|Senate Counsel & Research||State of Minnesota|
|H.F. No. 874 - HAVA Voting Equipment Appropriation|
|Author:||Senator Linda Higgins|
|Prepared by:||Peter S. Wattson, Senate Counsel (651/296-3812)|
|Date:||May 25, 2005|
The bill also sets standards for the electronic voting systems that will be purchased with the appropriations, both what the machines must be able to do and how they must be set up and operated, and it directs the Secretary of State, with the assistance of the Commissioner of Administration, to develop state contracts that counties and municipalities may use to purchase electronic voting systems with the grant money they receive.
Section 1 requires the Secretary of State to consult with local election officials in the development of the statewide voter registration system.
Section 2 authorizes municipalities, with the approval of the Secretary of State, to establish a combined polling place for noncontiguous precincts located in one or more counties. The combined polling place may be located outside any of the noncontiguous precincts.
Sections 3 to 11 add or amend various definitions used in the chapter on electronic voting systems and that apply to assistive voting technology for people with disabilities.
Section 6 defines a ballot to include "an electronic record of each vote cast by a voter at an election and transmitted electronically to automatic tabulating equipment in the polling place."
Section 10 defines an electronic voting system to include one where the voter transmits a ballot, rather than directly marking it, and to include systems that count votes in the polling place rather than at a counting center.
Section 12 requires the Secretary of State, when examining electronic voting systems before certifying them, to examine their electronic ballot marking and assistive voting technologies.
Section 13 delays for two years the requirement that assistive voting technology be used in county, municipal, and school district elections.
Section 14 permits the Secretary of State to certify electronic voting systems using assistive voting technology on an experimental basis if the Election Assistance Commission has not established standards for them by January 1, 2006.
Section 15 requires electronic voting systems that use assistive voting technology to display candidates in the same order as on an optical scan ballot.
Section 16 requires electronic voting systems that use assistive voting technology to alternate candidate names in the same manner as on an optical scan ballot.
Section 17 changes the three-minute time limit for remaining in a voting booth from a maximum to a minimum, with the maximum time becoming a "reasonable amount," in recognition of the additional time that may be necessary for individuals with disabilities to vote using assistive voting technology.
Section 18 requires votes for too many candidates and votes for more than one party in a primary to be "automatically" rejected by an electronic voting system, even if the machine on which the votes are cast is not one that tabulates them. It implements the requirement of HAVA, section 301(a)(2)(B), that:
(i) The voting system shall produce a permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity for such system.
(ii) The voting system shall provide the voter with an opportunity to change the ballot or correct any error before the permanent paper record is produced.
(iii) The paper record produced under subparagraph (A) shall be available as an official record for any recount conducted with respect to any election in which the system is used.
It imposes a requirement that an electronic voting system purchased on or after the effective date of the section may not be employed unless it:
(1) accepts and tabulates in the polling place or at a counting center a marked optical scan ballot;
(2) creates a marked optical scan ballot that can be tabulated in the polling place or at a counting center by automatic tabulating equipment that has been certified for use in this state; or
(3) securely transmits a ballot electronically to automatic tabulating equipment in the polling place while creating an individual, discrete, permanent paper record of each vote on the ballot.
Section 19 directs the Secretary of State, with the assistance of the Commissioner of Administration, to establish one or more state voting systems contracts from which counties and municipalities may purchase or lease voting systems and obtain related election services. The contracts must give the state a perpetual license to use and modify the software and must include provisions to escrow the source code. The Secretary of State must appoint an advisory committee that includes representatives of the state's chief information officer, local election officials, and members of the disabilities community to assist in evaluating proposals submitted by equipment vendors to the Commissioner of Administration.
Section 20 strikes the authority of the Secretary of State to authorize experimental use of direct recording electronic voting systems (touch-screen systems). Under section 18, all systems will now have to produce a permanent paper record of each ballot cast by a voter.
Sections 21 to 33 amend the current law on setting up and testing electronic voting systems to add references to the assistive voting technology that will be used by people with disabilities, generally requiring it to be set up and tested in a manner similar to that for optical scan machines.
Section 27 prohibits an electronic voting system from being connected to any network or to the Internet via either a wired or a wireless connection. Once the polls have closed and a record of the results for the precinct has been printed, the tally for the precinct may be sent by electronic connection to a central reporting location.
Section 34 contains the appropriations.
Subdivision 1 appropriates $29 million from the HAVA account for grants to counties to purchase and operate electronic voting systems equipped for individuals with disabilities. The amount of the grant to each county is in proportion to the number of precincts used by the county at the 2004 state general election.
Subdivision 2 appropriates $6 million from the HAVA account for grants to counties to purchase optical scan voting systems. The amount allocated to each county is $3,000 per precinct.
Subdivision 3 requires counties to apply to the Secretary of State to receive a grant under subdivision 1 or 2. The grant must be spent in accordance with the county equipment plan adopted under section 35.
Subdivision 4 requires each county receiving a grant to report to the Secretary of State by January 15, 2006, on how the money was spent. The Secretary of State must compile this information and report it to the Legislature by February 15, 2006. Counties must keep financial records sufficient to meet federal audit requirements and provide them to the Secretary of State on request.
Subdivision 5 appropriates $290,000 from the HAVA account to the Secretary of State to make grants to counties and municipalities to improve access to polling places for individuals with disabilities.
Subdivision 6 appropriates $3 million from the HAVA account to the Secretary of State to further develop and operate the Statewide Voter Registration System, establish the state voting equipment contracts, administer the grants to counties and municipalities, train local election officials in the use of the new equipment, educate voters on how to vote on it, and process complaints from voters regarding registration and voting.
Subdivision 7 reserves the unappropriated balance in the HAVA account for future appropriations to supplement the appropriations in subdivisions 1 and 2.
Section 35 requires each county to develop by September 15, 2005, or 45 days after state certification of assistive voting systems, whichever is later, a local equipment plan detailing how the HAVA money will be spent and who will be responsible for purchasing and maintaining the new equipment. The county auditor must appoint a working group of local election officials to create the plan. The county board must hold a public hearing on the plan and may not spend the HAVA money until the local equipment plan has been adopted. The county must file a copy of the adopted plan with the Secretary of State.
Section 36 expresses the Legislature's intent to save the use of mail balloting where it is allowed under state law.
Section 37 makes the act effective the day following final enactment.
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