|Senate Counsel & Research||State of Minnesota|
|S.F. No. 385 - Absentee Ballot|
|Author:||Senator John Marty|
|Prepared by:||Peter S. Wattson, Senate Counsel (651/296-3812)|
|Date:||March 11, 2005|
The substance of S.F. No. 385 has passed the Senate in other forms in previous sessions. It passed the Senate as part of S.F. No. 1483 during the 1994 session but died on General Orders in the House of Representatives. It also passed as part of S.F. No. 35 in the 1995 session but again died on General Orders in the House. In 1997, it passed as part of S.F. No. 78 but was vetoed by the Governor because of other provisions that allowed hospital patients to vote by fax. In 1998, it was presented to the Governor as S.F. No. 2148, which left out the provisions authorizing hospital patients to vote by fax, but was again vetoed by the Governor, this time because it had been supported by only one Republican in the House and "scant more" in the Senate. In 1999, it was introduced as S.F. No. 138, heard and amended in committee, and laid on the table. In 2001, it failed on final passage in the Senate, 32-31. In 2003, it passed the Subcommittee on Elections but was defeated in the Committee on Rules and Administration. In 2004, it was withdrawn from the Committee on Rules and Administration and referred to the Committee on Elections, which passed it to the floor, where it died on General Orders.
Section 1 authorizes any eligible voter to vote by absentee ballot. It strikes the specific reasons a voter must now give for being unable to vote in person.
Section 2 strikes from the absentee ballot application any reference to the reason the voter will be unable to vote in person at the polling place on election day.
Section 3 authorizes a voter to request that an absentee ballot be sent to the voter using a commercial shipper at the voter's expense.
Section 4 authorizes a voter who is disabled or a participant in a residential program for adults licensed by the Commissioner of Human Services to designate an agent to deliver absentee ballots to the voter and return them by 3:00 p.m. on election day. The agent may deliver ballots to no more than three persons in an election.
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