S.F. No. 479 provides a process for registered Minnesota voters to obtain a free voter identification card to be used only for voting purposes. Proper photo identification is required before a voter may cast a ballot. A system to cast a provisional ballot is provided.
Section 1 provides a process for obtaining a free voter identification card. Subdivision 1 requires the county auditor to provide at least one location in the county where a registered Minnesota voter may apply for and receive a free voter identification card. A voter identification card is valid only for purposes of voter identification. A voter that has a Minnesota driver’s license or identification card that is valid and will not expire before the next election day is not eligible for a voter identification card.
Subdivision 2. A voter identification card is valid as long as the voter resides at the address on the card and remains qualified to vote. If the voter moves, the voter must surrender the voter identification before applying for and receiving a new one.
Subdivision 3. Before the county auditor may issue a voter identification card, the applicant must submit:
1) proof of current registration to vote in Minnesota;
2) documentation approved by the secretary of state sufficient to prove residence in the state for purposes of election day voter registration; and
3) official documentation that includes the applicant’s name, current address, and birth date.
The secretary of state is authorized to adopt rules to further describe and define the documentation required. The application must request certain additional information. The application must be signed and sworn to by the applicant. It is a felony to knowingly submit an application containing false information. The data in the application is private data.
Subdivision 4. Prescribes the form of the voter identification card, and lists the information that must be included on the card, including a photograph. The card must be labeled “MINNESOTA VOTER IDENTIFICATION CARD” and include a statement that the card is only valid for voting purposes.
Subdivision 5. The secretary of state must provide each county auditor with the necessary equipment, forms, supplies, and training for producing the cards, as well as maintain the equipment. The secretary of state may adopt necessary rules to administer this section.
Section 2, subdivision 1 provides that before an individual seeking to vote signs the roster, a judge:
1) may confirm the applicant’s name, address, and date of birth; and
2) must require the voter to provide acceptable photo identification unless the voter has a religious objection to being photographed.
Subdivision 2. The following documents satisfy the photo identification requirement:
1) a valid Minnesota driver’s license or identification card;
2) a valid US passport;
3) a valid Minnesota voter identification card;
4) any valid identification issued by a branch, department, agency, entity, or subdivision of the state of Minnesota or the federal government if the identification includes a photograph of the voter; or
5) a valid tribal identification card with a photograph of the voter.
If the voter cannot provide any of these, the voter may cast a provisional ballot after swearing or affirming that the voter is the person identified in the polling place roster. Falsely swearing or affirming the oath is a felony.
Section 3 sets up the system for casting provisional ballots. Subdivision 1 allows a voter that appears at the polling place but does not provide proper photo identification to cast a provisional ballot. The voter must complete a provisional ballot voting certificate which includes information about the voter’s previous registration. The voter must swear or affirm in writing that the voter previously registered to vote, is eligible to vote, has not already voted in the election, and meets the criteria to register to vote. Once the ballot is completed, the voter must be allowed to cast the ballot. A provisional ballot is the same that is used for mail-in absentee ballots. A completed provisional ballot is sealed in the same manner as absentee ballots and deposited in a secure, sealed ballot box.
Subdivision 2. In a precinct where a provisional ballot is cast, the head election just must notify the county auditor or municipal clerk of the number of provisional ballots cast as soon as practicable after the polls close. The provisional ballots and related documents must be delivered to and securely maintained by the county auditor or municipal clerk.
A voter that cast a provisional ballot on election day has five business days to appear before the county auditor or municipal clerk to determine whether the ballot will be counted. The auditor or clerk must count a provisional ballot in the final certified results from the precinct if the voter either 1) present an acceptable form of photo identification or the documentation necessary to secure a voter identification card; or 2) executes an affidavit affirming that the voter is the same person who appeared in the polling place to cast the ballot and is unable to obtain sufficient photo identification without payment of a fee and was not able to secure a voter identification card prior to election day.
If the voter does not appear within five days or does not satisfy the requirements, the voter’s provisional ballot must not be counted. The county auditor or municipal clerk must notify, in writing, any voter who does not appear within five business days that their provisional ballot was not cast because of failure to provide photo identification and failure to appear to determine that the ballot should be counted.