|Senate Counsel & Research||State of Minnesota|
|S.F. No. 2574 - Elections Miscellany|
|Author:||Senator Ann H. Rest|
|Prepared by:||Peter S. Wattson, Senate Counsel (651/296-3812)|
|Date:||March 11, 2008|
Section 1 comes from S.F. No. 758 (Rest), which passed the Senate in 2007. It exempts lobbying activities related to a ballot question from campaign finance reporting requirements. In a decision dated August 15, 2006, the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board dismissed a complaint by Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage against OutFront Minnesota for having failed to register a political committee for the purpose of supporting or opposing a bill that would have placed on the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. The reason for the dismissal was that, after the complaint was filed, OutFront Minnesota did register a political fund for that purpose and retroactively filed with the Board reports of its receipts and expenditures related to the constitutional amendment proposal. The receipts and expenditures of the political fund were the same as those reported by OutFront Minnesota for its lobbying activities related to the constitutional amendment bill in the Legislature.
Section 1 exempts lobbying activities related to qualifying a question for placement on the ballot from those that must be reported by a political committee or political fund. Expenditures for lobbying activities must be reported by the lobbyist and lobbyist principal under Minn. Stat. § 10A.04. So, expenses for lobbying for or against a constitutional amendment in the Legislature would continue to be reported as lobbying expenses, but would not need to also be reported as campaign expenditures by a political committee or political fund. The section is effective retroactively from January 1, 2008.
Sections 2 to 4 come from S.F. No. 123 (Rest), which passed the Senate in 2007.
Section 2 requires an unregistered political committee, political fund, principal campaign committee, or party unit to register with the Board of Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure within 24 hours after it has received a loan or contribution that must be reported to the Board within that time.
Section 3 makes several changes to the reporting of last-minute contributions, that is, contributions received after the last regular reporting date before an election, which is 15 days before the state primary, ten days before the general election, and seven days before a special primary or special election.
Section 4 advances the deadline for filing the affidavit of contributions that is required for a candidate to be eligible to receive a public subsidy from September 1 to the deadline for reporting receipts and expenditures before the primary, that is, 22 days before the primary. It is effective July 1, 2008, and applies it to contributions made on or after that date.
Sections 5 and 6 come from S.F. No. 208 (Sheran), which passed the Senate as part of two other bills in 2007. They provide for delivery of absentee ballots to an agent of certain persons and return of ballots by the agent.
Section 5 authorizes the county auditor or municipal clerk to deliver an absentee ballot to the agent designated under section 6 of a voter who would have difficulty getting to the polls because of incapacitating health reasons, or who is disabled, or who is a resident of a facility providing assisted living services governed by Minnesota Statutes, chapter 144G.
Section 6 authorizes a voter who would have difficulty getting to the polls because of health reasons, or who is disabled, or who is a resident of a facility providing assisted living services governed by chapter 144G, 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.
Section 7 is part of the agreement between the Secretary of State and the Governor. It advances from July to June the deadlines for political parties to furnish lists of election judges to county auditors and for county auditors to furnish lists of election judges to municipal clerks.
Sections 8, 13, and 16 come from S.F. No. 753 (Rummel), which passed the Senate in 2007. They authorize appointment of election judges not affiliated with a political party.
Section 8 authorizes municipalities to appoint, after the party lists are exhausted, persons not affiliated with a major political party to serve as election judges, provided that each precinct must have at least two judges who are affiliated with different major political parties.
Sections 9, 14, 15, and 17 come from S.F. No. 380 (Wiger), which passed the Senate in 2007. They make a variety of changes to the election laws governing school boards and other local governments.
Section 9 eliminates the requirement that a county, municipality, or school district get the approval of the county auditor before conducting an election by mail.
Sections 10 to 12 come from S.F. No. 2574 (Larson).
Sections 10 and 11 add one week to the special election calendar for seats in the Legislature and in Congress by requiring candidates to file two weeks before the special primary, rather than one.
Section 12 permits the Secretary of State to conduct a recount of a special primary or special election, rather than having the recount done by the county or state canvassing board.
Section 13 exempt town elections not held in conjunction with a statewide election from the party balance requirements for election judges.
Section 14 permits a school board to decide whether or not to hold a primary election. The decision must be made before June 1. If the school district decides to hold a primary, but no more than two candidates file for each position, no primary need be held.
Section 15 provides that if a school district has decided to hold a primary, affidavits of candidacy must be filed in early July. If the school district has decided not to hold a primary, even if there are more than two candidates for a position, affidavits of candidacy need not be filed until early September.
Section 16 exempt school district elections not held in conjunction with a statewide election from the party balance requirements for election judges.
Section 17 confirms the school board's authority to use electronic voting systems in elections held not in conjunction with a statewide election.
Section 18 comes from S.F. No. 2553 (Rest). It provides shorter deadlines for completing the postelection review of the election results provided by electronic voting systems.
Current law requires that the results of the state general election as counted by electronic voting systems be compared to the results of a manual count of the optical scan ballots. The comparison, or "review," as it is referred to in Minn. Stat. § 206.89, is done in precincts selected by the county canvassing boards at their meeting held seven days after the election. The review must be completed no later than two days before the state canvassing board meets to certify the results of the state general election, which would be 12 days after the general election.
If the first review reveals a difference greater than one-half of one percent, a second review, comparing the electronic and manual results in additional precincts, must be completed within two days after the additional precincts were selected, or roughly 14 to16 days after the general election.
If the second review reveals a difference greater than one-half of one percent, a third review, comparing the electronic and manual results in all the remaining precincts in the county, must be completed. Under current law, the deadline for completing the third review is six weeks after the general election. The bill would change that to one week after the second review was completed, which would be a little more than three weeks after the general election.
If the third review from counties comprising more than ten percent of those voting in the election clearly indicates that an error has occurred, current law requires the postelection review officials to conduct a manual recount of all the ballots in the district for the affected office. The bill adds a requirement that the Secretary of State notify the officials of their duty to conduct the manual recount. Current law requires the manual recount to be completed no later than ten weeks after the state general election. The bill would change that to two weeks after the postelection official received the notice from the Secretary of State, or a little more than five weeks after the general election.
Section 19 comes from S.F. No. 248 (Betzold), which passed the Senate in 2007. It increases the amount that a political committee or political fund may donate to charity from $50 to $100 annually, and removes the limit for a principal campaign committee that dissolves within one year after the contribution is made.
Section 20 comes from S.F. No. 2552 (Gerlach), now on General Orders. It authorizes the use of voter registration applications in existence on July 31, 2007, until they are consumed.
Section 21 makes most of the act effective June 1, 2008. Sections 5 and 6 are effective for elections held on or after June 1, 2008. Sections 10 to 12, 14, and 19 are effective the day following final enactment, and section 20 is effective retroactively from August 1, 2007.
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