c 131

art 2 s 46; 2014 c 264 s 19 & 20; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 15

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204D.13

Intervenor defendants were likely to succeed on merits of claim that statute placing major-party candidates on ballot in reverse order of parties’ average

vote totals in most recent general election did not violate constitution. Pavek v. Donal J. Trump for President, Inc., 967 F.3d 905 (8th Cir. 2020).

Minnesota law prohibiting candidates from appearing on ballot for more than one party is constitutional. Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party, 520 U.S. 351, 117 S. Ct. 1364 (1997).

Secretary of State properly certified presidential elector candidates with party or principle as stated on petition notwithstanding dispute over entitlement to use of similar party name. Scofield v. Kiffmeyer, 620 N.W.2d 24 (Minn. 2000).

Prior statute designating order of candidates held constitutional as to order of party-designated candidates and independent candidates. Ulland v. Growe, 262 N.W. 2d 412, cert. denied 436 U.S. 927 (1978).

204D.14 BALLOTS; NONPARTISAN OFFICES.

Subdivision 1. Rotation of names. The names of candidates for nonpartisan offices on the state general election ballot and the judicial nonpartisan general election ballot shall be rotated in the manner provided for rotation of names on state partisan primary ballots by section 204D.08, subdivision 3.

Subd. 3. Uncontested judicial offices. Judicial offices for a specific court for which there is only one candidate filed must appear after all other judicial offices for that same court on the ballot.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 14; 1983 c 303 s 19; 1986 c 362 s 5; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 31; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 52; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 47, 48

204D.15 BALLOT; CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT SAMPLE.

Subdivision 1. Titles for constitutional amendments. The secretary of state shall provide an appropriate title for each question printed on the state general election ballot. The title shall be approved by the attorney general, and shall consist of not more than one printed line above the question to which it refers. At the top of the ballot just below the heading, a conspicuous notice shall be printed stating that a voter’s failure to vote on a constitutional amendment has the effect of a negative vote.

Subd. 3. Sample ballot; constitutional amendments. Four weeks before the state general election the secretary of state shall file sample copies of the portion of the state general election ballot that contains the proposed constitutional amendments in the Secretary of State’s office for public inspection. Three weeks before the state general election the secretary of state shall transmit sample copies of the sample ballot to each county auditor. Each auditor shall post the sample ballot in a conspicuous place in the auditor’s office.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 15; 1981 c 217 s 9; 1983 c 303 s 20; 1986 c 444; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 49; 2014 c

264 s 21

NOTES AND DECISIONS

204D.15

Secretary of State exceeded his statutory authority by providing titles for questions printed on the ballot regarding proposed constitutional amendments that were different from those titles passed by the legislature; when the legislature passed a title for the ballot question in the legislation adopting a proposed constitutional amendment, that was the “appropriate title” the Secretary had to provide, under statute requiring the Secretary to provide an appropriate title for each question printed on the ballot on which questions for proposed constitutional amendments appear. Limmer v. Ritchie, 819 N.W.2d 622 (Minn. 2012).

See M.S. 204D.09 and notes thereafter.

204D.16 SAMPLE GENERAL ELECTION BALLOTS; POSTING; PUBLICATION.

At least 46 days before the state general election, the county auditor shall post sample ballots for each precinct in the auditor’s office for public inspection and transmit an electronic copy of these sample ballots to the secretary of state. No earlier than 15 days and no later than two days before the state general election the county auditor shall cause a sample state general election ballot to be published in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the county.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 16; 1981 c 217 s 10; 2Sp1981 c 2 s 3; 1986 c 444; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 50

The county auditor, two weeks before the applicable primary or general election, shall provide one copy of an appropriate sample ballot to a school district upon request. The school district may have the sample ballots reproduced at its expense for classroom educational purposes and for educational activities authorized under section 204B.27, subdivision 7.

History: 1990 c 608 art 7 s 3; 1991 c 237 s 6; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 51

201.014 ELIGIBILITY TO VOTE.

Subdivision 1. Requirements. Except as provided in subdivision 2, an individual who meets the following requirements at the time of an election is eligible to vote. The individual must:

(a)          Be 18 years of age or older;

(b)          Be a citizen of the United States; and

(c)           Maintain residence in Minnesota for 20 days immediately preceding the election. Subd. 2. Not eligible. The following individuals are not eligible to vote. Any individual:

(a)          Convicted of treason or any felony whose civil rights have not been restored;

(b)          Under a guardianship in which the court order revokes the ward’s right to vote; or

(c)           Found by a court of law to be legally incompetent.

Subd. 3. Penalty. Any individual who votes who knowingly is not eligible to vote is guilty of a felony.

History: 1981 c 29 art 2 s 2; 1986 c 444; 2003 c 12 art 2 s 2; 2005 c 10 art 4 s 3; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 14

NOTES AND DECISIONS 201.014

Provision of Minnesota Constitution prohibiting a person under guardianship from voting at any election in the state did not violate the Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. and Minnesota Constitutions, since pursuant to Minnesota statute, persons under guardianship were presumed to retain the right to vote, and the constitutional prohibition against voting based on guardianship status applied only when there had been an individualized judicial finding of incapacity to vote.  Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Ritchie, 890 F. Supp.2d 1106 (D. Minn. 2012).

A district court has ruled that a person who is eighteen years old, a citizen of the United States and a resident of Minnesota for twenty days is qualified to vote. The decision was not appealed. Erdahl v. Spannaus, et. al., No. 393442, Ramsey District Court, May 9, 1974. See M.S. 253B.23, subd. 2 (voting rights of persons in commitment status); M.S. 525.54, subd. 4 (voting rights of conservatee). NOTE: The Erdahl decision concerned the validity of the 30 day residence and three months citizenship requirements under Minn. Const. art VII, s 1.

Definition of “eligible voter” in this statute rather than in Minn. Const. art VII, s 6 applies to eligibility of naturalized citizen for elective office. Op. Atty. Gen. 1841, August 2, 1982.

For additional notes concerning voter eligibility, see Minn. Const. art. VII, s 1 and notes 

204C.16 MISMARKING BALLOTS; DISCLOSURE OF MARKINGS BY OTHERS; PENALTY.

An election judge or other individual who marks the ballot of any voter, except as authorized by law and as directed by the voter, or who informs anyone other than the voter how the ballot was marked, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 16

204C.17 VOTING; SECRECY.

Except as authorized by section 204C.15, a voter shall not reveal to anyone in the polling place the name of any candidate for whom the voter intends to vote or has voted. A voter shall not ask for or receive assistance in the marking of a ballot from anyone within the polling place except as authorized by section 204C.15. If a voter, after marking a ballot, shows it to anyone except as authorized by law, the election judges shall refuse to deposit the ballot in any ballot box and shall place it among the spoiled ballots. Unless the showing of the ballot was clearly intentional, the voter shall receive another ballot as provided in section 204C.13, subdivision 3, clause (d).

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 17

204C.18 BALLOTS; SECRECY.

Subdivision 1. Party preferences; protection of secrecy. The election judges shall make no entry or notation in the election register or anywhere else showing the political party to which a voter belongs or for which political party the voter voted. No election judge shall knowingly permit anyone in the polling place to make such an entry or notation.

Subd. 2. Ballots; identifying marks; penalty. No voter, election judge, or other individual shall place at any time a mark as a means of identification upon any ballot handed to or cast by a voter or upon spoiled or discarded ballots, except the initials authorized by section 204C.09. A violation of this subdivision is a gross misdemeanor.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 18; 1986 c 444

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.18

Absent proof of intent to identify ballot, mark before blank line would not be a violation. Murray v. Floyd, 216 Minn. 69, 11 N.W.2d 780 (1943).

Purpose of prohibition of distinguishing marks on ballots is to preserve secrecy and prevent bribery, fraud and intimidation. Aura v. Brandt, 211 Minn. 281, 1 N.W.2d 381 (1942).

Not all marks or irregularities are to be considered violations of this section. Hanson v. Emanuel, 210 Minn. 271, 297 N.W. 749 (1941).

BALLOT COUNTING; SUMMARY STATEMENTS 204C.19 COUNTING VOTES; PENALTY.

Subdivision 1. Procedure. When the hours for voting have ended and all voting has concluded, the election judges shall immediately count the votes cast at the election. The count shall be held at the polling place and shall be public. It shall be continued without intermission until it is completed and the results are declared, except that the election judges may recess for meals or other necessary purposes. During the count no one except the election judges shall handle the ballots. Any other individual who touches or interferes with ballots during the counting or any election judge who permits such touching or interference is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Subd. 2. Ballots; order of counting. Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, the ballot boxes shall be opened, the votes counted, and the total declared. The election judges on each counting team shall be evenly divided between the major political parties. The numbers entered on the summary sheet shall not be considered final until the ballots in all the boxes have been counted and corrections have been made if ballots have been deposited in the wrong boxes.

Subd. 3. Premature disclosure of count results. No count results from any precinct shall be disclosed by any election judge or other individual until all count results from that precinct are available, nor shall the public media disclose any count results from any precinct before the time when voting is scheduled to end in the state.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 19; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 38; 1991 c 227 s 17; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 34

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.19

Absentee ballot may not be challenged after deposit in ballot box except for invalidity on the face of the ballot. Bell v. Gannaway, 303 Minn. 346, 227 N.W. 2d 797 (1975).

Absentee ballot, which was torn and had been repaired by tape, was properly allowed on theory that it was mutilated ballot presumed to have been torn after it was received and counted by election officers. Sperl v. Wegwerth, 265 Minn. 47, 120 N.W. 2d 355 (1963).

It is improper for a clerk who is not a judge to handle ballots while judges are engaged in counting same. Op. Atty. Gen. 28A-3, December 12, 1950.

204C.20 BALLOTS; NUMBER TO BE COUNTED

Subdivision 1. Determination of proper number. The election judges shall determine the number of ballots to be counted by adding the number of return envelopes from accepted absentee ballots to the number of signed voter’s certificates, or to the number of names entered in the election register. The election judges shall then remove all the ballots from the box. Without considering how the ballots are marked, the election judges shall ascertain that each ballot is separate and shall count them to determine whether the number of ballots in the box corresponds with the number of ballots to be counted.

Subd. 2. Excess ballots. If two or more ballots are found folded together like a single ballot, the election judges shall lay them aside until all the ballots in the box have been counted. If it is evident from the number of ballots to be counted that the ballots folded together were cast by one voter, the election judges shall preserve but not count them. If the number of ballots in one box exceeds the number to be counted, the election judges shall examine all the ballots in the box to ascertain that all are properly marked with the initials of the election judges. If any ballots are not properly marked with the initials of the election judges, the election judges shall preserve but not count them; however, if the number of ballots does not exceed the number to be counted, the absence of either or both sets of initials of the election judges does not, by itself, disqualify the vote from being counted and must not be the basis of a challenge in a recount. If there is still an excess of properly marked ballots, the election judges shall replace them in the box, and one election judge, without looking, shall withdraw from the box a number of ballots equal to the excess. The withdrawn ballots shall not be counted but shall be preserved as provided in subdivision 4.

Subd. 3. Ballots in wrong box. If the election judges find in a ballot box any ballots that are not the kind properly belonging in it, they shall lay those ballots aside. If the number of ballots found in any box equals or exceeds the number of ballots to be counted, the ballots which should have been placed in that box, but which are found in another box, shall not be counted. If the number of ballots found in a box is less that the number of ballots to be counted, and a number of ballots equal to or less than the deficiency and properly belonging in that box are found in another box, the latter ballots shall be counted. If the number of ballots found in another box exceeds the deficiency, the excess ballots shall be placed in the proper ballot box and, without looking, an election judge shall withdraw a number of ballots equal to the deficiency and the withdrawn ballots shall then be counted.

Subd. 4. Ballots not counted; disposition. When the final count of ballots agrees with the number of ballots to be counted, those ballots not counted shall be attached to a certificate made by the election judges which states why the ballots were not counted. The certificate of uncounted ballots shall be sealed in a separate envelope and returned to the county auditor or municipal or school district clerk from whom they were received.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 20; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 39; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 25

204C.21 COUNTING BALLOTS; PILING SYSTEM.

Amendment to subd. 1 is effective August 1, 2021            Subdivision 1. Method. The election judges shall take all the ballots of the same kind and count the votes cast for each office or question, beginning with the first office or question on the ballot. They shall make one

pile of the ballots for each candidate who received votes for that office, or one pile for the “Yes” votes and one pile for the “No” votes on a question. They shall make a pile of totally defective ballots and a pile of totally blank ballots. They shall make a pile of ballots that are not totally defective but are defective with respect to the office or question being counted and a pile of ballots that are not totally blank but are blank with respect to the office or question being counted. After the separation into piles, the election judges shall examine each pile and remove and place in the proper pile any ballots that are found in the wrong pile. The election judges shall count the totally blank and totally defective ballots and set them aside until the counting is over for that ballot. In conducting the count of blank ballots, election judges may presume that the total count provided for sealed prepacked ballots is correct. The election judges may pile ballots crosswise in groups of 25 in the same pile to facilitate counting. When their counts agree, the election judges shall announce the number of ballots in each pile, and shall write the number in the proper place on the summary statements.

The election judges shall then return all the counted ballots, and all the partially defective or partially blank ballots, to the original pile to be separated and counted in the same manner for the next office or question.

Subd. 2. More than one candidate to be elected; piling. Where more than one candidate is to be elected to an office, the votes for that office shall be counted and canvassed in the manner provided in subdivision 1 as far as practicable.

Subd. 3. Primary. At a primary the election judges shall first separate the partisan ballots by major political party and then count the votes for each office as provided in subdivision 1.  The nonpartisan primary ballots shall be counted separately after the partisan primary ballots have been counted.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 21; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 11

204C.22 DETERMINING VOTER’S INTENT

Subdivision 1. Ballot valid if intent determinable. A ballot shall not be rejected for a technical error that does not make it impossible to determine the voter’s intent. In determining intent the principles contained in this section apply.

Subd. 2. From face of ballot only. Intent shall be ascertained only from the face of the ballot.

Subd. 3. Votes for too many candidates. If a voter places a mark beside the names of more candidates for an office than are to be elected or nominated, the ballot is defective with respect only to that office. No vote shall be counted for any candidate for that office, but the rest of the ballot shall be counted if possible. At a primary, if a voter has not indicated a party preference and places a mark beside the names of candidates of more than one party on the partisan ballot, the ballot is totally defective and no votes on it shall be counted. If a voter has indicated a party preference at a primary, only votes cast for candidates of that party shall be counted.

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.

Subd. 4. Name written in proper place. If a voter has written the name of an individual in the proper place on a general or special election ballot a vote shall be counted for that individual whether or not the voter makes a mark in the oval or other target shape opposite the blank.

Subd. 4a. Write-in vote for candidate team. A write-in vote cast for a candidate for governor without a write-in vote for a candidate for lieutenant governor must be counted as a vote for the candidate team including the lieutenant governor candidate selected by that candidate for governor.

Subd. 5. Name written on primary ballot. If a voter has written the name of an individual on a primary or special primary ballot, a vote shall not be counted for that office.

Subd. 6. Mark out of place. If a mark (X) is made out of its proper place, but so near a name or space as to indicate clearly the voter’s intent, the vote shall be counted.

Subd. 7. All written names or marks counted up to limit. If a number of individuals are to be elected to the same office, the election judges shall count all names written in and all printed names with marks in oval or other target shape opposite them, not exceeding the whole number to be elected. When fewer names than the number to be elected are marked or written in, only the marked or written in names shall be counted. When more names than the number to be elected are marked or written in, the ballot is defective with respect to that office and no vote shall be counted for that office.

Subd. 8. Misspelling; abbreviations. Misspelling or abbreviations of the names of write-in candidates shall be disregarded if the individual for whom the vote was intended can be clearly ascertained from the ballot.

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.

Subd. 10. Different marks. If a voter uniformly uses a mark that clearly indicates an intent to mark a name or to mark yes or no on a question, and the voter does not use the more standard mark anywhere else on the ballot, a vote shall be counted for each candidate or 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 response to a question marked, unless the ballot is marked by distinguishing characteristics that make the entire ballot defective as provided in subdivision 13.

Subd. 11. Attempted erasures. If the names of two candidates have been marked, and an attempt has been made to erase or obliterate one of the marks, a vote shall be counted for the remaining marked candidate. If an attempt has been made to obliterate a write-in name a vote shall be counted for the remaining write-in name or marked candidate.

Subd. 12. Soil; defacement. A ballot shall not be rejected merely because it is slightly soiled or defaced.

Subd. 13. Identifying ballot. If a ballot is marked by distinguishing characteristics in a manner making it evident that the voter intended to identify the ballot, the entire ballot is defective.

Subd. 14. No votes for certain offices. If the number of candidates for an office is equal to the number of individuals to be elected to that office, and the voter has not marked any name, no vote shall be counted for any candidate for that office.

Subd. 15. Blank ballot for one or more offices valid. If no name or 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.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 22; 1987 c 222 s 2; 1990 c 453 s 7-10; 1991 c 320 s 14; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 38-41

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.22

Mere irregularities in marking of ballots, which neither create uncertainty as to voter’s choice nor serve as distinguishing signs violative of secrecy are not cause for rejecting ballot. Sperl v. Wegwerth, 265 Minn. 47, 120 N.W. 2d 955 (1963).

Appearance of marks which trial court may reasonably consider to be tentative or accidental should not destroy ballot. Id.

Ballot on which “X” mark was clearly placed in box provided for vote for one candidate was properly allowed, even though another short faint mark apparently made with ball point pen was placed before other candidate’s name. Id.

Ballot on which diagonal mark appeared below X and in front of place provided for opposing candidate was properly allowed. Id.

Ballot on which voter made clear mark in box opposite candidate’s name was properly allowed even though voter had also used check mark in line above name of such candidate and then had drawn line through it as if to indicate mistake. Id.

Ballot on which voter uniformly used check marks in indicating his choices but on which check marks started out as short downstroke with longer diagonal upstroke, but gradually changed until at one point voter used what appeared to be diagonal or slash-type mark, was properly allowed. Id.

Ballot containing uniform crossmarks in squares opposite names of those for whom voter had cast his vote but which contained word “no” in squares opposite names of two candidates for whom he did not vote was properly counted in election for state representative. Fitzgerald v. Morlock, 264 Minn. 520, 120 N.W. 2d 339 (1963).

Although voter’s crossmarks were somewhat irregular, since they indicated an attempt by voter to place crossmark in voting space before name of every candidate for which vote was cast and voter’s intent could be clearly ascertained, ballot was properly counted. Id.

Ballot which contained heavily penciled line in write-in space for one office was properly counted despite argument that pencil line was a distinguishing mark by voter. Id.

Voting by double “X” for candidate did not of itself constitute an identifying or distinguishing mark and ballot should be counted. Id.

Ballot in which voter wrote in name of candidate for sheriff in write-in space for coroner was valid and would be counted in election for state representative. Id.

Ballot which had crossmarks both before and after several candidates’ names did not show voter was attempting to identify ballot and would be counted. Id.

Ballot on which name “jake” was written in the write-in space for coroner did not contain an intentional distinguishing mark and would be counted in election for office of state representative. Id.

Irregularities in marking of ballots which neither create uncertainty as to voter’s choice nor serve as distinguishing signs, violative of secrecy, are not course for rejecting ballots. Id.

Ballot on which voter wrote name “anderson” in space for coroner, without further identification of person for whom vote was cast, did not contain an identifying mark intentionally placed there by voter and would be counted in election for state representative. Id.

Person who challenges ballot on ground that voter has placed a distinguishing mark thereon for purpose of identifying ballot must bear burden of proving that voter, not someone else, made identifying marks. Id.

Ballot containing oval mark in upper left hand corner, obviously made by voter in testing writing quality of pen before marking ballot, was properly counted despite claim that oval was an identifying mark. Id.

Marks made by voter on ballot in such a manner that it can reasonably be seen or inferred that they were made in an attempt to indicate his choice or vote for candidates or measures to be voted for, are generally held not to be identifying marks. Id.

Ballots otherwise marked with pencil but on which extraneous numeral “5" in one case and “9" in the other appeared on bottom of face of ballot, apparently written by same hand with ballpoint pen, would be counted in absence of testimony that voters might have placed these marks on the ballots as identifying marks. Id.

Ballot which contained words “anyone else” in write-in space for county surveyor and surname “Phillips” written in space for coroner did not show intent

to make an identifying mark and would be counted in election for office of state representative. Id.

Ballot on which voter wrote an identifiable name in write-in space for coroner without any crossmark being placed in voting square was not valid as an attempt to distinguish ballot, and would be counted in election for state representative. Id.

Ballot which contained word “no” and an obliteration before name of one candidate was properly accepted for counting. Id.

Ballot in which voter had crossed out letter “J” while attempting to write in name of “Dr. Jurgens” for coroner had a mere obliteration and would be counted in election for office of representative. Id.

Ballots which had crossmarks both in pencil and in ink on same ballot were properly counted. Id.

Ballot having uniform crossmarks except for one check mark opposite write-in space for coroner contained a mere irregularity and would be counted in election for state representative. Id.

Ballots which contained superfluous or irregular marks of one kind or another outside voting squares were properly counted and could not be rejected as containing distinguishing or identifying marks. Id.

Ballot whose only irregularity was two crossmarks within voting square for county auditor and from which voter’s intent could be clearly ascertained would be counted in election for state representative. Id.

Ballots which contained slightly indistinct crossmarks and which were not exactly uniform were properly counted in election contest where crossmarks closely approximated correct marks. Id.

Ballot in which second type of voting mark used thereon was somewhat indistinct but which fulfilled statutory requirement in that it closely approximated proper crossmark as otherwise uniformly used, should be counted. Id.

Ballot in which voter appeared to have inadvertently placed an extraneous figure “C” in write-in space for county surveyor, but which was otherwise uniformly marked in a clear manner, would be counted in election for state representative. Id.

Ballot which had short perpendicular pencil mark in write-in space for office of coroner but which had all other crossmarks uniform was properly counted in election for office of state representative. Id.

Ballots which contained otherwise uniform crossmarks throughout but which, in one case, had a downstroke in crossmark for sheriff and, in other case, had line drawn across top of crossmark used to vote for commissioner were properly counted in election for state representative. Id.

Ballot in which voter placed a crossmark in voting square opposite write-in space for county treasurer and an additional crossmark before printed name of candidate for treasurer but otherwise used uniform crossmarks throughout ballot was properly counted for office of state representative. Id.

Before ballot shall be declared defective because of identifying marks theron, there must be evidence that the voter, and not an election judge or some other person, marked the ballot with distinguishing characteristics which evidenced the voter’s intent to identify it. Marshal v. Stepka, 259 Minn. 533, 108 N.W. 2d 955 (1961).

Where an office is to be filled at an election, the voter may indicate his choice on the ballot although the ballot contains no appropriate blank for such purpose. Aura v. Brandt, 211 Minn. 281, 1 N.W. 2d 381 (1942).

Where an office is not filled at an election, but there is an honest belief on part of voters, resting upon reasonable grounds, that there is a vacancy to fill, voter may indicate his choice on the ballot although the ballot contains no appropriate blank for such purpose. Id.

Ballot, on which no pencil mark appeared but on which appeared faint indication of crossmark opposite name of candidate in square after his name which had resulted from pressure exerted on some other piece of paper on which pencil mark was actually made, was properly rejected because not marked with pencil. Id. Pye v. Hanzel, 200 Minn. 135, 273 N.W. 611 (1937).

Disqualification of person receiving highest number of votes does not result in election of qualified person receiving next highest number of votes unless voters had knowledge of disqualifications. Op. Atty. Gen. 184M, April 11, 1961.

Spoiled and defective ballots may not be considered in determining whether or not an ordinance requiring a percentage of the vote cast at an election is passed. Op. Atty. Gen. 28A-3, April 14, 1955.

When name is written on ballot and there are two persons in township by same name, parol evidence may be considered in determining intention of voter. Op. Atty. Gen. 28A-3, March 22, 1949.

Spoiled ballots should not be included in determining result of question of public of public importance requiring a percentage of the vote cast at such election. Op. Atty. Gen. 434C-5, April 7, 1948.

Where two justices of the Supreme Court are to be elected, four names appear upon ballot, and ballot contains the instruction “vote for two” a voter may, if he wishes, vote for but one candidate and have his ballot counted, but if voter marks more names than there are candidates to be elected, his ballot shall not be counted for such office, although the rest of his ballot, if properly marked, shall be counted. Op. Atty. Gen. 1948, 42, p. 92.

Where a name is written in on ballot such ballot must be counted whether an “X” appears in the square following the name or not. Op. Atty. Gen. 28A-3, April 18, 1945.

204C.23 DEFECTIVE BALLOTS.

A ballot that is defective to the extent that the election judges are unable to determine the voter’s intent shall be marked on the back “Defective” if it is totally defective or “Defective as to      ,” naming the office or question if it is defective only in part.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 23

Subdivision 1. Procedure. The secretary of state shall establish a procedure for the review of complaints regarding the administration of Title III of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, Public Law 107-252, including complaints about voting system standards, computerized statewide registration lists and equipment, voter registration requirements, and other features of state implementation of that act. The secretary of state shall provide a complaint form that requires the signature of the complainant, an affidavit and notarization, and the attachment of any supporting documentation. The form must indicate that any election judge, while serving, is deemed a notary public for purposes of Public Law 107-252, section 402.

Subd. 2. Political subdivisions. (a) The procedure in this subdivision applies if a complaint under subdivision 1 pertains to a town, city, school, or county employee or official.

(b)          The secretary of state must provide the town clerk, city clerk, school district clerk, or county auditor with a copy of the complaint within three business days of receiving it.

(c)           The town clerk, city clerk, school district clerk, or county auditor has 20 days to either reach an agreement with the complainant or file a written response to the complaint with the secretary of state.

(d)          The secretary of state shall provide the complainant with a copy of the response and an opportunity for a hearing on the record.

(e)          If a hearing on the record is requested, the town clerk, city clerk, school district clerk, or county auditor must be given notice and the opportunity to participate.

(f)           The secretary of state shall issue a final determination, and, if necessary, a remedial plan, no later than 90 days after the filing of the complaint. If the secretary of state fails to issue the determination within 90 days, the secretary of state must provide alternative dispute resolution for the disposition of the complaint. That process must be completed within 60 days of its commencement.

Subd. 3. Secretary of state. (a) The procedure in this subdivision applies if a complaint under subdivision 1 pertains to the secretary of state.

(b)          The secretary of state must forward the complaint to the Office of Administrative Hearings within three business days after receiving it.

(c)           The secretary of state has 20 days to either reach an agreement with the complainant or file a written response to the complaint with the Office of Administrative Hearings.

(d)          The Office of Administrative Hearings must provide the complainant with a copy of the response and an opportunity for a hearing on the record.

(e)          If a hearing on the record is requested, the secretary of state must be given notice and an opportunity to participate.

(f)           The Office of Administrative Hearings must issue a final determination and remedial plan if necessary no later than 90 days after the filing of the complaint. If the Office of Administrative Hearings fails to issue the determination within 90 days, it must provide alternative dispute resolution for the disposition of the complaint. That process must be completed within 60 days of its commencement.

Subd. 4. Application of chapter 14. Proceedings under this section are not subject to chapter 14.

Subd. 5. Appeal. A determination made under subdivision 2 is not an agency determination subject to appellate review. Either party may initiate an appeal from the secretary of state's final order in the district court in the county where the town, city, or county employee or official is employed.

Subd. 6. Review. A determination made under subdivision 3 is subject to appellate review.

History: 1Sp2003 c 7 s 2

NOTES AND DECISIONS 200.04

Registered voters and organizations representing registered voters failed to exhaust their adequate state law remedies, as required to bring their action alleging that various Minnesota state and county officials responsible for election administration or enforcement of election laws violated their rights under United States and the Minnesota Constitutions by not taking sufficient steps to ensure that election day registrants were eligible to vote. Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Ritchie, 890 F.Supp.2d 1106 (D. Minn. 2012).

Complainants’ complaint pursuant to statute failed to allege facts to support a claim that Respondent Secretary of State violated the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) or the state laws enacted to implement it. McGrath v. Minnesota Secretary of State, OAH 15-3500-21801-HV (March 7, 2011).

200.04-200.38 MS 1957 [Repealed, 1959 c 675 art 13 s 1]

202A.11 PARTY NAME.

Subdivision 1. Change. Any major political party may change its name by complying with the following conditions:

The state central committee of the party may call a convention, and shall state in its call that a convention is called for a certain time and place, for the purpose of changing the name of the party to some specific name given in the call. The convention shall be held not less than 70 days before the state primary, and the change shall be agreed upon by resolution of a majority of the convention. A copy of the resolution determining the change of the name, certified by the chair and secretary of the convention, shall be filed with the secretary of state within five days after the holding of the convention. Thereafter the political party shall be known by the new name called for by the resolution, and the party under its new name shall have all the rights that it had under its former name.

Subd. 2. Right to use. A major political party which has adopted a party name is entitled to the exclusive use of that name for the designation of its candidates on all ballots, and no candidate of any other political party is entitled to have printed on a ballot as a party designation any part of that name.

History: 1975 c 5 s 2; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 4; 1986 c 444; 1986 c 475 s 5

NOTES AND DECISIONS 202A.11

Party name protection law applies only to names of major political parties. Scofield v. Kiffmeyer, 620 N.W.2d 24 (Minn. 2000).

A nonparty candidate for state senator could be designated as “Independent” on the ballot even though one of the political parties within the state used the word “Independent” in its name. Shaw v Johnson, 247 N.W. 2d 921 (Minn. 1976).

In determining whether prohibition of the Party Name Protection act should be applied to a nonparty candidate, court will examine whether confusion would result from the designation desired by the nonparty candidate. Id.

202A.12 STATE CONVENTION, AUTHORITY OF.

Subdivision 1. Time of convention.  The final authority over the affairs of each major political party is

vested in the party’s state convention to be held at least once every state general election year at the call of the state central committee.

Subd. 2. State central committee.  Subject to the control of the state convention the general management

of the affairs of the state party is vested in the party’s state central committee.

Subd. 3. State executive committee. The state executive committee of the party shall have charge of the administration of the party’s affairs, subject to the direction and control of the state convention and the state central committee.

Subd. 4. Constitution, filing. The chair of the state central committee of each party shall file with the

secretary of state a copy of the party’s constitution and all amendments to the constitution as they are enacted.

History: 1975 c 5 s 3; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 38; 1986 c 444

NOTES AND DECISIONS 202A.12

The “one man-one vote” principle was satisfied by according every political party member his vote at precinct caucus level and malapportionment of state party convention because each county was accorded minimum of six votes did not violate the equal portion clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Irish v. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, 287 F. Supp. 794 (D. Minn.), aff’d, 399 F.2d 119 (8th Cir. 1968).

202A.13 COMMITTEES, CONVENTIONS.

The rules of each major political party shall provide that for each congressional district and each county or legislative district a convention shall be held at least once every state general election year. Each major political party shall also provide for each congressional district and each county or legislative district an executive committee consisting of a chair and such other officers as may be necessary. The party rules may provide for only one executive committee and one convention where any county and congressional district have the same territorial limits.

A delegate or alternate who is deaf, deafblind, or hard-of-hearing who needs interpreter services at a county, legislative district, congressional district, or state convention shall so notify the executive committee of the major political party unit whose convention the delegate or alternate plans to attend. Written notice must be given by certified mail or electronic mail to the executive committee at least 30 days before the convention date. The major political party, not later than 14 days before the convention date, shall secure the services of one or more interpreters if available and shall assume responsibility for the cost of the services. The state central committee of the major political party shall determine the process for reimbursing interpreters.

A visually impaired delegate or alternate to a county, legislative district, congressional district, or state convention may notify the executive committee of the major political party unit that the delegate or alternate requires convention materials in audio tape, Braille, or large print format. Upon receiving the request, the executive committee shall provide all official written convention materials as soon as they are available, so that the visually impaired individual may have them converted to audio tape, Braille, or large print format, prior to the convention.

History: 1975 c 5 s 4; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 38; 1986 c 444; 1989 c 308 s 1; 1990 c 585 s 18; 2013 c 62 s 11; 2016 c 161

art 1 s 1

202A.135 LEAVE TIME FROM EMPLOYMENT; PARTY OFFICERS; DELEGATES TO PARTY CONVENTIONS.

If an employee gives at least ten days written notice to the employer, the employee may be absent from work to attend any meeting of the state central committee or executive committee of a major political party if the employee is a member of the committee, or may attend any convention of major political party delegates including meetings of official convention committees if the employee is a delegate or alternate delegate to that convention. An employee who gives proper notice as provided in this section shall suffer no penalty or deduction from salary or wages on account of absence other than a deduction in salary or wages for the actual time of absence from employment. A violation of this section by an employer is a misdemeanor.

History: 1980 c 400 s 1; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 38; 1986 c 444

202A.14 PRECINCT CAUCUS.

Subdivision 1. Time and manner of holding; postponement (a) In every state general election year, beginning at 7:00 p.m. on the date established pursuant to paragraph (b), there shall be held for every election precinct a party caucus in the manner provided in sections 202A.14 to 202A.19.

(b)          (1) The chairs of the two largest major political parties shall jointly submit to the secretary of state, no later than March 1 of each odd-numbered year, the single date on which the two parties have agreed to conduct their precinct caucuses in the next even-numbered year. For a year when a presidential nomination primary is scheduled, the date submitted must not be the date of the presidential nomination primary, or the town general election date provided in section 205.075, subdivision 1.

(2)          Within two business days after the parties have agreed on a single date on which to conduct their precinct caucuses, the secretary of state shall publicly announce the official state precinct caucus date for the following general election year.

(3)          If the chairs of the two largest major political parties do not jointly submit a single date for conducting their precinct caucuses as provided in this paragraph, then for purposes of the next general election year, one of the following dates shall be considered the day of a major political party precinct caucus and sections 202A.19 and 202A.192 shall only apply on that date:

(i)            the first Tuesday in February in a year when no presidential nomination primary is required; or

(ii)           the Tuesday immediately prior to the presidential nomination primary in a year when a presidential nomination primary is required.

(4)          For purposes of this paragraph, the two largest major political parties shall be the parties whose candidates for governor received the greatest and second-greatest number of votes at the most recent gubernatorial election.

(c)           In the event of severe weather a major political party may request the secretary of state to postpone caucuses. If a major political party makes a request, or upon the secretary of state’s own initiative, after consultation with all major political parties and on the advice of the federal weather bureau and the department of transportation, the secretary of state may declare precinct caucuses to be postponed for a week in counties where weather makes travel especially dangerous. The secretary of state shall submit a notice of the postponement to news media covering the affected counties by 6:00 p.m. on the scheduled day of the caucus.

A postponed caucus may also be postponed pursuant to this subdivision.

Subd. 2. Caucus call. The chair of the county or legislative district executive committee, whichever is provided for by party rules, shall issue the call for the precinct caucus at least 20 days before the time set for holding the caucus, and the call shall contain the following:

(a)          Name of party;

(b)          Precinct number;

(c)           Date caucus is to be held;

(d)          Place caucus is to be held;

(e)          Hours during which caucus shall be held;

(f)           Statutory rules governing the caucus;

(g)          A statement of business to be conducted including the election of a chair and such other officers as may be provided by party rules, and the election of delegates to county or district conventions;

(h)          Number of delegates to be elected;

(i)            Name of the county or legislative district chair issuing the call;

(j)            Name of the present precinct chair or other person who will be the convener of the caucus;

(k)           A space for entering the names of the officers and delegates elected by the caucus.

Subd. 3. Notice. The county or legislative district chair shall give at least six days' published notice of the holding of the precinct caucus, stating the place, date, and time for holding the caucus, and shall deliver the same information to the municipal clerk and county auditor at least 20 days before the precinct caucus. The county auditor shall make this information available at least ten days before the date of the caucuses to persons who request it.

History: 1975 c 5 s 5; 1975 c 292 s 1,2; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 38; 1983 c 168 s 1; 1986 c 324 s 1; 1986 c 444; 1987 c

263 s 1; 1991 c 349 s 29; 1993 c 150 s 1; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 12; 2008 c 263 s 1; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 13; 2016 c 162 s 2

NOTES AND DECISIONS 202A.14

Political party did not violate “one man-one vote” principle with respect to precinct caucuses where anyone who wished could appear at precinct caucus and if he certified that he was or would be a qualified voter and was in agreement with principles of the party he might vote for the election of delegates to the county convention. Irish v. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, 287 F. Supp. 794 (D. Minn.), aff’d, 399 F.2d 119 (8th Cir. 1968).

202A.15 TIME AND PLACE OF CAUCUS.

Subdivision 1. Time. Precinct caucuses within a county shall be held on the day established pursuant to section 202A.14, subdivision 1, and the caucuses shall remain open for at least one hour.

Subd. 2. Place. The precinct caucuses shall be held at the regular polling places for each precinct or other suitable places designated in the call, and no caucus may be adjourned to any other place or time.

In the event that there is only one suitable meeting place in the precinct polling place and the major political parties cannot agree as to its use, the county auditor shall decide by lot prior to January 15, 1970, the party which is to receive the use of the meeting place in years evenly divisible by four and which party shall receive the use of the meeting place in other years in which a state general election is held. The report of such selections by lot in the county shall be filed by the auditor with the county board which shall publish the same as a part of the minutes of the board meeting at which the report is filed.

A precinct caucus must be held at a place that meets the accessibility standards for precinct polling places specified in section 204B.16, subdivision 5. In addition, the place where a precinct caucus is held must contain restrooms that conform to the standards in the state building code for accessibility by handicapped persons. If a precinct caucus is held on a floor of a building that is either above or below the entrance level for the building, an elevator must be available. Any elevators used for access to the room where the precinct caucus is held must conform to the standards in the state building code for accessibility by handicapped persons.

If there are not enough places within a precinct that are or can be made accessible as provided by this subdivision and section 204B.16, subdivision 5, for each major party to hold its precinct caucus, a major party may hold its caucus at a place outside one of the boundaries of the precinct in order to comply with accessibility requirements.

If only one place satisfies the accessibility and location requirements of this subdivision, the major parties shall alternate use of the place. Prior to January 1, 1990, the county auditor shall decide by lot which party is to use the accessible place in years evenly divisible by four and which party is to use the place in other years when a state general election is held.

History: 1975 c 5 s 6; 1975 c 292 s 3; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 38; 1989 c 308 s 2; 2008 c 263 s 2

202A.155 INTERPRETER SERVICES; CAUCUS MATERIALS.

An individual who is deaf, deafblind, or hard-of-hearing who needs interpreter services at a precinct caucus shall so notify the major political party whose caucus the individual plans to attend. Notice must be given by letter or electronic mail to the state office of the major political party before the precinct caucus date. The major political party shall promptly attempt to secure the services of one or more interpreters if available and shall assume responsibility for the cost of the services. The state central committee of the major political party shall determine the process for reimbursing interpreters.

A visually impaired individual may notify the county or legislative district committee of the major political party whose precinct caucus the individual plans to attend, that the individual requires caucus materials in audio tape, Braille, or large type format. Upon receiving the request, the county or legislative district committee shall provide all official written caucus materials as soon as they are available, so that the visually impaired individual may have them converted to audio tape, Braille, or large print format prior to the precinct caucus.

History: 1989 c 308 s 3; 2006 c 242 s 15; 2013 c 62 s 12

202A.156 INTERPRETER SERVICES AND ACCESSIBLE PRECINCT CAUCUS EXEMPTIONS.

A major political party is not required to:

(1)          provide an interpreter for a convention or precinct caucus if it has made documented good faith efforts to locate and assign an interpreter, including contacting an interpreter referral center or regional service center for people who are deaf, deafblind, and hard-of-hearing, and no interpreters are available; or

(2)          hold a precinct caucus at a place that meets the accessibility standards for precinct polling places specified in section 204B.16, subdivision 5, if it has made documented good faith efforts to locate and secure an available accessible site within a reasonable distance of the precinct, and no accessible site is available.

History: 1989 c 308 s 4; 2013 c 62 s 13

202A.16 CAUCUS, WHO MAY PARTICIPATE AND VOTE.

Subdivision 1. Eligible voters. Only those individuals who are or will be eligible to vote at the time of the next state general election, may vote or be elected a delegate or officer at the precinct caucus. An eligible voter may vote or be elected a delegate or officer only in the precinct where the voter resides at the time of the caucus.

Subd. 2. Agreement with party principles. Only those persons who are in agreement with the principles of the party as stated in the party’s constitution, and who either voted or affiliated with the party at the last state general election or intend to vote or affiliate with the party at the next state general election, may vote at the precinct caucus.

Subd. 3. Decision by caucus vote. In case the right of a person to participate at the caucus is challenged, the question of the right to participate shall be decided by a vote of the whole caucus. A person so challenged may not vote on the question of the person’s right to participate.

Subd. 4. One caucus per year. No person may vote or participate at more than one party’s caucuses in

any one year.

History: 1975 c 5 s 7; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 5,38; 1986 c 444; 1986 c 475 s 6

NOTES AND DECISIONS 202A.16

See Minn. Const. art VII, s 1, and notes to M.S. 201.014.

Candidate’s post-election claim that precinct caucus participation statute violated the First Amendment was barred by doctrine of laches. Carlson v. Ritchie, 830 N.W.2d 887 (Minn. 2013).

“One man-one vote” principle would not be extended to alleviate alleged malapportionment in state delegation to National Democratic Convention where malapportionment, if any, had come about by action of properly elected precinct delegates to the county conventions and by action in party structure after county conventions. Irish v. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, 399 F2d 119 (8th Cir. 1968), aff’g, 287 F.Supp. 794 (D. Minn. 1968).

Subdivision 1. Temporary chair. The convener shall be the temporary chair of the caucus.

Subd. 2. Nominations; time of election of officers and delegates. Nominations for the election of permanent officers and delegates shall remain open for at least the first quarter hour of the caucus. Election of delegates and alternates must begin within one hour of convening a caucus. Election of delegates and alternates may begin one-half hour after the convening of the caucus.

Subd. 2a. Preference ballot. Prior to the opening of nominations for the election of permanent offices and delegates, a ballot must be distributed to permit caucus participants to indicate their preference for the office of the governor. The results of preference voting must be reported to the secretary of state immediately upon conclusion of the voting, in the manner provided by the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall provide the appropriate forms to the party for reporting the results.

Subd. 3. Secret ballot. All voting shall be by secret ballot.

Subd. 4. Announcement and certification of election results. Upon completion of the counting of votes the chair shall announce the names of persons who are elected, and shall certify the names to the chair of the county or legislative district executive committee and to the chair of the state central committee.

Subd. 5. Rules of order. All questions concerning the manner in which a caucus is conducted or called that are not covered by statute shall be determined by Robert’s Rules of Order (revised) unless otherwise specified by party rules.

History: 1975 c 5 s 9; 1975 c 292 s 4; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 263 s 2; 1999 c 250 art 1 s 84; 2016 c 162 s 3

202A.19 CAUCUS, SCHOOL SCHEDULE PREEMPTION, EXCUSAL FROM EMPLOYMENT TO ATTEND.

Subdivision 1. Limits on local government meetings. No special taxing district governing body, school board, county board of commissioners, township board, or city council may conduct a meeting after 6:00 p.m. on the day of a major political party precinct caucus. As used in this subdivision, “special taxing district” has the meaning given in section 275.066.

Subd. 2. Absence from work. Every employee who is entitled to attend a major political party precinct caucus is entitled, after giving the employer at least ten days’ written notice, to be absent from work for the purpose of attending the caucus during the time for which the caucus is scheduled without penalty or deduction from salary or wages on account of the absence other than a deduction in salary for the time of absence from employment.

Subd. 3. Limits on college or university meetings. The University of Minnesota may not schedule an event which will take place after 6:00 p.m. on the day of a major political party precinct caucus unless permission to do so has been received from the board of regents. No Minnesota state college or university may schedule an event which will take place after 6:00 p.m. on the day of a major political party precinct caucus unless permission to do so has been received from the board of trustees of the Minnesota state colleges and universities.

Subd. 4. Use of public school buildings. No school official may deny the use of a public school building for the holding of a major political party precinct caucus if the school office has received a written request for the use of the school building 30 days or more prior to the date of the caucus.

Subd. 5. Limits on public school events. No public elementary or secondary school may hold a school sponsored event after 6:00 p.m. on the day of a major political party precinct caucus.

Subd. 6. Limits on state public meetings. No state agency, board, commission, department or committee shall conduct a public meeting after 6:00 p.m. on the day of a major political party precinct caucus.

History: 1973 c 349 s 2; 1975 c 5 s 10; 1975 c 321 s 1; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 38; 1983 c 168 s 2; 1986 c 444; 1996 c 395

s 9; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 9

202A.192 USE OF PUBLIC FACILITIES.

Every statutory city, home rule charter city, county, town, school district and other public agency, including the university of Minnesota and other public colleges and universities, shall make their facilities available for the holding of precinct caucuses and legislative district or county conventions required by this chapter. A charge for the use of the facilities may be imposed in an amount that does not exceed the lowest amount charged to any public or private group.

History: 1978 c 591 s 1

202A.20 CAUCUS INFORMATION; RESULTS.

Subdivision 1. Information. The secretary of state may sponsor or participate in activities designed to provide public information related to the precinct caucuses and to promote participation in the caucus process.

Subd. 2. Reporting caucus results. The secretary of state shall promptly report to the public the results of preference balloting at the precinct caucuses.

History: 1989 c 291 art 1 s 2; 1999 c 250 art 1 s 85

13.045 SAFE AT HOME PROGRAM PARTICIPANT DATA.

Subdivision 1. Definitions. As used in this section:

(1)          "program participant" has the meaning given in section 5B.02, paragraph (g);

(2)          "location data" means any data that may be used to physically locate a program participant, including but not limited to the program participant's residential address, work address, and school address, and that is collected, received, or maintained by a government entity prior to the date a program participant's certification expires, or the date the entity receives notice that the program participant has withdrawn from the program, whichever is earlier;

(3)          "identity data" means data that may be used to identify a program participant, including the program participant's name, phone number, e-mail address, address designated under chapter 5B, Social Security number, or driver's license number, and that is collected, received, or maintained by a government entity before the date a program participant's certification expires, or the date the entity receives notice that the program participant has withdrawn from the program, whichever is earlier;

(4)          "county recorder" means the county official who performs the functions of the county recorder or registrar of titles to record a document as part of the county real estate document recording system, regardless of title or office; and

(5)          "real property records" means any record of data that is maintained by a county as part of the county real estate document recording system for use by the public.

Subd. 2. Notification of certification. (a) A program participant may submit a notice, in writing, to the responsible authority of any government entity other than the county recorder that the participant is certified in the Safe at Home address confidentiality program pursuant to chapter 5B. The notice must include the program participant's name, names of other program participants in the household, address designated under chapter 5B, program participant signature, date the program participant's certification in the program expires, and any other information specified by the secretary of state. A program participant may submit a subsequent notice of certification, if the participant's certification is renewed. The contents of the notification of certification are private data on individuals.

(b)          To affect real property records, including but not limited to documents maintained in a public recording system, data on assessments and taxation, and other data on real property, a program participant must submit a real property notice in writing to the county recorder in the county where the property identified in the real property notice is located. A real property notice must be on a form prescribed by the secretary of state and must include:

(1)          the full legal name of the program participant, including middle name;

(2)          the last four digits of the program participant's Social Security number;

(3)          the designated address of the program participant as assigned by the secretary of state, including lot number;

(4)          the date the program participant's certification in the program expires;

(5)          the legal description and street address, if any, of the real property affected by the notice;

(6)          the address of the Office of the Secretary of State; and

(7)          the signature of the program participant.

Only one parcel of real property may be included in each notice, but more than one notice may be presented to the county recorder. The county recorder may require a program participant to provide additional information necessary to identify the records of the program participant or the real property described in the notice. A program participant must submit a subsequent real property notice for the real property if the participant's certification is renewed. The real property notice is private data on individuals.

Subd. 3. Classification of identity and location data; sharing and dissemination.

(a)          Identity and location data on a program participant who submits a notice under subdivision 2, paragraph (a), that are not otherwise classified by law are private data on individuals. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, private or confidential location data on a program participant who submits a notice under subdivision 2, paragraph (a), may not be shared with any other government entity or nongovernmental entity except as provided in paragraph (b).

(b)          Private or confidential location data on a program participant must not be shared or disclosed by a government entity unless:

(1)          the program participant has expressly consented in writing to sharing or dissemination of the data for the purpose for which the sharing or dissemination will occur;

(2)          the data are subject to sharing or dissemination pursuant to court order under section 13.03, subdivision 6;

or

(3)          the data are subject to sharing pursuant to section 5B.07, subdivision 2;

(4)          the location data related to county of residence are needed to provide public assistance or other

government services, or to allocate financial responsibility for the assistance or services;

(5)          the data are necessary to perform a government entity's health, safety, or welfare functions, including the provision of emergency 911 services, the assessment and investigation of child or vulnerable adult abuse or neglect, or the assessment or inspection of services or locations for compliance with health, safety, or professional standards; or

(6)          the data are necessary to aid an active law enforcement investigation of the program participant.

(c)           Data disclosed under paragraph (b), clauses (4) to (6), may be used only for the purposes authorized in this subdivision and may not be further disclosed to any other person or government entity. Government entities receiving or sharing private or confidential data under this subdivision shall establish procedures to protect the data from further disclosure.

(d)          Real property record data are governed by subdivision 4a.

Subd. 4. Acceptance of alternate address required. Regardless of whether a notice of certification has been submitted under subdivision 2, a government entity must accept the address designated by the secretary of state as a program participant's address, and is subject to the requirements contained in section 5B.05, paragraphs (a) to (c).

Subd. 4a. Real property records. (a) If a program participant submits a notice to a county recorder under subdivision 2, paragraph (b), the county recorder must not disclose the program participant's identity data in conjunction with the property identified in the written notice, unless:

(1)          the program participant has consented to sharing or dissemination of the data for the purpose identified in a writing acknowledged by the program participant;

(2)          the data are subject to sharing or dissemination pursuant to court order under section 13.03, subdivision 6;

or

(3)          the secretary of state authorizes the sharing or dissemination of the data under subdivision 4b for the

purpose identified in the authorization. This subdivision does not prevent the county recorder from returning original documents to the individuals that submitted the documents for recording. This subdivision does not prevent the public disclosure of the participant's name and address designated under chapter 5B in the county reception index if the participant's name and designated address are not disclosed in conjunction with location data. Each county recorder shall establish procedures for recording or filing documents to comply with this subdivision. These procedures may include masking identity or location data and making documents or certificates of title containing the data private and not viewable except as allowed by this paragraph. The procedure must comply with the requirements of chapters 386, 507, 508, and 508A and other laws as appropriate, to the extent these requirements do not conflict with this section. The procedures must provide public notice of the existence of recorded documents and certificates of title that are not publicly viewable and the provisions for viewing them under this subdivision. Notice that a document or certificate is private and viewable only under this subdivision or subdivision 4b is deemed constructive notice of the document or certificate.

(b)          A real property notice is notice only to the county recorder. A notice that does not conform to the requirements of a real property notice under subdivision 2, paragraph (b), is not effective as a notice to the county recorder. On receipt of a real property notice, the county recorder shall provide a copy of the notice to the person who maintains the property tax records in that county, and provide a copy to the secretary of state at the address specified by the secretary of state in the notice.

(c)           Paragraph (a) applies only to the records recorded or filed concurrently with the real property notice specified in subdivision 2, paragraph (b), and real property records affecting the same real property recorded subsequent to the county's receipt of the real property notice.

(d)          The prohibition on disclosure in paragraph (a) continues until:

(1)          the program participant has consented to the termination of the real property notice in a writing acknowledged by the program participant;

(2)          the real property notice is terminated pursuant to a court order;

(3)          the program participant no longer holds a record interest in the real property identified in the real property notice; or

(4)          the secretary of state has given written notice to the county recorder who provided the secretary of state with a copy of a participant's real property notice that the program participant's certification has terminated. Notification under this paragraph must be given by the secretary of state within 90 days of the termination. Upon termination of the prohibition of disclosure, the county recorder shall make publicly viewable all documents and certificates of title relative to the participant that were previously partially or wholly private and not viewable.

Subd. 4b. Access to real property data; title examination. (a) Upon request, the secretary of state may share data regarding a program participant's real property records for the purpose of confirming or denying that the program participant's real property is the property subject to a bona fide title examination. The request must include:

(1)          the name, title, address, and affiliated organization, if applicable, of the person requesting data;

(2)          the purpose for requesting data;

(3)          the requestor's relationship, if any, to the program participant subject to the data; and

(4)          the legal description of the property subject to the title examination and any other information required by the secretary of state to respond to the request. The secretary of state shall approve or deny a request for access to data within two business days.

(b)          In responding to a bona fide request, the secretary of state may respond by an affirmation in writing that the property subject to the title examination is or is not the property subject to a program participant's real property notice. Notwithstanding subdivision 4a, or any law to the contrary, a party examining title may rely conclusively on the information contained in a written affirmation from the secretary of state.

(c)           Location data disclosed under this subdivision may be used only for the purposes authorized in this subdivision and may not be further disclosed to any other person. A person receiving private data under this subdivision shall establish procedures to protect the data from further disclosure.

Subd. 5. Duties of the secretary of state and other government entities limited. Nothing in this section establishes a duty for:

(1)          the Office of the Secretary of State to identify other government entities that may hold data on a program participant; or

(2)          the responsible authority of any government entity to independently determine whether it maintains data on a program participant, unless a request is received pursuant to section 13.04 or a notice of certification is submitted pursuant to this section.

Subd. 6. Service of process upon program participants. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, after a government entity receives a notice under subdivision 2 or 4a, if the government entity seeks to serve process upon a program participant, the service must be made by personal service or service by mail upon the secretary of state under section 5B.03, subdivision 1, clause (3). In an action in which service by publication is required or necessary, publication is valid if the publication omits the name of the program participant and the secretary of state has been served as provided in this subdivision.

Subd. 7. Sharing of program participant data with the secretary of state. Nothing in this section prevents a government entity from sharing program participant data with the secretary of state for the purpose of facilitating compliance with this section.

History: 2013 c 76 s 6; 2014 c 173 s 2

13.356 PERSONAL CONTACT AND ONLINE ACCOUNT INFORMATION.

(a)          The following data on an individual collected, maintained, or received by a government entity for notification purposes or as part of a subscription list for an entity's electronic periodic publications as requested by the individual are private data on individuals:

(1)          telephone number;

(2)          e-mail address; and

(3)          Internet user name, password, Internet protocol address, and any other similar data related to the individual's online account or access procedures.

(b)          Section 13.04, subdivision 2, does not apply to data classified under paragraph (a). Paragraph (a) does not apply to data submitted by an individual to the Campaign Finance Board to meet the legal requirements imposed by chapter 10A, to data submitted for purposes of making a public comment, or to data in a state agency's rulemaking e- mail list.

(c)           Data provided under paragraph (a) may only be used for the specific purpose for which the individual provided the data.

History: 2013 c 82 s 1

CHAPTER 205A - SCHOOL DISTRICT ELECTIONS

205A.01 DEFINITIONS.

Subdivision 1. Scope. The definitions in chapter 200 and in this section apply to this chapter.

Subd. 2. School District. “School district” means an independent or special school district, as defined in

section 120A.05.

History: 1987 c 266 art 1 s 48; 1999 c 86 art 1 s 46

205A.02 ELECTION LAW APPLICABLE.

Except as provided by law, the Minnesota Election Law applies to school district elections. Elections in common school districts shall be governed by section 123B.94.

History: 1987 c 266 art 1 s 49; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 39

205A.03 PRIMARIES.

Subdivision 1. Resolution requiring primary in certain circumstances. The school board of a school district may, by resolution adopted by April 15 of any year, decide to choose nominees for school board by a primary as provided in this section. The resolution, when adopted, is effective for all ensuing elections of board members in that school district until it is revoked. If the board decides to choose nominees by primary and if there are more than two candidates for a specified school board position or more than twice as many school board candidates as there are at-large school board positions available, the school district must hold a primary.

Subd. 2. Date. The school district primary must be held on the second Tuesday in August in the year when the school district general election is held. The clerk shall give notice of the primary in the manner provided in section 205A.07. The date of a school district primary held in an odd-numbered year may be postponed for inclement weather as provided in section 205A.055.

Subd. 3. Candidates, filing. The clerk shall place upon the primary ballot without partisan designation the names of individuals whose candidacies have been filed and for whom the proper filing fee has been paid.

When not more than twice as many school board candidates as there are at-large school board positions available file for nomination for the office or when not more than two candidates for a specified school board position file for nomination for that office, their names must not be placed upon the primary ballot and must be placed on the school district general election ballot as the nominees for that office. When more than one school board member is to be elected for full terms at the same election, the candidates’ name shall be placed under one office on the ballot with the number to be elected to the office specified directly underneath the title and identification of the office.

Subd. 4. Results. (a) The school district primary must be conducted and the returns made in the manner provided for the state primary as far as practicable. If the primary is conducted:

(1)          only within that school district, a canvass may be conducted on either the second or third day after the primary; or

(2)          in conjunction with the state primary, the canvass must be conducted on the third day after the primary, except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b).

The school board of the school district shall canvass the returns, and the two candidates for each specified school board position who receive the highest number of votes, or a number of candidates equal to twice the number of individuals to be elected to at-large school board positions who receive the highest number of votes, are the nominees for the office named. Their names must be certified to the school district clerk who shall place them on the school district general election ballot without partisan designation and without payment of an additional fee.

(b) following a school district primary as described in paragraph (a), clause (2), a canvass may be conducted on the second day after the primary if the county auditor of each county in which the school district is located agrees to administratively review the school district’s primary voting statistics for accuracy and completeness within a time that permits the canvass to be conducted on that day.

Subd. 5. Recount. A losing candidate at the school district primary may request a recount of the votes for that nomination subject to section 204C.36.

History: 1987 c 266 art 1 s 50; 1994 c 646 s 16,17; 1Sp2003 c 9 art 2 s 43-45; 2008 c 295 s 18; 2010 c 184 s 31,

32; 2010 c 194 s 23; 2010 c 201 s 67; 2011 c 65 s 7; 2011 c 65 s 9; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 15

205A.04 GENERAL ELECTION.

Subdivision 1. School district general election. The general election in each school district must be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of either the odd-numbered or the even-numbered year. A general election held in an odd-numbered year may be postponed for inclement weather as provided in section 205A.055.

Subd. 3. Change in year of general election. The school board may, by resolution, change the year in which the school district general election will be held. The resolution must be approved no later than four weeks before the first day to file affidavits of candidacy for the general election. A plan for the orderly transition to the new election year must be included in the resolution. The terms of school board members may be lengthened or shortened by one year as part of the transition process.

History: 1987 c 266 art 1 s 51; 1991 c 227 s 22; 1994 c 646 s 18; 2010 c 201 s 68; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 60

205A.046 SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER TERM EXPIRATION.

The terms of all school board members expire on the first Monday in January of the year in which they expire.

History: 2010 c 201 s 69

205A.05 SPECIAL ELECTIONS.

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 filed with the school board of 50 or more voters of the school district or five percent of the number of voters voting at the preceding school district general election, whichever is greater, 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.

Subd. 1a. Uniform election dates. (a) Except as allowed in paragraph (b), a special election held in a school district must be held on one of the following dates: the second Tuesday in February, the second Tuesday in April, the second Tuesday in May, the second Tuesday in August, or the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

(b) A special election may be held on a date other than those designated in paragraph (a) if the special election is held in response to an emergency or disaster. “Emergency” means an unforeseen combination of circumstances that calls for immediate action to prevent a disaster from developing or occurring. “Disaster” means a situation that creates an actual or imminent serious threat to the health and safety of persons or a situation that has resulted or is likely to result in catastrophic loss to property or the environment.

Subd. 2. Vacancies in school district offices. Special elections to fill vacancies in elective school district offices shall be held in school districts pursuant to section 123B.09, subdivision 5b. When more than one vacancy exists in an office elected at-large, voters must be instructed to vote for up to the number of vacancies to be filled.

Subd. 3. Cancellation. A special election ordered by the school board on its own motion under subdivision 1 may be canceled by motion of the school board, but not less than 74 days before an election held in conjunction with a regularly scheduled election for federal, state, county, city, or school board office or a special election for federal office, or 46 days before any other election.

History: 1987 c 266 art 1 s 52; 1990 c 453 s 12; 1993 c 375 art 7 s 8; 1997 c 147 s 45; 1999 c 132 s 35; 2007 c 146 art 1 s 19; 2008 c 244 art 1 s 17; 2010 c 184 s 33; 2010 c 201 s 70; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 61, 62; 2014 c 264 s 24; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 50; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 16; 2017 c 92 art 1 s 24; 2017 c 92 art 2 s 12 & 13

NOTES AND DECISIONS 205A.05

Petition rules promulgated by the Secretary of State in chapter 8205 of Minnesota Rules generally apply to special school district elections relating to referenda. School district clerk is the proper filing officer for a school district special election petition when the school district sits in more than one county. Op. Atty. Gen. 185-b, June 15, 2007.

Voters, by petition, may compel special election on bonds for school facilities construction. Op. Atty. Gen. 159-A-3, March 11, 1998.

205A.055 POSTPONEMENT OF ELECTION; INCLEMENT WEATHER.

Subdivision 1. Applicability. This section applies to a primary, special, or general election held in a school district that is not held in conjunction with a state or federal election.

Subd. 2. Postponement of election. (a) In the event of severe or inclement weather, the school district clerk may postpone an election when the National Weather Service or a law enforcement agency has issued storm warnings or travel advisories indicating that the weather conditions would make travel to a polling place difficult or hazardous for voters and election judges. When one or more jurisdictions are holding elections in conjunction with one another, the jurisdiction that covers the largest geographic area has the authority, after consulting with the other auditors and clerks, to make the decision to postpone all of the elections. A decision to postpone an election must apply to every precinct in the jurisdiction.

(b)          A decision to postpone an election must be made no later than 6:00 p.m. on the day before the election. The clerk must contact the election judges and notify local media outlets of the postponement. The clerk must also post a notice on the jurisdiction’s Web site, if practicable.

(c)           A postponed election must be rescheduled for the next following Tuesday after the election was originally scheduled. The date on which the postponed election will be held shall be considered the date of the election for purposes of absentee voting under chapter 203B. An election that is postponed due to weather may be postponed again if necessary under this section.

History: 2010 c 201 s 71

205A.06 CANDIDATES, FILING.

Subdivision 1. Affidavit of candidacy. An individual who is eligible and desires to become a candidate for an office to be voted on at the election must file an affidavit of candidacy with the school district clerk. The affidavit must be in the form prescribed by section 204B.06. The school district clerk shall also accept an application signed by at least five voters and filed on behalf of an eligible voter in the school district whom they desire to be a candidate, if service of a copy of the application has been made on the candidate and proof of service is endorsed on the application being filed. No individual shall be nominated by nominating petition for a school district elective office. Upon receipt of the proper filing fee, the clerk shall place the name of the candidate on the official ballot without partisan designation.

Subd. 1a. Filing period. In school districts that have adopted a resolution to choose nominees for school board by a primary election, affidavits of candidacy must be filed with the school district clerk no earlier than the 84th day and no later than the 70th day before the second Tuesday in August in the year when the school district general election is held. In all other school districts, affidavits of candidacy must be filed no earlier than the 98th day and no later than the 84th day before the school district general election.

Subd. 1b. School board member; sex offender; ineligible to file affidavit of candidacy. A sex offender who has been convicted of an offense for which registration is required under section 243.166 is ineligible to become a candidate for the office of school board member and may not file an affidavit of candidacy for that office.

Ineligibility is determined by the registration requirements in effect at the time the offender files for office, not by the registration requirements, if any, that were in effect at the time the offender was convicted.

Subd. 1c. Absent candidates. A candidate for the office of school board member who will be absent from the state during the filing period may submit a properly executed affidavit of candidacy, the appropriate filing fee, and any necessary petitions in person to the filing officer. The candidate shall state in writing the reason for being unable to submit the affidavit during the filing period. The affidavit, filing fee, and petitions must be submitted to the filing officer during the seven days immediately preceding the candidate's absence from the state.

Subd. 2. Notice of filing dates. At least two weeks before the first day to file affidavits of candidacy, the school district clerk shall publish a notice in the official newspaper stating the first and last dates on which affidavits of candidacy may be filed in the clerk's office and the closing time for filing on the last day for filing. The clerk shall post a similar notice in the administrative offices of the school district at least ten days before the first day to file affidavits of candidacy.

Subd. 3. Filing fees. The filing fee for a school district office is $2.

Subd. 4. Petition in place of fees. A candidate for school district office may file a petition in place of the filing fees in subdivision 3. The petition must meet the requirements of section 204B.11, subdivision 2.

Subd. 5. Withdrawal. A candidate for a school district elective office may withdraw from the election by filing an affidavit of withdrawal with the school district clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. two days after the last day for filing affidavits of candidacy.  After that date, no candidate may file an affidavit of withdrawal.

History: 1987 c 266 art 1 s 53; 1994 c 646 s 19,20; 1999 c 101 s 2; 2000 c 467 s 29,30; 1Sp2003 c 9 art 2 s 46; 2008 c 295 s 19; 2010 c 184, s 34; 2011 c 65 s 8; 2012 c 187 art 1 s 33; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 17

205A.07 NOTICE.

Subdivision 1. Publication and posting. The clerk of a school district shall give two weeks' published notice and give ten days' posted notice of a school district primary, general, or special election, stating the time of the election, the location of each polling place, the offices to be filled, and all propositions or questions to be voted upon at the primary, general, or special election. The notice shall be posted in the administrative offices of the school district for public inspection.

Subd. 2. Sample ballot, posting. For every school district primary, general, or special election, the school district clerk shall at least four days before the primary, general, or special election, post a sample ballot in the administrative offices of the school district for public inspection, and shall post a sample ballot in each polling place on election day.

Subd. 3. Notice to auditor. At least 74 days before every school district election, the school district clerk shall provide a written notice to the county auditor of each county in which the school district is located. The notice must include the date of the election, the offices to be voted on at the election, and the title and language for each ballot question to be voted on at the election. For the purposes of meeting the timelines of this section, in a bond election, a notice, including a proposed question, may be provided to the county auditor before receipt of a review and comment from the commissioner of education and before actual initiation of the election. At least 74 days before every school district election, the school district clerk must provide written notice to the county auditor of any special election canceled under section 205A.05, subdivision 3.

Subd. 3a. Notice to commissioner of education. At least 74 days before every school district election under section 123B.62, 123B.63, 126C.17, 126C.69, or 475.58, the school district clerk shall provide a written notice to the commissioner of education. The notice must include the date of the election and the title and language for each ballot question to be voted on at the election. At least 74 days before every school district election, the school district clerk must provide a written notice to the commissioner of education of any special election canceled under section 205A.05, subdivision 3. The certified vote totals for each ballot question shall be provided in a written notice to the commissioner in a timely manner.

Subd. 3b. Notice to secretary of state. At least 74 days before every school district election for which a notice is provided to the county auditor under subdivision 3, the county auditor shall provide a notice of the election to the secretary of state, in a manner and including information prescribed by the secretary of state.

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.

History: 1987 c 266 art 1 s 54; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 21; 1990 c 453 s 13; 1991 c 227 s 23; 1Sp1995 c 3 art 16 s 13; 1999 c 132 s 36; 2003 c 130 s 12; 1Sp2003 c 9 art 1 s 49; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 40,41; 2008 c 244 art 1 s 18, 19; 2010 c 184 s 35, 36, 37; 2010 c 201 s 72, 73, 74; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 63- 65

205A.08 BALLOTS.

Subdivision 1. General election ballot. The names of all candidates for offices and all ballot questions to be voted on at a school district general election must be placed on a single ballot.

Subd. 2. Primary ballots. The school district primary ballot must conform as far as practicable with the school district general election ballot except that no blank spaces may be provided for writing in the names of candidates.

Subd. 3. Vacancies. The names of candidates to fill vacancies at a school district special election held in conjunction with the primary or general election must be placed on the school district primary and general election ballots. The names of candidates to fill a vacancy in the office of school board member in a school district must be listed under the separate heading “Special election for school board member to fill vacancy in term expiring             ,” with the date of expiration of the term and any other information necessary to distinguish the office.

Subd. 5. Form of ballot. The ballots for school district elections must be prepared by the school district clerk in the manner provided in the rules of the secretary of state.

History: 1987 c 266 art 1 s 55; 1997 c 147 s 46; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 66, 85

205A.09 VOTING HOURS.

Subdivision 1. Metropolitan area school districts. At a school district election in a school district located in whole or in part within a metropolitan county included in the definition of metropolitan area in section 200.02, subdivision 24, the school board, by resolution adopted before giving notice of the election, may designate the time during which the polling places will remain open for voting at the next succeeding and all later school district elections. The polling places must open no later than 10:00 a.m. and close no earlier than 8:00 p.m. The resolution shall remain in force until it is revoked by the school board.

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 during which the polling places will remain open for voting at the next succeeding and all later school district elections. All polling places must be open between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. 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.

History: 1987 c 266 art 1 s 56; 1990 c 453 s 14; 1994 c 646 s 21;2005 c 156 art 6 s 55.

205A.10 PROCEDURE.

Subdivision 1. Materials, ballots. The school district clerk shall prepare and have printed the necessary election materials, including ballots, for a school district election. The names must be arranged on school district ballots in the manner provided in section 204D.08, subdivision 3, for state elections.

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 a board established pursuant to section 203B.121 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; 204B.21, subdivision 2; 204C.15 ; 204C.19; 206.83; and 206.86, subdivision 2, 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.

Subd. 3. Canvass of returns, certificate of election, ballots, disposition. Between the third and tenth days after a school district election other than a recount of a special election conducted under section 126C.17, subdivision 9, 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 126C.17, subdivision 9, or 475.59.

Subd. 4. Recount. A losing candidate at a school district election may request a recount of the votes for that office subject to the requirements of section 204C.36.

Subd. 5. School district canvassing board. For the purpose of a recount of a special election conducted under section 126C.17, subdivision 9, or 475.59, the school district canvassing board shall consist of one member of the school board other than the clerk, selected by the board, the clerk of the school board, the county auditor of the county in which the greatest number of school district residents reside, the court administrator of the district court of the judicial district in which the greatest number of school district residents reside, and the mayor or chair of the town board of the school district’s most populous municipality. Any member of the canvassing board may appoint a designee to appear at the meeting of the board, except that no designee may be a candidate for public office. If one of the individuals fails to appear at the meeting of the canvassing board, the county auditor shall appoint an eligible voter of the school district, who must not be a member of the school board, to fill the vacancy. Not more than two school board members shall serve on the canvassing board at one time. Four members constitute a quorum.

The school board shall serve as the school district canvassing board for the election of school board members.

History: 1987 c 266 art 1 s 57; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 22-24; 1990 c 453 s 15,16; 1992 c 499 art 12 s 23; 1998 c 254

art 1 s 63; 2008 c 244 art 2 s 18; 2008 c 295 s 20; 2010 c 194 s 24; 2011 c 76 art 1 s 29

205A.11 PRECINCTS; POLLING PLACES.

Subdivision 1. Established precincts. School district elections must be conducted in the precincts, or when the school district boundary divides a precinct, parts of precincts that have been established by the county or municipal governing bodies as provided in section 204B.14. If an election other than the school district election is being held in any part of a precinct, all the voters of the precinct must vote at the polling place designated for the precinct as provided in section 204B.14.

Subd. 2. Combined polling place. (a) When no other election is being held in a school district, the school board may designate combined polling places at which the voters in those precincts may vote in the school district election.

(b)          By December 31 of each year, the school board must designate, by resolution, combined polling places. The combined polling places designated in the resolution are the polling places for the following calendar year, unless a change is made:

(1)          pursuant to section 204B.175; or

(2)          because a polling place has become unavailable.

(c)           If the school board designates combined polling places pursuant to this subdivision, polling places must be designated throughout the district, taking into account both geographical distribution and population distribution. A combined polling place must be at a location designated for use as a polling place by a county or municipality.

(d)          In school districts that have organized into separate board member election districts under section 205A.12, a combined polling place for a school general election must be arranged so that it does not include more than one board member election district.

Subd. 2a. Notice of special elections. The school district clerk shall prepare a notice to the voters who will be voting in a combined polling place for a school district special election. The notice must include the following information: the date of the election, the hours of voting and the location of the voter’s polling place. The notice must be sent by nonforwardable mail to every affected household in the school district with at least one registered voter. The notice must be mailed no later than 14 days before the election. The mailed notice is not required for a school district special election that is held on the second Tuesday in August, the Tuesday following the first Monday in November, or for a special election conducted entirely by mail. A notice that is returned as undeliverable must be forwarded immediately to the county auditor.

Subd. 3. Procedure. The designation of a polling place pursuant to this section remains effective until a different polling place is designated. No designation of a new or different polling place becomes effective less than 90 days prior to an election, except that a new polling place may be designated to replace a polling place that has become unavailable for use. The school board must notify the county auditor within 30 days after the establishment of a polling place as provided in this section. The notice must include a list of the precincts that will be voting at each polling place. The school board must send the notice required by section 204B.16, subdivision 1a, after a polling place is established as provided in this section, but no additional notices of this kind are required for any subsequent similar elections until the location of the polling place or the combination of precincts voting at the polling place is changed. The secretary of state shall provide a single polling place roster for use in any polling place established as provided in this section. A single set of election judges must be appointed to serve in the polling place. The number of election judges required must be based on the total number of persons voting at the last similar election in all the precincts to be voting at the single polling place. A single ballot box may be provided for all the ballots.

History: 1987 c 266 art 1 s 58; 1990 c 453 s 17; 1994 c 607 s 6; 1995 c 8 s 7,8; 2008 c 244 art 2 s 19; 2010 c 184 s 38; 2010 c 201 s 75; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 18; 2017 c 92 art 2 s 14

205A.12 SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION DISTRICTS.

Subdivision 1. General provisions. Any independent school district may alter its organization into separate election districts for the purpose of election of board members by following the procedures in this section.

Subd. 2. Election. Except in a school district located wholly or partly within a city of the first class, upon resolution of the board, made on its own motion or on presentation of a petition substantially in the form required in section 205A.13, signed by at least 50 electors of the district or ten percent of the number of votes cast in the most recent regular school board election, whichever is larger, the board shall adopt a proposal to divide the district into separate election districts. The proposal must designate one of the following options for election of members: single-member districts, from which one board member each must be elected; multimember districts, from which two or three members each must be elected; a combination of single- member and multimember districts; or a combination of single-member or multimember districts, or both, and election of one or more members at large. The proposal must be submitted to an election under this chapter. If the election is initiated by petition, the resolution calling the election must be adopted within six months after the date of receipt of the petition. Only one election within any two-year period may be held under this section.

Subd. 3. Ballot question. The question presented at the special election shall be: “Shall the school district

be reorganized into election districts with boundaries as established in Resolution No      of the school board, dated ?

Yes .......

No          ”

Subd. 4. Election district boundaries. Each proposed election district must be as equal in population as practicable and must be composed of compact, contiguous territory. The district may utilize the most recent federal decennial census figures available or may conduct a special census for this purpose. The board shall designate each election district by number.

Subd. 5. Board elections. If the proposal for the establishment of election districts is approved by the voters, the board shall specify the election districts from which vacancies shall be filled as they occur until such time as each board member represents an election district. A candidate for school board in a subsequent election must file an affidavit of candidacy to be elected as a school board member for the election district in which the candidate resides. If there are as many election districts as there are members of the board, one and only one member of the board shall be elected from each election district. In school districts where one or more board members are elected by election districts, candidates must indicate on the affidavit of candidacy the number of the district from which they seek election or, if appropriate, that they seek election from one of the offices elected at large. If the election districts have two or three members each, the terms of the members must be staggered. Each board member must be a resident of the election district for which elected but the creation of an election district or a change in election district boundaries shall not disqualify a board member from serving for the remainder of a term.

Subd. 5a. School districts. The school board of a school district may provide for the use by the district of an electronic voting system in one or more polling places or combined polling places in the school district for an election not held in conjunction with a statewide election. No system may be adopted or used unless it has been approved by the secretary of state pursuant to section 206.57. The school district shall notify the secretary of state of its decision in compliance with section 206.58, subdivision 4.

Subd. 6. Redefining election district boundaries. The school board may by resolution redefine district boundaries after a school district general election. The board shall hold a public hearing on the proposed resolution before its adoption. One week’s published notice of the hearing must be given. After the official certification of the federal decennial or special census, the school board shall either confirm the existing election district boundaries as conforming to the standards of subdivision 4 or redefine election district boundaries to conform to those standards as provided in section 204B.135, subdivision 2. If the school board fails to take either action within the time required, no further compensation may be paid to the school board members until the districts are either reconfirmed or redefined as required by this section. A resolution establishing election district boundaries pursuant to section 204B.135, subdivision 2, becomes effective on the date of the state primary election in the year ending in two. Election district boundaries established at other times become effective 90 days after the adoption of the resolution.

Subd. 7. Dissolution of election districts. The governing body of a school district that enters into a consolidation or cooperation and combination agreement may, by resolution, dissolve election districts previously established as provided in this section as part of the consolidation or cooperation and combination plan. The resolution must include a plan for the orderly transition to at-large elections of school board members.

History: 1987 c 266 art 1 s 59; 1991 c 349 s 39; 1995 c 8 s 9; 1996 c 394 s 3,4; 2008 c 295 s 21

NOTES AND DECISIONS 205A.12

Statute does not authorize school district, having established election districts, to revert to at-large elections. Op. Atty. Gen. 161a-11, April 11, 1990.

205A.13 REQUIREMENTS FOR PETITIONS.

Any petition to a school board authorized in this chapter or sections 126C.17, 126C.40, 126C.41 to 126C.48, and 124D.22, or any other law which requires the board to submit an issue to referendum or election, shall meet the requirements provided in section 204B.071.

History: 1987 c 266 art 1 s 60; 1991 c 130 s 37; 1992 c 499 art 12 s 29; 1996 c 305 art 1 s 55; 1998 c 397 art 11 s 3; 1999 c 132 s 37

NOTES AND DECISIONS 205A.13

Petition rules promulgated by the Secretary of State in chapter 8205 of Minnesota Rules generally apply to special school district elections relating to referenda. School district clerk is the proper filing officer for a school district special election petition when the school district sits in more than one county. Op. Atty. Gen. 185-b, June 15, 2007.

CHAPTER 5 – SECRETARY OF STATE

5.31 STATEWIDE VOTER REGISTRATION SYSTEM

The secretary of state may sell intellectual property rights associated with the statewide voter registration system to other states or to units of local government in other states. Receipts from the sale must be deposited in the state treasury and credited to the Help America Vote Act account.

History: 2005 c 156 art 2 s 1

204B.14 ELECTION PRECINCTS.

Subdivision 1. Boundaries. The governing body of each municipality shall establish the boundaries of the election precincts in the municipality. The governing body of a county shall establish the boundaries of precincts in unorganized territory in the county. Except as provided in subdivision 3, a governing body may change the boundaries of any election precinct which it has established.

Subd. 1a. Legislative policy. It is the intention of the legislature to complete congressional and legislative redistricting activities in time to permit counties and municipalities to begin the process of reestablishing precinct boundaries as soon as possible after the adoption of the congressional and legislative redistricting plans but in no case later than 25 weeks before the state primary election in the year ending in two.

Subd. 2. Separate precincts; combined polling place. (a) The following shall constitute at least one election precinct:

(1)          each city ward; and

(2)          each town and each statutory city.

(b)          A single, accessible, combined polling place may be established no later than November 1 if a presidential nomination primary is scheduled to occur in the following year or May 1 of any other year:

(1)          for any city of the third or fourth class, any town, or any city having territory in more than one county, in which all the voters of the city or town shall cast their ballots;

(2)          for contiguous precincts in the same municipality;

(3)          for up to four contiguous municipalities located entirely outside the metropolitan area, as defined by section 200.02, subdivision 24, that are contained in the same county; or

(4)          for noncontiguous precincts located in one or more counties.

Subject to the requirements of paragraph (c), a single, accessible, combined polling place may be established after May 1 of any year in the event of an emergency.

A copy of the ordinance or resolution establishing a combined polling place must be filed with the county auditor within 30 days after approval by the governing body. A polling place combined under clause (3) must be approved by the governing body of each participating municipality. A polling place combined under clause (4) must be approved by the governing body of each participating municipality and the secretary of state and may be located outside any of the noncontiguous precincts. A municipality withdrawing from participation in a combined polling place must do so by filing a resolution of withdrawal with the county auditor no later than

October 1 if a presidential nomination primary is scheduled to occur in the following year or April 1 of any other year.

The secretary of state shall provide a separate polling place roster for each precinct served by the combined polling place, except that in a precinct that uses electronic rosters the secretary of state shall provide separate data files for each precinct. A single set of election judges may be appointed to serve at a combined polling place. The number of election judges required must be based on the total number of persons voting at the last similar election in all precincts to be voting at the combined polling place. Separate ballot boxes must be provided for the ballots from each precinct. The results of the election must be reported separately for each precinct served by the combined polling place, except in a polling place established under clause (2) where one of the precincts has fewer than ten registered voters, in which case the results of that precinct must be reported in the manner specified by the secretary of state.

(c)           If a local elections official determines that an emergency situation preventing the safe, secure, and full operation of a polling place on election day has occurred or is imminent, the local elections official may combine two or more polling places for that election pursuant to this subdivision. To the extent possible, the polling places must be combined and the election conducted according to the requirements of paragraph (b), except that:

(1)          polling places may be combined after May 1 and until the polls close on election day;

(2)          any city or town, regardless of size or location, may establish a combined polling place under this paragraph;

(3)          the governing body is not required to adopt an ordinance or resolution to establish the combined polling place;

(4)          a polling place combined under paragraph (b), clause (3) or (4), must be approved by the local election official of each participating municipality;

(5)          the local elections official must immediately notify the county auditor and the secretary of state of the combination, including the reason for the emergency combination and the location of the combined polling place. As soon as possible, the local elections official must also post a notice stating the reason for the combination and the location of the combined polling place. The notice must also be posted on the governing board’s Web site, if one exists. The local elections official must also notify the election judges and request that local media outlets publicly announce the reason for the combination and the location of the combined polling place; and

(6)          on election day, the local elections official must post a notice in large print in a conspicuous place at the polling place where the emergency occurred, if practical, stating the location of the combined polling place. The local election official must also post the notice, if practical, in a location visible by voters who vote from their motor vehicles as provided in section 204C.15, subdivision 2. If polling place hours are extended pursuant to section 204C.05, subdivision 2, paragraph (b), the posted notices required by this paragraph must include a statement that the polling place hours at the combined polling place will be extended until the specified time.

Subd. 3. Boundary changes; prohibitions; exception. Notwithstanding other law or charter provisions to the contrary, during the period from January 1 in any year ending in zero to the time when the legislature has been redistricted in a year ending in one or two, no changes may be made in the boundaries of any election precinct except as provided in this subdivision.

(a)          If a city annexes an unincorporated area located in the same county as the city and adjacent to the corporate boundary, the annexed area may be included in an election precinct immediately adjacent to it.

(b)          A municipality or county may establish new election precincts lying entirely within the boundaries of any existing precinct and shall assign names to the new precincts which include the name of the former precinct.

(c)           Precinct boundaries in a city [of the first class] electing council members by wards may be reestablished within four weeks of the adoption of ward boundaries in a year ending in one, as provided in section 204B.135, subdivision 1.

(d)          Precinct boundaries must be reestablished within 60 days of the time when the legislature has been redistricted, or at least 19 weeks before the state primary election in a year ending in two, whichever comes first. The adoption of reestablished precinct boundaries becomes effective on the date of the state primary election in the year ending in two.

Precincts must be arranged so that no precinct lies in more than one legislative or congressional district Subd. 4.  Boundary change procedure. Any change in the boundary of an election precinct must be

adopted at least ten weeks before the date of the next election and, for the state primary and general election

or presidential nomination primary, no later than December 1 in the year prior to the year of the state general election. The precinct boundary change shall not take effect until notice of the change has been posted in the office of the municipal clerk or county auditor for at least 56 days.

The county auditor must publish a notice illustrating or describing the congressional, legislative, and county commissioner district boundaries in the county in one or more qualified newspapers in the county at least 14 day before the first day to file affidavits of candidacy for the state general election in the year ending in two.

Alternate dates for adopting changes in precinct boundaries, posting notices of boundary changes, and notifying voters affected by boundary changes pursuant to this subdivision, and procedures for coordinating precinct boundary changes with reestablishing local government election district boundaries may be established in the manner provided in the rules of the secretary of state.

Subd. 4a. Municipal boundary adjustment procedure. A change in the boundary of an election precinct that has occurred as a result of a municipal boundary adjustment made under chapter 414 that is effective more than 21 days before a regularly scheduled election takes effect at the scheduled election.

A change in the boundary of an election precinct that has occurred as a result of a municipal boundary adjustment made under chapter 414 that is effective less than 21 days before a regularly scheduled election takes effect the day after the scheduled election.

Subd. 5. Precinct boundaries; description; maps. If a precinct boundary has been changed or an annexation has occurred affecting a precinct boundary, the municipal clerk shall immediately notify the county auditor and the secretary of state. The municipal clerk shall file a corrected base map with the secretary of state and county auditor within 30 days after the boundary change was made or in the case of an annexation, the later of (1) 30 days after the approval of the annexation order; or (2) the effective date of the annexation order. Upon request, the county auditor shall provide a base map and precinct finder to the municipal clerk. The municipal clerk shall prepare a corrected precinct map and provide the corrected map to the county auditor, who shall correct the precinct finder in the statewide voter registration system and make the corrected map and precinct finder available for public inspection, and to the secretary of state, who shall update the precinct boundary database. The county auditor shall prepare and file precinct boundary maps for precincts in unorganized territories 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, or if an annexation affecting a precinct boundary occurs, 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.

Subd. 7. Application to municipalities. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 410.21, or any other law, ordinance or charter to the contrary, the provisions of subdivisions 1 and 3 apply to all municipalities.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 14; 1Sp1981 c 4 art 4 s 43; 2Sp1981 c 2 s 2; 1983 c 289 s 115 subd 1; 1985 c 248 s 36;

1986 c 444; 1987 c 186 s 15; 1987 c 212 s 1-4; 1987 c 297 s 2; 1990 c 453 s 4; 1991 c 349 s 31-34; 1993 c 208 s

1,2; 1993 c 223 s 9; 1994 c 607 s 1-4; 1999 c 237 s 1; 2000 c 467 s 13-15; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 34; 2005 c 162 s 2;

2006; 2010 c 184 s 13, 14; 2010 c 201 s 24; 2011 c 18 s 2, 3; 2014 c 288 art 2 s 4; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 5; 2016 c 161

art 3 s 1; 2016 c 162 s 4, 5

NOTES AND DECISIONS

204B.14

Upon failure of state legislature and Governor to enact by the statutory deadline a legislative redistricting plan for state legislative districts, it was the role of state judicial branch to prepare a valid redistricting plan and order its adoption. Hippert v. Ritchie, 813 N.W.2d 374 (Minn. 2012).

City was not required to hold special elections immediately after decennial redistricting; instead, next regularly scheduled election following redistricting was required to use the new district scheme for city council. Kahn v. Griffin, 701 N.W.2d 815 (Minn. 2005).

Under former section 204A.06, if two precincts have been established in a town containing a village not separated from town for election, any modification must follow procedure in that section. The election laws do not contemplate separate precincts for general elections as distinct from municipal elections. Op. Atty. Gen. 183E, October 15, 1962.

Former section 204A.06 ruled to authorize changes of precinct boundaries, but not change of ward boundaries designated in city charter. Op. Atty. Gen., June 3, 1960.

5B.06 VOTING BY PROGRAM PARTICIPANT; ABSENTEE BALLOT.

A program participant who is otherwise eligible to vote may register with the secretary of state as a permanent absentee voter. Notwithstanding section 203B.04, subdivision 5, the secretary of state is not required to send an absentee ballot application prior to each election to a program participant registered as a permanent absentee voter under this section. As soon as practicable before each election, the secretary of state shall determine the precinct in which the residential address of the program participant is located and shall request from and receive from the county auditor or other election official the ballot for that precinct and shall forward the absentee ballot to the program participant with the other materials for absentee balloting as required by Minnesota law. The program participant shall complete the ballot and return it to the secretary of state, who shall review the ballot in the manner provided by section 203B.121, subdivision 2. If the ballot and ballot materials comply with the requirements of that section, the ballot must be certified by the secretary of state as the ballot of a program participant, and must be forwarded to the appropriate electoral jurisdiction for tabulation along with all other ballots. The name and address of a program participant must not be listed in the statewide voter registration system.

History: 2006 c 242 s 6; 2013 c 131 art 1 s 1

2.91 REDISTRICTING PLANS.

Subdivision 1. Distribution. Upon enactment of a redistricting plan for the legislature or for Congress, the Legislative Coordinating Commission shall deposit the plan with the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall provide copies of the relevant portions of the redistricting plan to each county auditor, who shall provide a copy of the relevant portions of the plan to each municipal clerk within the county. The secretary of state, with the cooperation of the commissioner of administration, shall make copies of the plan file, maps, and tables available to the public for the cost of publication. The revisor of statutes shall code a metes and bounds description of the districts in Minnesota Statutes.

Subd. 2. Corrections. The legislature intends that a redistricting plan encompass all the territory of this state, that no territory be omitted or duplicated, that all districts consist of convenient contiguous territory substantially equal in population, and that political subdivisions not be divided more than necessary to meet constitutional requirements.

Therefore, in implementing a redistricting plan for the legislature or for Congress, the secretary of state, after notifying the Legislative Coordinating Commission and the revisor of statutes, shall order the following corrections:

(a)          If a territory in this state is not named in the redistricting plan but lies within the boundaries of a district, it is a part of the district within which it lies.

(b)          If a territory in this state is not named in the redistricting plan but lies between the boundaries of two or more districts, it is a part of the contiguous district having the smallest population.

(c)           If a territory in this state is assigned in the redistricting plan to two or more districts, it is part of the district having the smallest population.

(d)          If a territory in this state is assigned to a district that consists of other territory containing a majority of the population of the district but with which it is not contiguous, the territory is a part of the contiguous district having the smallest population.

(e)          If the description of a district boundary line that divides a political subdivision is ambiguous because a highway, street, railroad track, power transmission line, river, creek, or other physical feature or census block boundary that forms part of the district boundary is omitted or is not properly named or has been changed, or because a compass direction for the boundary line is wrong, the secretary of state shall add or correct the name or compass direction and resolve the ambiguity in favor of creating districts of convenient, contiguous territory of substantially equal population that do not divide political subdivisions more than is necessary to meet constitutional requirements.

Subd. 3. Notice of corrections. The secretary of state shall provide a copy of each correction order to each affected county auditor, municipal clerk, and candidate.

Subd. 4. Recommendations to legislature. The secretary of state and the revisor of statutes shall recommend to the legislature any additional technical corrections to the redistricting plan they deem necessary or desirable.

History: 1994 c 406 s 9; 1994 c 612 s 67

NOTES AND DECISIONS 2.91

To utilize politically neutral redistricting principles that advanced the interests of collective public good and preserved public’s confidence and perception of fairness in congressional redistricting process, judicially-appointed special redistricting panel would: (1) adhere to the United States Constitution; (2) adhere to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended; (3) adhere to state’s statutory requirements for congressional redistricting, such as drawing districts that comprised convenient, contiguous territory; (4) adhere to well-established redistricting principles, such as creating compact districts and preserving communities of interest; and (5) draw districts without the purpose of either protecting or defeating incumbents. Hippert v. Ritchie, 813 N.W.2d 374 (Minn. 2012).

Voter who argued that county redistricting, which gave the city majorities of voters in three of five commissioner districts despite the fact that city residents were not a majority in the county, impaired his fundamental right to vote by diluting the power of the rural voter, did not establish that the redistricting impacted a suspect class or a fundamental right, as required to raise a justiciable constitutional claim. Krueger v. McLeod County, 2006 WL 1390417(Minn. App. May 23, 2006) (unpublished op.).

"VOTER'S BILL OF RIGHTS”

For all persons residing in this state who meet federal voting eligibility requirements:

(1)          You have the right to be absent from work for the purpose of voting in a state, federal, or regularly scheduled election without reduction to your pay, personal leave, or vacation time on election day for the time necessary to appear at your polling place, cast a ballot, and return to work.

(2)          If you are in line at your polling place any time before 8:00 p.m., you have the right to vote.

(3)          If you can provide the required proof of residence, you have the right to register to vote and to vote on election day.

(4)          If you are unable to sign your name, you have the right to orally confirm your identity with an election judge and to direct another person to sign your name for you.

(5)          You have the right to request special assistance when voting.

(6)          If you need assistance, you may be accompanied into the voting booth by a person of your choice, except by an agent of your employer or union or a candidate.

(7)          You have the right to bring your minor children into the polling place and into the voting booth with you.

(8)          If you have been convicted of a felony but your felony sentence has expired (been completed) or you have been discharged from your sentence, you have the right to vote.

(9)          If you are under a guardianship, you have the right to vote, unless the court order revokes your right to vote.

(10)        You have the right to vote without anyone in the polling place trying to influence your vote.

(11)        If you make a mistake or spoil your ballot before it is submitted, you have the right to receive areplacement ballot and vote.

(12)        You have the right to file a written complaint at your polling place if you are dissatisfied with the way an election is being run.

(13)        You have the right to take a sample ballot into the voting booth with you.

(14)        You have the right to take a copy of this Voter's Bill of Rights into the voting booth with you."

Subd. 2. Posting of voting instructions. Before the hours for voting are scheduled to begin, the election judges shall post any official voter instruction posters furnished to them in a conspicuous location or locations in the polling place.

Subd. 2a. Sample ballots. At least two sample ballots must be posted in a conspicuous location in the polling place and must remain open to inspection by the voters throughout election day. The sample ballots must accurately reflect the offices, candidates, and rotation sequence on the ballots used in that polling place. The sample ballots may be either in full or reduced size.

Subd. 3. Locking of ballot box. Immediately before the time when voting is scheduled to begin, one of the election judges shall open the ballot box in the presence of the individuals assembled at the polling place, demonstrate that it is empty, lock it, and deliver the key to another election judge. Except as provided by law or rule, the box shall not be reopened until after the hours for voting have ended and all voting has been concluded. The box shall be kept in public view at all times during voting hours. After locking the ballot box, the election judges shall proclaim that voting may begin, and shall post outside the polling place conspicuous written or printed notices of the time when voting is scheduled to end.

Subd. 4. Ballot box boxcar seals. The governing body of a municipality or school district by resolution may direct the municipal or school district clerk to furnish a boxcar seal for each ballot box in place of a lock and key. Each seal shall consist of a numbered strap with a self-locking device securely attached to one end of the strap so that the other end may be inserted and securely locked in the seal. No two straps shall bear the same number.

History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 8; 1983 c 253 s 11; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 37; 1997 c 147 s 37; 2004 c 293 art 1 s 30; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 44; 2010 c 201 s 36; 2014 c 264 s 17; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 34

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204C.08

Village and town may use a retractable partition in order to maintain separate voting facilities for each precinct. Op. Atty. Gen. 185A-5, February 8, 1966.

201.016 RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS FOR VOTING; VIOLATIONS; PENALTY.

Subdivision 1. Determination of residence. An eligible voter may vote only in the precinct in which the voter maintains residence. The residence of a voter shall be determined in accordance with section 200.031.

Subd. 1a. Violations; penalty. (a) The county auditor shall mail a notice to any voter who the county auditor can determine has (1) provided the address at which the voter maintains residence, but was allowed to vote in a precinct other than the precinct in which the voter maintains residence; and (2) not voted in the wrong precinct previously. The notice must be in the form provided by the secretary of state.

(b)          The county auditor shall mail a violation notice to any voter who otherwise voted in a precinct in which the voter did not maintain residence on election day. The county auditor shall also change the status of the voter in the statewide registration system to “challenged” and the voter shall be required to provide proof of residence to either the county auditor or to the election judges in the voter’s precinct before voting in the next election. Any of the forms authorized by section 201.061 for registration at the polling place may be used for this purpose.

(c)           A voter who votes in a precinct other than the precinct in which the voter maintains residence after receiving an initial violation notice as provided in this subdivision is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

(d)          A voter who votes in a precinct other than the precinct in which the voter maintains residence after having been found to have committed a petty misdemeanor under paragraph (b) is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(e)          Reliance by the voter on inaccurate information regarding the location of the voter’s polling place

provided by the state, county, or municipality is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this subdivision.

History: 1981 c 29 art 2 s 3; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 4; 1999 c 132 s 3,4; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 7; 2010 c

201 s 1; 2014 c 264 s 31

SPECIAL ELECTIONS; STATE LEGISLATIVE VACANCY

204D.17 STATE SENATOR; STATE REPRESENTATIVE; VACANCY IN OFFICE; SPECIAL ELECTION.

Subdivision 1. Special elections; exceptions. A vacancy in the office of state senator or state representative shall be filled for the unexpired term by special election upon the writ of the governor as provided in sections 204D.17 to 204D.27; except that if the legislature will not be in session before the expiration of the vacant term no special election is required.

Subd. 2. Two or more vacancies. Two or more vacancies may be filled at the same special election and the candidates may be nominated at the same special primary. Any special primary or special election held pursuant to sections 204D.17 to 204D.27, may be held on the same day as any other election.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 17; 2010 c 201 s 52

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204D.17

Use of regular ballot when special primary coincided with regular primary permitted. Johnson v. Growe, 289 N.W. 2d 490 (Minn. 1980).

Court had no authority to enjoin election to fill vacancy in U.S. Senate seat. State ex rel. Holm v. District Court, 156 Minn. 270, 194 N.W. 630 (1923).

204D.18 GENERAL ELECTION LAWS; APPLICATION.

Except as provided in sections 204D.17 to 204D.27, all of the provisions of the Minnesota election law are applicable to special elections as far as practicable.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 18

204D.19 SPECIAL ELECTIONS; WHEN HELD.

Subdivision 1. Vacancy filled at general election. When a vacancy occurs more than 150 days before the next state general election, and the legislature will not be in session before the final canvass of the state general election returns, the vacancy shall be filled at the next state general election.

Subd. 2. Special election when the legislature will be in session. Except for vacancies in the legislature which occur at any time between the last day of session in an odd-numbered year and the 40th day prior to the opening day of session in the succeeding even-numbered year, when a vacancy occurs and the legislature will be in session so that the individual elected as provided by this section could take office and exercise the duties of the office immediately upon election, the governor shall issue within five days after the vacancy occurs a writ calling for a special election. The special election shall be held as soon as possible, consistent with the notice requirements of section 204D.22, subdivision 3, but in no event more than 35 days after the issuance of the writ. A special election must not be held during the four days before or the four days after a holiday as defined in section 645.44, subdivision 5.

Subd. 3. Special election at other times. When a vacancy occurs at a time other than those described in subdivisions 1 and 2 the governor shall issue a writ, calling for a special election to be held so that the individual elected may take office at the opening of the next session of the legislature, or at the reconvening of a session of the legislature.

Subd. 4. Writ when vacancy results from election contest. If a vacancy results from a successful election contest, the governor shall issue 22 days after the first day of the legislative session a writ calling for a special election unless the house in which the contest may be tried has passed a resolution which states that it will or will not review the court’s determination of the contest. If the resolution states that the house will not review the court’s determination, the writ shall be issued within five days of the passage of the resolution.

Subd. 6. Writ when vacancy results from vacancy in nomination. If a vacancy in office is due to a vacancy in nomination under section 204B.13, the governor shall issue a writ in the manner provided in this section.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 19; 1993 c 375 art 7 s 6; 2008 c 295 s 14; 2010 c 201 s 53; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 52; 2013 c 131 art 5 s 9

204D.195 DATE OF SPECIAL ELECTION; CERTAIN TIMES PROHIBITED.

Amendment is effective May 26, 2021 and applies to special elections occurring on or after that date             Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a special primary and special general election may not be held: (1) for a period beginning the day following the date of the state primary election, and ending the day prior to the date of the state general election; or

(2)          on a holiday, or during the four days before or after a holiday, as defined in section 645.44, subdivision

5.

History: 2010 c 201 s 54; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 16

204D.20 NOMINATIONS; VACANCY.

Subdivision 1. Special primary. Except as provided in subdivision 2, the candidates of the major political parties to fill a vacancy shall be nominated at a special primary. The candidate of each party who receives the highest number of votes at the special primary shall be nominated

Subd. 2. No special primary; when. No special primary shall be held to nominate candidates to fill a vacancy if only one individual from each major political party files as a candidate for that party’s nomination. In that case, the individuals who have filed are nominated.

Subd. 3. Nominations by petition. Candidates to fill a vacancy may also be nominated by petition under the conditions and in the manner provided by law for candidates filing by petition for like office at the state general election as far as practicable.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 20; 2010 c 201 s 55

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204D.20

Secretary of State properly directed consolidated ballot for special primary held at same time as regular primary. Johnson v. Growe, 289 N.W.2d 490 (Minn. 1980).

204D.21 TIME OF SPECIAL PRIMARY.

Subdivision 1. Nomination at state primary. When a special election is to be held on the same day as the state general election, as provided in section 204D.19, subdivision 1, candidates for nomination to fill the vacancy shall be nominated at the state primary.

Subd. 2. Nomination at special primary on day of regular primary. Candidates for nomination to fill a vacancy shall be nominated at a special primary on the day of the regular state primary when the vacancy is to be filled at a special election to be held more than 14 days after the regular state primary.

Subd. 3. Nomination at special primary on other day. In all cases other than those provided in subdivisions 1 and 2, a special primary for the nomination of candidates shall be held not later than the 14th day before the special election.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 21

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204D.21

Use of regular ballot when special primary coincided with regular primary permitted. Johnson v. Growe, 289 N.W. 2d 490 (Minn. 1980).

204D.22 WRIT OF ELECTION.

Subdivision 1. Filing with secretary of state. A writ calling for a special election shall state the office to be filled, the opening and closing dates of filing for candidacy, and the dates of the special primary and special election. The writ shall be filed with the secretary of state immediately upon issuance.

Subd. 2. Posting of writ. Immediately upon receipt of the writ, the secretary of state shall send a certified copy of the writ by United States mail and electronic mail to the county auditor of each county in which candidates to fill the vacancy are to be voted upon. The county auditor shall post a copy of the writ in the auditor’s office at least five days before the close of the time for filing affidavits of candidacy for the special election.

Subd. 3. Notice of special election. The county auditor of a county in which a special election is to be held shall direct the clerk of each municipality in which the election is to be held to post a notice of the special primary and special election at least seven days before the special primary and at least 14 days before the special election in the manner provided in sections 204B.33 and 204B.34. If the special primary is to be held 14 days before the special election, a single notice of both elections may be posted seven days before the primary.

When the special primary or special election is to be held on the same day as any other election, notice of the special primary or special election may be included in the notice of the other election, if practicable.

Subd. 4. Failure of notice. No omission or defect in any notice required to be given by this section shall invalidate a special primary or special election.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 22; 1986 c 444; 2016 c 161 art 1 s 12

204D.23 AFFIDAVITS OF CANDIDACY; NOMINATING PETITIONS.

Subdivision 1. Place and manner of filing. Candidates for nomination to fill a vacancy at a special primary shall file their affidavits of candidacy and nominating petitions with the same officers and in the same manner and shall pay the same fees as provided by law for candidates for like offices at the state primary.

Subd. 2. Time of filing. Except as provided in subdivision 3, the affidavits and petitions shall be filed no later than 14 days before the special primary.

Subd. 3. Filing at regular time. If a vacancy occurs before the opening of the time for filing affidavits of candidacy for the state primary and the special primary is held on the same day as the state primary, the affidavits and petitions shall be filed during the time for filing affidavits for the state primary.

Subd. 4. Filing with the secretary of state; certification. Within 24 hours after the filings have closed, the secretary of state shall certify to the county auditors the names of the candidates who have filed with the secretary of state and who will be voted for in those counties at the special primary.

Subd. 5. Withdrawal of candidates. A candidate may withdraw from the special primary ballot by filing an affidavit of withdrawal with the same official who received the affidavit of candidacy. The affidavit of withdrawal must be filed no later than 5:00 p.m. of the day after the last day for filing affidavits of candidacy.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 23; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 18; 2008 c 295 s 15

204D.24 SPECIAL ELECTIONS; PRECINCTS; ELECTION JUDGES; VOTERS.

Subdivision 1. Precincts; polling places; officials. The election precincts, polling places and officials for any special primary or special election shall be the same as at the last preceding general election in that municipality unless changed according to law. When a special primary or special election is held on the same day as another primary or election, the same precincts, polling places and officials shall be used for both. If separate special election ballots are required pursuant to section 204D.25, separate ballot boxes shall be used.

Subd. 2. Voter registration. An individual may register to vote at a special primary or special election at any time before the day that the polling place rosters for the special primary or special election are prepared by the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall provide the county auditors with notice of this date at least seven days before the printing of the rosters. This subdivision does not apply to a special election held on the same day as the state primary, state general election, or the regularly scheduled primary or general election of a municipality, school district, or special district.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 24; 1993 c 223 s 19; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 34

204D.25 SPECIAL ELECTION BALLOTS.

Subdivision 1. Form. Except as provided in subdivision 2, the county auditor shall prepare separate ballots for a special primary and special election as required by sections 204D.17 to 204D.27. The ballots shall be headed “Special Primary Ballot” or “Special Election Ballot” as the case may be, followed by the date of the special primary or special election. Immediately below the title of each office to be filled shall be printed the words “To fill vacancy in term expiring                ,” with the date of expiration of the term and any other information that is necessary to distinguish the office from any other office to be voted upon at the same election. For a special primary or special election, the instructions to voters may use the singular tense when referring to candidates and offices when only one office is to be filled at the special election. Otherwise the form of the ballots shall comply as far as practicable with the laws relating to ballots for state primaries and state general elections. The county auditor shall post a sample of each ballot in the auditor’s office as soon as prepared and not later than four days before the special primary or special election. Publication of the sample ballot for a special primary or special election is not required.

Subd. 2. Use of regular ballots. The county auditor shall place the names of the candidates to fill the vacancy upon the regular ballots used for like offices at the state primary or state general election, designating the office to be filled in the same manner as provided in subdivision 1 for separate special primary or special election ballots if:

(a)          The candidates at the special election are to be voted for on the day of the state general election or are to be nominated on the day of the state primary; and

(b)          The ballots for the state general election or state primary have not been printed when the names of the candidates to be elected or nominated to fill a vacancy have been finally determined.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 25; 1986 c 444; 2000 c 467 s 24

204D.26 CONGRESSIONAL OR LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS; CHANGE IN BOUNDARIES.

No change in the boundaries of any congressional or legislative district is effective with respect to any election to fill a vacancy in the representation of that district if the term of the office which is vacant commenced before the change was made.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 26

204D.27 SPECIAL ELECTION RETURNS

 Amendment to subd. 5 is effective August 1, 2021            Subdivision 1. County canvass. The returns of a special primary or special election held pursuant to sections 204D.17 to 204D.27 shall be delivered promptly upon completion to the county auditor of the county in which the special primary or special election is held. Except as provided in subdivisions 2 to 4, the county canvassing board shall canvass and certify the returns to the secretary of state on the next day, excluding Sundays and legal holidays, following the special primary or special election.

Subd. 2. County canvass; special primary on day of regular state primary. When a special primary is held on the day of the state primary and the special election will be held on the day of the next state general election, the returns of the special primary shall be canvassed and certified by the county canvassing board at their regular meeting.

Subd. 3. State canvass; special primary. When the special primary is held on the day of the state primary and the special election will be held more than 20 days after that day, the returns of the special primary shall be canvassed by the county canvassing board at its regular meeting.

Subd. 4. County and state canvass; vacancy filled at state general election. When the special election is held on the day of the state general election and separate special election ballots were not required, the returns of the special election shall be canvassed and certified by the county and state canvassing boards at their regular meetings.

Subd. 5. Canvass; special primary; state canvassing board; contest. Not later than four days after the returns of the county canvassing boards are certified to the secretary of state, the state canvassing board shall complete its canvass of the special primary. The secretary of state shall then promptly certify to the county auditors the names of the nominated individuals, prepare notices of nomination, and notify each nominee of the nomination. In case of a contest of a special primary for state senator or state representative, the notice of contest must be filed within two days, excluding Sundays and legal holidays, after the canvass is completed, and the contest shall otherwise proceed in the manner provided by law for contesting elections.

Subd. 6. Canvass; special election; senator or representative in Congress; State Canvassing Board. Except as provided in subdivision 4, the state canvassing board shall complete its canvass of a special election for senator or representative in Congress and declare the results within seven days after the returns of the county canvassing boards are certified to the secretary of state.

Subd. 7. Special congressional election contest; conduct. In case of a contest of a special election for senator or representative in Congress the notice of contest shall be filed within five days after the canvass is completed, and the contest otherwise shall proceed in the manner provided by law for contesting elections.

Subd. 8. Certificate of congressional election. No certificate of election in a special election for senator or representative in Congress may be issued by the secretary of state to any individual declared elected by the county or state canvassing board until seven days after the canvassing board has canvassed the returns and declared the results of the election. In case of a contest the certificate may not be issued until the district court determines the contest.

Subd. 9. Canvass; special legislative election; State Canvassing Board. Except as provided in subdivision 4, the state canvassing board shall complete its canvass of a special election for state senator or state representative and declare the results within four days, excluding Sundays and legal holidays, after the returns of the county canvassing boards are certified to the secretary of state.

Subd. 10. Special legislative election contest; conduct. In case of a contest of a special election for state senator or state representative, the notice of contest shall be filed within two days, excluding Sundays and legal holidays, after the canvass is completed, and the contest otherwise shall proceed in the manner provided by law for contesting elections.

Subd. 11. Certificate of legislative election. A certificate of election in a special election for state senator or state representative shall be issued by the secretary of state to the chief clerk of the house or the secretary of the senate two days, excluding Sundays and legal holidays, after the appropriate canvassing board finishes canvassing the returns for the election. In case of a contest the certificate shall not be issued until the district court determines the contest.

Subd. 12. Recounts. In a special primary or special election, the provisions of section 204C.35 apply, except that the secretary of state may immediately proceed to recount the votes upon review of the certified reports of the county canvassing boards if it is apparent from the review that a recount is required.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 27; 1986 c 444; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 19; 1993 c 223 s 20; 2000 c 467 s 25; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 33; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 53; 2008 c 295 s 16; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 48; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 17

CONGRESSIONAL VACANCY

204D.28 UNITED STATES SENATE VACANCY; MANNER OF FILLING

Amendments to subds. 9 & 10 are effective August 1, 2021           Subdivision 1. Scope of section. Every vacancy in the office of United States senator shall be filled in the manner provided in this section.

Subd. 2. Definitions. The definitions in subdivisions 3 to 5 apply to this section. Subd. 3. Vacancy. “Vacancy” means a vacancy in the office of United States senator. Subd. 4. November election. “November election” means:

(a)          The state general election in even-numbered years; or

(b)          The first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of odd-numbered years. Subd. 5. Regular state primary. “Regular state primary” means:

(a)          The state primary at which candidates are nominated for offices elected at the state general election; or

(b)          A primary held on the second Tuesday in August of odd-numbered years.

Subd. 6.  Special election required; exception; when held. Every vacancy shall be filled for the remainder of the term by a special election held pursuant to this subdivision; except that no special election shall be held in the year before the term expires.

The special election shall be held at the next November election if the vacancy occurs at least 11 weeks before the regular state primary preceding that election. If the vacancy occurs less than 11 weeks before the regular state primary preceding the next November election, the special election shall be held at the second November election after the vacancy occurs.

Subd. 7. Special primary; when held. A special primary shall be held at the regular state primary preceding the November election at which the special election is held.

Subd. 8. Notice of special election. The secretary of state shall issue an official notice of any special election required to be held pursuant to this section not later than 16 weeks before the special primary, except that if the vacancy occurs 16 weeks or less before the special primary, the secretary of state shall issue the notice no later than two days after the vacancy occurs. The notice shall state the office to be filled, the opening and closing dates for filing of candidacy and the dates of the special primary and special election. For the purposes of those provisions of sections 204D.17 to 204D.27 that apply generally to special elections, this notice shall be used in place of the writ of the governor.

Subd. 9. Filing by candidates. The time for filing of affidavits and nominating petitions for candidates to fill a vacancy at a special election shall open 12 weeks before the special primary or on the day the secretary of state issues notice of the special election, whichever occurs later. Filings shall close ten weeks before the special primary. A candidate filing for the office of United States senator to fill a vacancy at a special election when both offices of the United States senator are required to be placed on the same ballot must specify on the affidavit of candidacy the expiration date of the term of the office that the candidate is seeking.

Subd. 10. United States senator; candidates; designation of term. When the names of candidates for both offices of United States senator are required to be placed on the same ballot, the expiration date of the term of each office shall be printed on the ballot in the office heading opposite the name of each candidate for nomination or election to that office.

Subd. 11. Temporary appointment. The governor may make a temporary appointment to fill any vacancy. An appointee shall hold office until a successor is elected and qualified at a special election or until a successor is elected pursuant to subdivision 12.

Subd. 12. Succession by regularly elected senator. An individual who is elected to the office of United States senator for a regular six-year term when the office is vacant or is filled by an individual appointed pursuant to subdivision 11, shall also succeed to the office for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Subd. 13. Application of other laws. Except as otherwise provided in this section, all of the provisions of sections 204D.22 to 204D.27 that apply generally to other special elections apply to a special election held pursuant to this section.

History: 1981 c 29 art 6 s 28; 2010 c 184 s 22, 23, 24, 25; 2021 c 31 art 3 s 18-19

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204D.28

In anticipation of vacancy in U.S. Senate, use of consolidated ballot for coincident special and regular primaries permitted. Johnson v. Growe, 289 N.W. 2d 490 (Minn. 1980).

204D.29 REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS VACANCY.

Subdivision 1. Scope; definition. (a) A vacancy in the office of representative in Congress must be filled as specified in this section.

(b) “Vacancy,” as used in this section, means a vacancy in the office of representative in Congress.

Subd. 2. Vacancy 27 weeks or more before state primary. (a) If a vacancy occurs 27 weeks or more before the state primary, the governor must issue a writ within three days of the vacancy for a special election for that office to be held between 20 and 24 weeks of the vacancy, but not fewer than 47 days before a state primary. A special primary must be held 11 weeks before the special election or on the second Tuesday in August if the general election is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November if any major party has more than one candidate after the time for withdrawal has expired.

(b) The filing period for a special election under this subdivision must end on or before the 131st day before the special election. Minor party and independent candidates must submit their petitions by the last day for filing and signatures on the petitions must be dated from the date of the vacancy through the last day for filing. There must be a one-day period for withdrawal of candidates after the last day for filing.

Subd. 3. Vacancy more than 22 weeks but fewer than 27 weeks before state primary. (a) If a vacancy occurs more than 22 weeks but fewer than 27 weeks before the state primary, the governor must issue a writ within three days of the vacancy for a special election for that office to be held on the day of the state primary with a special primary held 11 weeks before the state primary, if any major party has more than one candidate after the time for withdrawal has expired. The regularly scheduled election to fill the next full term shall proceed pursuant to law.

(b)          The filing period for a special election under this subdivision must end on or before the 147th day before the state primary. Minor party and independent candidates must submit their petitions by the last day for filing and signatures on the petitions must be dated from the date of the vacancy through the last day for filing. There must be a one-day period for withdrawal of candidates after the last day for filing. Candidates for a special election under this subdivision are not subject to the prohibition in section 204B.06 against having more than one affidavit of candidacy on file for the same election.

(c)           The winner of a special election on the day of the state primary under subdivision shall serve the remainder of the vacant term and is eligible to be seated in Congress upon issuance of the certificate of election. The winner of the regularly scheduled term for that office at the general election shall take office on the day new members of congress take office.

Subd. 4. Vacancy 22 or fewer weeks before state primary but before general election day. (a) If a vacancy occurs from 22 weeks before the state primary to the day before the general election, no special election will be held. The winner of the general election for the next full term for that office will serve the remainder of the unexpired term and is eligible to be seated in Congress immediately upon issuance of a certificate of election.

(b) If the incumbent filed an affidavit of candidacy for reelection as the candidate of a major political party and was nominated for the general election ballot by that party and a vacancy occurs from the day of the state primary until the date of the general election, there is a vacancy in nomination to be resolved pursuant to section 204B.13.

Subd. 5. Vacancy on or after election day and before the day new members of Congress take office. (a) If a vacancy occurs between the day of the general election and the day new members of Congress take office and the incumbent was not the winner of the general election, the winner of the general election for the next full term for that office is eligible to be seated in Congress immediately upon issuance of a certificate of election or the vacancy, whichever occurs last.

(b) If a vacancy occurs on or after election day but before the day new members of Congress take office and the incumbent was the winner of the general election, the vacancy must be filled pursuant to subdivision 2.

History: 2010 c 201 s 56

204B.39 SUBSTITUTE BALLOTS.

If a sufficient number of official ballots are not delivered or if the official ballots are stolen or destroyed and a sufficient number of official ballots cannot be procured, the official in charge of preparing the official ballots shall prepare substitute ballots in the form prescribed by this section. The substitute ballots shall be prepared in the same form as official ballots as far as practicable. The word “Substitute” shall be printed in brackets immediately above the words “Official Ballot.” When the substitute ballots are delivered to the municipal clerks or election judges they shall be accompanied by an initialed affidavit of the officer preparing them. The affidavit shall state that the substitute ballots have been prepared and furnished in the manner prescribed by this section and shall state the reason why sufficient official ballots were not ready for delivery. The election judges shall include this affidavit with the election returns from that precinct.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 39

204B.40 BALLOTS, ELECTION RECORDS AND OTHER MATERIALS; DISPOSITION; INSPECTION OF BALLOTS.

The county auditors, municipal clerks, and school district clerks shall retain all election materials returned to them after any election for at least 22 months from the date of that election. All election materials involved in a contested election must be retained for 22 months or until the contest has been finally determined, whichever is later. Abstracts filed by canvassing boards shall be retained permanently by any officer with whom those abstracts are filed. Election materials no longer required to be retained pursuant to this section shall be disposed of in accordance with sections 138.163 to 138.21. Sealed envelopes containing voted ballots must be retained unopened, except as provided in this section, in a secure location. The county auditor, municipal clerk, or school district clerk shall not permit any voted ballots to be tampered with or defaced.

After the time for filing a notice of contest for an election has passed, the secretary of state may, for the purpose of monitoring and evaluating election procedures: (1) open the sealed ballot envelopes and inspect the ballots for that election maintained by the county auditors, municipal clerks, or school district clerks; (2) inspect the polling place rosters and completed voter registration applications; or (3) examine other forms required in the Minnesota election laws for use in the polling place. No inspected ballot or document may be marked or identified in any manner. After inspection, all ballots must be returned to the ballot envelope and the ballot envelope must be securely resealed. Any other election materials inspected or examined must be secured or resealed. No polling place roster may be inspected until the voting history for that precinct has been posted. No voter registration application may be inspected until the information on it has been entered into the statewide registration system.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 40; 1987 c 175 s 7; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 10; 1995 c 8 s 4; 2000 c 467 s 19; 2006

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.40

42 U.S.C. 1974 provides: Every officer of election shall retain and preserve, for a period of twenty-two months from the date of any general, special, or primary election of which candidates for the office of President, Vice President, presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, or Resident Commissioner from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are voted for, all records and papers which come into his possession relating to any application, registration, payment of poll tax, or other act requisite to voting in such election, except that, when required by law, such records and papers may be delivered to another officer of election and except that, if the State or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico designates a custodian, and the duty to retain and preserve any record or paper so deposited shall devolve upon such custodian. Any officer of election or custodian who willfully fails to comply with this section shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both. Pub. L 86-449, Title III, §301, May 6, 1960.

City council was not authorized to examine ballots or ballot boxes. Op. Atty. Gen. 28-C-2, November 10, 1947.

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.41

Former statutory prohibition against mailing supplemental ballots to voters to whom regular absentee ballots were previously sent, in case of vacancy on ballot created by death or catastrophic illness of a candidate less than 16 days before general election, violated equal protection rights of absentee voters who could not obtain a replacement ballot in person. Erlandson v. Kiffmeyer, 659 N.W.2d 724 (Minn. 2003).

Nominating petition to fill a vacancy in nomination for nonpartisan office when nominee dies or withdraws before primary election must be filed within one week after primary. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-3, August 7, 1962; Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-3, September 12, 1968.

When nominee for office of county sheriff dies on a Saturday, the last day for filing nominating petitions is one week from the following Monday, if county

auditor’s office is closed on the following Saturday per M.S. 373.052. Op. Atty. Gen. 28B-3, October 15, 1962.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 42; 2013 c 131 art 2 s 85

204B.43 UNLAWFUL PRINTING OR DISTRIBUTION OF BALLOTS; PENALTY.

Every person authorized or employed to print official ballots who knowingly gives or delivers those ballots to, or knowingly permits them to be taken by, any person other than the official under whose direction they are being printed, or who knowingly prints any ballot or causes or permits any ballot to be printed in a form other than that prescribed by law, or with any other names on it, or with the names of candidates or the titles of offices arranged or the names of candidates spelled in any way other than that authorized and directed by that official, is guilty of a felony.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 43

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, including the placement of a candidate on the official ballot who is not eligible to hold the office for which the candidate has filed;

(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, 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, on all candidates for the office in the case of an election for state, federal, county, municipal, or school district office, 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. In the case of a review of a candidate’s eligibility to hold office, the court may order the candidate to appear and present sufficient evidence of the candidate’s eligibility. 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.

History: 1981 c 29 art 4 s 44; 1986 c 444; 1990 c 453 s 6; 2014 c 204 s 1; 2015 c 70 art 1 s 31

NOTES AND DECISIONS 204B.44

Petitioner claiming that election officials committed error, omission, or wrongful act bears burden to prove officials made error that requires correction.

Butler v. City of St. Paul, 936 N.W.2d 478 (Minn. 2019).

Petitioner failed to carry burden of demonstrating city election officials committed error, omission, or wrongful act in refusing to put petition to amend city’s charter on ballot where petitioner produced no evidence to demonstrate that city wrongly rejected any signature. Butler v. City of St. Paul, 936 N.W.2d 478 (Minn. 2019).

First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause permits state to take reasonable steps to exclude some forms of advocacy from polling place to ensure that partisan discord not follow the voter up to the voting booth and distract from a sense of shared civic obligation at the moment it counts the most. Minn. Voters Alliance v. Mansky, 138 S.Ct. 1876 (2018).

Contest between citizens and city over citizens’ right to place proposed city charter amendment on ballot was justiciable, and therefore Minnesota Supreme Court had jurisdiction to resolve issue of whether city properly directed clerk not to be place proposed amendment on ballot. Bicking v. City of Minneapolis, 891 N.W.2d 304 (Minn. 2017).

Minnesota Legislature is not proper respondent to petition under statute because it has no duty to complete procedural and mechanical duties for an election. Carlson v. Simon, 888 N.W.2d 467 (Minn. 2016).

Attorney general was not proper respondent to petition under statute where attorney general played no role in events surrounding candidacy, held no duty concerning election, and could not implement relief requested; secretary of state was proper respondent where secretary of state prepared guide for candidates directing candidates for judicial office to “submit a copy of a current Minnesota law license,” county auditor consulted with secretary in deciding to reject candidate’s affidavit of candidacy because copy of his attorney license was not attached to affidavit, and secretary notified election officials in district that seat would not be included on primary ballot. Moulton v. Simon, 883 N.W.2d 819 (Minn. 2016).

Even if supreme court had original jurisdiction pursuant to statute authorizing court proceedings to correct wrongful acts by election officials, supreme court would not exercise its jurisdiction over petition asserting that election officials were not taking necessary steps to ensure that ineligible voters were not permitted to vote; petition’s broad challenge relating to all matters on general election ballot could be addressed in district court, which would allow for litigation of factual disputes, and district court proceedings, followed by any needed appellate review, would provide adequate remedy and protect important public interest in ensuring fairness in state elections. Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Simon, 885 N.W.2d 660 (Minn. 2016).

Principal purpose of a petition filed with Minnesota Supreme Court to correct “errors, omissions, or wrongful acts” by Secretary of State with respect to elections is to provide a mechanism for correcting errors alleged to have occurred before the election, such as in preparing or printing the official ballot; political party’s challenge to decertification as minor party was not within statute. Begin v. Ritchie, 836 N.W.2d 545 (Minn. 2013).

Secretary of State was a proper party to candidate’s petition seeking an order requiring county auditor and Secretary of State to place candidate’s name on the ballot after previously-endorsed candidate withdrew from election, where, although Secretary of State had taken no action on the ballot issues at hand, Secretary’s interests in ballot preparation and election administration were implicated by the candidate and chairman of party’s request for relief. Martin v. Dicklich,  823 N.W.2d 336 (Minn. 2012).

State senate candidate had burden to prove that leaving his name off the ballot was an error of which of which Supreme Court was required to order correction by county auditor; candidate could not show that signers of nominating petition whose signatures were rejected for lack of a residence address on the petition lived within legislative district and, thus, did not meet his burden to prove that leaving his name off of ballot was an error of which Supreme Court was required to order correction by county auditor. Paquin v. Mack, 788 N.W.2d 899 (Minn. 2010).

Petitioner bore burden of proof, by preponderance of the evidence, in action to challenge name by which candidate for statewide office sought to be listed on election ballot; petitioner did not contest candidate’s eligibility to appear on the ballot, but only the manner in which his name should appear. Weiler v. Ritchie, 788 N.W. 2d 879 (Minn. 2010).

Secretary of State was, but governor was not, a necessary or proper party to a ballot challenge petition seeking to require Secretary of State to accept candidate filing for the seat of Supreme Court chief justice and to place the chief justice seat on election ballot. Clark v. Ritchie, 787 NW2d 142 (Minn. 2010).

Where candidates and local election officials agreed that certain absentee ballot return envelopes were rejected in error, thereby establishing that correction would have reflected the true vote of the people, local election officials were authorized to correct such errors without awaiting an election contest; local election officials had determined that some absentee ballot return envelopes were rejected in error, and neither candidate alleged, nor was there any evidence to suggest, that those errors were anything but innocent. Coleman v. Ritchie. 759 N.W.2d 47 (Minn. 2009).

Contested errors made by county election officials in the acceptance or rejection of absentee ballot return envelopes were not errors in “the counting or recording of the votes” and therefore could not be corrected by a county canvassing board under governing elections statutes, but were instead subject to review and correction in election contest; because erroneous rejection of an absentee ballot envelope was not evident from an examination of the returns and because rejected absentee ballots were neither counted nor recorded, the erroneous rejection of an absentee ballot return envelope was outside thescope of the authority conferred by the legislature on county canvassing boards for identification of “obvious errors” in counting or recording of the votes.

Coleman v. Ritchie, 759 N.W.2d 47 (Minn. 2009).

Secretary of State was a proper party-respondent on ballot challenge by voter and judicial candidate seeking an order striking name of appointed associate justice of state Supreme Court from primary and general election ballots or, alternatively, striking designation of that associate justice as the incumbent on those ballots; although Secretary of State was not directly responsible for printing and preparation of ballots, ballot challenge concerned office for which voting was conducted statewide and for which the Secretary of State had provided the challenged ballot information to all 87 county auditors. Clark v.

Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293, (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Governor was neither a proper nor a necessary party on ballot challenge by voter and judicial candidate seeking an order striking name of appointed associate justice of state Supreme Court from primary and general election ballots or, alternatively, striking designation of that associate justice as the incumbent on those ballots; the only actions of governor alleged in petition were appointments to fill judicial vacancies, petition did not and could not seek to bar governor from doing so in the future and governor could not implement any of the relief requested, as he was not responsible in any manner for preparation of ballots. Clark v. Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Laches barred consideration of ballot challenge by voter and Supreme Court candidate, filed less than 30 days before primary election, for order striking from primary ballot the name of appointed associate justice or, alternatively, striking the designation of appointed justice as the incumbent; petitioners unreasonably delayed assertion of arguments that appointed justice was precluded from running for election or being designated the incumbent, and there would be significant potential prejudice to election officials, to appointed justice and other candidates, and to electorate if requested relief were granted. Clark v. Pawlenty, 755 N.W. 2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

Supreme Court would address merits of claims in ballot challenge by voter and Supreme Court candidate seeking an order striking from general election ballot the name of appointed associate justice holding the seat in question or alternatively, striking the designation of appointed justice as the incumbent; legal and practical deadlines that gave rise to denial on laches grounds of the same claims with respect to primary election ballot had not yet occurred with respect to general election and addressing claims on merits would serve interest of judicial economy and remove uncertainty from election process. Clark

v.            Pawlenty, 755 N.W.2d 293 (Minn. 2008), certiorari denied 129 S.Ct. 2056.

A candidate who has not resided in the legislative district for six months immediately preceding election is not qualified to run for state legislative office in that district. Studer v. Kiffmeyer, 712 N.W.2d 552 (Minn. 2006); Melendez v. O’Connor, 654 N.W.2d 114 (Minn. 2002).

Equitable doctrine of laches can prevent party from recovering under terms of statute, when plaintiff has not been diligent in asserting a known right at the expense of one who has been prejudiced by the delay. Clayton v. Kiffmeyer, 688 N.W.2d 117 (Minn. 2004); Piepho v. Bruns, 652 N.W.2d 40 (Minn. 2002); Olson v. Zuehlke, 652 N.W.2d 37 (Minn. 2002); Lundquist v. Leonard, 652 N.W.2d 33 (Minn. 2002); Winters v. Kiffmeyer, 650 N.W.2d 167 (Minn. 2002).

Election for a seat in the state legislature was an “election for state office,” even if district was situated entirely within one county, and thus, petition challenging placement of candidate’s name on ballot for that seat was properly filed with Supreme Court, and not with the district court. Lundquist v. Leonard, 652 N.W.2d 33 (Minn. 2002).

Supreme Court is authorized to correct any error or omission affecting ballots for election, not just procedural or mechanical ones. Page v. Carlson, 448 N.W.2d 274 (Minn. 1992).

Former section 203A.18 intended to protect potential candidates for public office from errors and omissions of persons charged with properly completed procedural and mechanical duties attendant to election process. It does not apply to error of applicant who in affidavit of candidacy inadvertently designated legislative district of her residence as “43B” instead of “43A” and who sought order directing county auditor to place her name on primary ballot. Schroeder v. Johnson, 252 N.W. 2d 851 (Minn. 1976).

Premeditated attempt to group names of endorsed candidates on primary election ballots would raise inference of unfairness sufficiently serious to constitute an error. Mattson v. McKenna, 301 Minn. 103, 222 N.W. 2d 273 (1974).

Candidates not admitted or entitled to be admitted to practice law in state are not eligible for office of associate justice of Supreme Court. In re Scarrella, 300 Minn. 500, 221 N.W. 2d 562 (1974).

Application for order preventing placement of candidate’s name on election ballot for any office must be timely made and clearly established; burden upon applicant to establish ineligibility must be heavy one in view of drastic nature of affirmative order and order must be promptly sought. Moe v. Alsop, 288 Minn. 323, 180 N.W. 2d 255 (1970).

Reconvened county canvassing board may be compelled under former section 203A.18 and under former section 204A.52, although latter is technically incorrect procedure. Application of Andersen, 264 Minn. 257, 119 N.W. 2d 1 (1962).

Former sections 202A.28 to 202A.31, relating to nomination of candidate for election by petition; included by inference in former M.S. 203A.18. Williams v. Donovan, 253 Minn. 493, 92 N.W. 2d 915 (1958).

Supreme Court had authority to prevent ballots improperly presenting proposed constitutional amendments. Winget v. Holm, 187 Minn. 78, 244 N.W. 331 (1932).

Voters seeking writ of mandamus to order school board to hold election for school board member were not entitled to mandamus relief, because alternative relief was available to voters. Houck v. Eastern Carver County Schs., 787 N.W.2d 227 (Minn. App. 2010).

Candidates’ allegation of ballot error was sufficient to confer standing under statute, and term “DFL-Endorsed” next to candidates’ names on ballot for city council was not statement of political principle within meaning of city ordinance allowing candidates to state party name or political principle on ballot in three words or less.  Schiff v. Griffin, 639 N.W.2d 56 (Minn. App. 2002).