S.F. No. 509 relates to elections in Minnesota. The bill has four articles and covers:
1) Voter Registration, Photo Identification, and Provisional Balloting;
2) Election Administration and Integrity;
3) Electronic Rosters;
4) Recounts; and
5) Title, Severability, Appropriations.
Article 1 provides the requirements for proper documentation of identity and residency for purposes of voter registration and voting, including the requirement that a proper photo identification be provided before a voter is allowed to cast a ballot. A process is provided to obtain a free voter identification card. A system for casting provisional ballots is set-up and explained. The timeline for canvassing is adjusted to accommodate the verifying of provisional ballots.
Article 2 makes several changes to election procedures to ensure election integrity. Changes are made to the voter registration process, systems, and files. The retention period for most election materials is changed from 22 to 36 months. Notice of ballot board meetings is required. The Secretary of State is required to maintain a list of voters with challenged eligibility. The process for determining the proper number of ballots to be counted, as well as how to deal with excess ballots, is changed. Handling spoiled, defective, and duplicate ballots is expanded. The election materials available for inspection are expanded. The Secretary of State is required to submit a report to the legislative to propose legislation.
Article 3 allows the use of electronic polling place rosters. The procedures for using electronic rosters and the minimum requirements are spelled out. Instead of signing a polling place roster, a voter may sign a receipt printed from an electronic roster. References to electronic rosters and receipts are added to current law.
Article 4 creates a new chapter of law covering recounts. The recount official for each jurisdiction is defined. The scope of recounts is explained. The threshold limits and procedures for recounts are provided, including handling challenged ballots. The individuals that may be present at a recount and what they may observe and inspect is laid out.
Article 5 establishes a title for the bill, enacts a severability provision, and includes various appropriation.
ARTICLE 1. VOTER REGISTRATION, PHOTO IDENTIFICATION, AND PROVISIONAL BALLOTING
Section 1 requires additional campaign finance reports. Every year, a report is due on April 7. In non-election years, additional reports are also due July 7 and October 7. These reports would be required if the reporting entity received contributions or made expenditures that, in aggregate, exceed $5,000 in the calendar year.
Section 2 provides that Department of Public Safety data on applicants for a voter identification card is private data.
Section 3 establishes a definition of “voter identification card” in the driver’s license and state identification card chapter.
Section 4 specifies that an application for a voter identification card must be in a format approved by the Department of Public Safety. A fee or surcharge cannot be collected.
Section 5 prohibits the commissioner from collecting a fee or surcharge for a voter identification card.
Section 6 clarifies that current law requiring specified information on a license application apply to licenses and identification cards, but not the voter identification card.
Section 7 specifies required information for a voter identification card application, including, among other things, identification of the applicant, last four digits of the applicant's social security number (or a statement stating the applicant was not assigned a number), proof of citizenship, length of residence at the current address, and photograph (except when the applicant affirms a religious objection to a photograph).
Section 8 defines "applicant" and “application” for purposes of the driver’s license agent statute.
Section 9 authorizes driver’s license agents to receive and process applications for voter identification cards.
Section 10 specifies that driver’s license agents may not collect a filing fee for an application for a voter identification card, and requires the Department of Public Safety to pay the agents $5 for each voter identification card application processed.
Section 11 classifies voter identification card photographs or images as private data that are restricted in the same ways as driver's license and state identification card photographs.
Section 12 requires that voter identification cards be issued to applicants who are eligible to vote and who do not have a current Minnesota driver’s license or identification card. The section describes the information that must appear on the card, requires a color different from other state licenses and cards, and provides that the card may not serve any purpose other than voting in Minnesota. An individual eligible for permanent absentee voter status is allowed to submit a photograph for use on a voter identification card.
Section 13 provides that voter identification cards expire on the birthday of the applicant in the fourth year following issuance. Cards issued to over-65 applicants do not expire.
Section 14 requires voter identification cards to have the same security features as driver’s licenses and state identification cards.
Section 15 provides that the applicant’s Social Security number may not be displayed or encoded on the voter identification card, and it may not be used as a voter identification number.
Section 16 allows the commissioner to adopt rules to permit nonphotographic identification on a voter identification card of a person with religious objections to the use of a photograph or image. A person with hair loss due to illness or injury may be photographed with an appropriate head covering for the voter identification card.
Section 17 requires a voter identification cardholder who changes residence or name after issuance of the card to apply for a duplicate card that will bear current information.
Section 18 authorizes the commissioner to cancel a voter identification card that was obtained with inadequate or fraudulent information. The card remains canceled until the applicant completes the application process and complies with the commissioner’s requirements. The commissioner must immediately send mailed notification to a cardholder whose card is canceled.
Section 19 spells out the types of documentation that are sufficient to provide identity and residence for election day voter registration and to determine whether to count a provisional ballot. The types of acceptable documentation include a current Minnesota driver’s license or identification card; certain tribal identification cards; or a receipt issued by the Department of Public Safety for a new, renewed, or updated driver’s license or identification card along with one of several listed photo identifications. If the voter is a student, he or she may use a driver’s license or identification card issued by any U.S. state or territory that does not include the voter’s current address, along with a current student fee statement that includes the student’s address in the precinct. If a voter resides in a residential facility (e.g. nursing home, battered women’s shelter, transitional home, veterans home, homeless shelter, etc.), the voter may prove identity and residence by using a driver's license or identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety along with a certification of residence signed by the facility administrator. The driver's license or identification card does not need to include a current address.
Section 20 establishes a state-subsidized voter identification card account in the special revenue fund. These funds are used to issue voter identification cards. The Department may not be reimbursed more than the actual cost of providing the card, not to exceed $9.85. A report of total expenditures by county must be submitted to the members of the house and senate committees with oversight of elections by January 31 each year. On June 30 of each odd-numbered year, any balance in the account is transferred to the general fund.
Section 21 removes vouching as a mechanism for election day registrants to prove residency. The documentation provisions of the current law are removed and a cross reference is added to the new section covering documentation to prove identity and residence. Counties, school districts, and municipalities must require that an election judge responsible for Election Day registration sign each completed registration card. Current law allows the option to initial each completed registration application.
Section 22 requires that, in most situations, the address listed on the polling place roster be the voter's address of residence.
Section 23 provides that an individual serving only as an election judge at a school district election is not an employee of the school district.
Section 24, subdivision 1, requires that a person seeking to vote must present photo identification required under subdivision 2 before signing the polling place roster or printed voter's receipt. A voter who cannot show sufficient identification may cast a provisional ballot. Voters’ receipts must be kept for 36 months following the election, instead of just during the time for notice of filing for an election contest.
Subdivision 2. Required photo identification documents must contain specified information and include: a Minnesota driver’s license, identification card, or voter identification card; a receipt for a new, renewed, or updated driver’s license or identification card and an expired, invalidated, or otherwise not current driver’s license, identification card, or voter identification card; a tribal identification card; or, if the voter lives in a residential facility the voter may use a driver’s license or identification card issued to the voter by the Department of Public Safety along with a certification of residence in the facility signed by the facility administrator.
Section 25 requires that, if the challenged individual’s answers to the residency questions fail to show that he or she is not eligible to vote and the challenge is not withdrawn, the election judges must allow the voter to cast a provisional ballot.
Section 26 creates a system for provisional ballots and is referenced throughout the bill. Subdivision 1 allows a voter who cannot provide proper photo identification, a voter whose registration status is challenged who has not proven eligibility, or a voter whose eligibility to vote is challenged and who is unable to overcome the challenge, to cast a provisional ballot. A voter seeking to cast a provisional ballot must sign a provisional ballot roster and complete a color-coded provisional ballot envelope, which includes certain identifying information about the voter. The voter must also swear or affirm, in writing, that he or she is eligible to vote, has not already voted in the election, and meets the criteria to register to vote in the precinct. Once the envelope is complete, the voter must be allowed to cast a provisional ballot. The ballot is put into a secrecy envelope, which is put inside the provisional ballot envelope. The voter then puts the envelope into a secure, sealed provisional ballot box. The completed provisional ballots cannot be combined with other voted ballots. Provisional ballots and related documentation must be delivered to and securely maintained by the county auditor or municipal clerk in the same manner as other election materials.
Subdivision 2. A voter who casts a provisional ballot has seven days after the election to appear before the county auditor or municipal clerk to prove that his or her ballot should be counted. The auditor or clerk must count a provisional ballot in the final certified results if: 1) the statewide voter registration system indicates eligibility, or if challenged, the clerk or auditor does not conclude that the voter is ineligible, and 2) the voter presents acceptable proof of identity and residence. If the voter does not appear within seven calendar days, does not satisfy the requirements for the ballot to be counted, or the data presented does not match the information on the provisional ballot envelope, the ballot must not be counted. The auditor or clerk must notify, in writing, a voter who does not appear that the ballot was not counted because he or she did not appear.
Subdivision 3. Before counting any provisional ballots in the final precinct vote totals, the county auditor must verify that the number of signatures on the provisional ballot roster is equal to the number of provisional ballots. Any discrepancy must be resolved before counting ballots. The process for resolving the discrepancy is described.
Section 27 makes it a felony for a person to intentionally misrepresent identity in requesting a provisional ballot or requesting a provisional ballot to be counted.
Section 28 requires that the County Canvassing Board meet on the eighth day following the state primary. Current law requires the meeting to be on the third day. The State Canvassing Board is required to meet 14 days after the state primary. Current law requires the meeting to be on the seventh day.
Section 29 requires the County Canvassing Board to meet between the eighth and fourteenth days following the state general election. Current law requires the meeting to be between the third and tenth days.
Section 30 provides that if the copy of the canvassing board report and precinct summary statement is not received by the Secretary of State within ten days following a primary election or within sixteen days following a general election, the Secretary of State must notify the auditor. Current law requires the statements within ten days of any election.
Section 31 requires the governing body of a municipality to canvass election returns on the eighth day after the primary. Current law requires the meeting on the third day.
Section 32 requires the governing body of a city or town conducting an election to meet between the eighth and fourteenth days after an election meet to canvass the results. Current law requires the meeting to be between the third and tenth days. The governing body of a town conducting a general election in March must meet within ten days after an election to canvass the results. Current law requires the meeting within two days.
Section 33 requires the school board to canvass the returns on the eighth day after the primary. Current law requires the meeting on the third day.
Section 34 requires the school board to canvass the results of most elections between the eighth and fourteenth days after the eleciton. Current law requires this to be between the third and tenth days.
Section 35 requires the Commissioner of Administration to enter into a state contract for production of a public educational campaign related to voter identification requirement. The Secretary of State, the Secretary of State's staff, and any other documents or materials promoting the Office of the Secretary of State are prohibited from appearing in the campaign.
Section 36 provides this article is effective on June 1, 2012 and applies to elections held on or after that date.
ARTICLE 2. ELECTION ADMINISTRATION AND INTEGRITY
Section 1 provides that a list of students who reside in campus housing or within ten miles of campus, that may be sent by postsecondary institutions to the county auditor, must be in an electronic format. The list must note any student known not to be a U.S. citizen.
Section 2 clarifies that the unique identifier assigned by the permanent voter registration system to each voter must be permanently assigned to the voter and cannot be changed or reassigned to another voter.
Section 3 adds a reference to the permanency of the unique identifier assigned to each voter. The statewide voter registration system must, in addition to current requirements, provide reports on individuals who are not registered and are reported to be ineligible to vote.
Section 4 requires election judges to review the list of individuals reported to be ineligible to vote before registering the person to vote.
Section 5 requires the election judge responsible for Election Day registration to keep a record of the number of individuals who attempt to register but cannot provide proof of residency. Current law requires the election judge to “attempt to” keep this record.
Section 6 amends current law on deficient voter registration by removing the provision that failure to check a box on the application form does not result in a deficient registration. Further, the county or municipality is required to attempt to obtain the date of birth for a voter registration application accepted prior to August 1, 1983. A registration may be deemed deficient if the voter does not provide a date of birth on request. References to voter identification cards are added to current provision on applications accepted prior to January 1, 2004.
Section 7 requires that a properly completed voter registration application must be maintained by the Secretary of State or county auditor for at least 36 months, rather than the current 22-month period, after which it can be disposed of.
Section 8 removes the language that allows the county auditor to take more than 42 days to enter the voter registration applications completed on Election Day into the statewide registration system.
Section 9 requires the county auditor to mail notice of registration to individuals registered on Election Day no later than January 1 of the following year.
Section 10 removes the cross reference about public information lists.
Section 11 requires the Secretary of State to maintain an electronic database of individuals not registered who are reported to be ineligible to vote (e.g. felons whose civil rights have not been restored, certain people under guardianship, and people legally incompetent). The database must include certain information about the individuals on the list. The information in the database is compiled from data submitted to the secretary. An elections official processing a voter registration application must verify whether the applicant is listed in the database. If so, registration may be accepted but the voter’s status must be listed as challenged.
Section 12 changes the retention period of polling place rosters from 22 to 36 months.
Section 13 changes the requirements on what must be included in an application for absentee ballots. The application must include the applicant’s name, residence, and mailing address; date of birth; driver’s license number, state identification card number, or voter identification card number; and the last four digits of the applicant’s Social Security Number (or a statement that the applicant does not have a Social Security Number).
Prior to approval of the application, the county auditor or municipal clerk must verify the validity of the driver’s license number, state identification card number, or voter identification card number; if the number is not valid, the application must be rejected. The auditor or clerk must also check to see if the person is on a list of individuals reported to be ineligible to vote.
Section 14 removes the option for a resident or patient in a health care facility or hospital to submit an absentee ballot application to an election judge delivering absentee ballots.
Section 15 changes the retention period for applications for absentee ballots from 22 to 36 months.
Section 16 provides for required notice of ballot board meetings. The board may meet to perform its duties only during the period when completed absentee ballots are accepted. Meetings must be scheduled, announced, and posted on the web site or principal bulletin board of the governing body of the county, municipality, or school district at least 14 days before convening the board’s first meeting for an election. Ballot board meetings must be convened at the same time and in the same location. The ballot board must also meet on any day during which county or municipal offices are open for purposes of conducting election business.
Section 17 changes the retention period from 22 to 36 months for all election materials returned to the county auditor, municipal clerk, and school district clerks and for all election materials involved in a contested election. This section removes the provisions that prohibit inspection of polling place rosters until voting history for the precinct has been posted. The requirement that voter registration applications cannot be inspected until the information has been entered into the statewide registration system was also removed.
Section 18 changes the way the number of ballots to be counted is determined. Election judges must count original voter signatures contained in the polling place roster or on voter’s receipts generated from an electronic roster. Voter receipts cannot be counted as a substitute for original voter signatures unless the receipts contain the name, voter identification number, and signature of the voter. The process in current law is to add the number of return envelopes from accepted absentee ballots to the number of signed voter’s certificates or the number of names entered in the election register.
Section 19 allows the absence of one or both sets of election judge initials to be the basis of a challenge in a recount if there are not excess ballots in the ballot box. In current law, this cannot be the basis of a challenge.
Section 20 requires excess ballots that will not be counted to be clearly marked as “excess” and attached to a certificate stating the number of excess ballots and reasons they were not counted; both the certificate and the ballots must be sealed in a separate envelope signed by the election judges that is clearly marked “excess ballots.” Tabulation of vote totals from a precinct where excess ballots were removed from the ballot box must be completed by the canvassing board responsible for certifying election results.
Section 21 clarifies that the requirements on how to count ballots apply regardless of the voting system or method of tabulation used by a precinct.
Section 22 requires that a ballot that is spoiled by a voter be clearly marked “spoiled” by an election judge. Spoiled and defective ballots must be placed in designated envelopes, sealed and returned as required by law. A damaged or defective ballot that requires duplication must be handled the same as other duplicated ballots.
Section 23 requires that the number of ballots cast, the number of voter signatures contained in the polling place roster or on voter receipts generated by an electronic roster, and the number of excess ballots removed must be included in the precinct summary statement.
Section 24 provides that after the polls close, the election judges must open the ballot boxes and count the ballots that have been cast to determine that the number of ballots does not exceed the number of voter signatures in the polling place roster or on voter receipts generated from an electronic roster. Election judges cannot count the number of receipts collected as a substitute for counting signatures unless the receipt contains the name, voter identification number, and signature of the voter to whom the receipt was issued. If there are excess ballots, they shall be handled according to the process outlined. The phrase “ballot cards” is changed to “ballots.”
Section 25 requires judges to place all excess ballots in the container provided for transporting them to the counting center.
Section 26 provides an additional exception to the rule that notice of a contest must be served and filed within five or seven days. If data or documents necessary to determine the grounds for a contest are not available prior to the close of the filing period because of an election official’s nonfeasance, malfeasance, or failure to perform a duty, the notice of contest may be served and filed within seven days after the data or document becomes available for inspection.
Section 27 requires that all materials relating to the election be available for inspection to either party before preparing for a trial.
Section 28 clarifies that a political badge, button, or insignia may not be worn at the polling place if it is designed to influence voting for or against a particular candidate, political party, or question on the ballot at that election. Election judges are also authorized to give an “I VOTED” sticker to a person with a voter’s receipt.
Section 29 requires the Secretary of State to report to the chairs and ranking minority members of the House and Senate committees with responsibility for elections by January 15, 2012. The Secretary is required to prepare legislation that would amend matters currently contained in administrative rule as needed to comply with the requirements of this bill. This process is intended to replace the administrative rulemaking process that otherwise would be undertaken by the Secretary upon enactment of the bill.
Section 30 repeals the provision regarding election judges delivering absentee ballots to residential health care facilities providing blank absentee ballot applications to individuals who request one.
ARTICLE 3. ELECTRONIC ROSTERS
Section 1 defines “polling place roster” as the official lists used to record a voter’s appearance in a polling place on election day, including the list of registered voters in the precinct, and the list of voters registering on election day. A polling place roster may be in a printed or electronic format.
Section 2 adds the requirement that a polling place roster that is provided in an electronic format must allow for a printed voter’s receipt with a space for the voter’s original signature. Polling place rosters used on election day must be kept for 36 months, instead of 22.
Section 3, subdivision 1, permits precincts to have two or more computers connected within the precinct to serve as the polling place roster. An electronic roster may only be used if the Secretary of State certifies that the connection to the statewide voter registration system is sufficient to prevent a voter from voting more than once and to prevent unauthorized access.
Subdivision 2. The minimum standards for electronic rosters are provided.
Section 4 requires that the Secretary of State provide a separate polling place roster for each precinct served by a combined polling place unless the precinct uses an electronic roster.
Section 5 adds references to voter’s receipts to the current law on refusal of challenged voters to answer questions or sign a polling place roster.
Section 6 allows a person to register any time before the day that the polling place rosters are finally secured by the Secretary of State for that election. The Secretary of State must notify the county auditors of this date at least seven days before the rosters are secured.
Section 7 begins a new chapter of law, which applies to each designated election official who administers electronic roster systems.
Section 8 defines certain terms to be used in the new chapter related to electronic roster technology.
Section 9 requires the designated election official to establish written procedures related to the electronic transfer of voting information to and from precincts using electronic rosters. Minimum standards for inclusion in the written procedures are provided in the bill, including contingency procedures to address a power or system failure.
Section 10 sets forth the minimum standards for data encryption. Each county is required to submit evidence to the Secretary of State that the county's connection to the statewide voter registration system is sufficiently secure and encrypted.
Section 11 sets the minimum requirements for electronic roster transactions. An electronic roster system connection must contain sufficient bandwidth to process voting transactions quickly.
Section 12 requires the electronic roster application to be tested prior to being used in a live election. Minimum documentation requirements and standards for the testing are provided.
Section 13 requires the county opting to use electronic rosters to allocate computers to precincts based on the total number of registered voters in the precinct. A minimum of two computers must be allocated.
Section 14 sets deadlines for submission of written procedures and reports required by this article to the Secretary of State.
Section 15 creates the Legislative Task Force on Electronic Roster Implementation. Subdivision 1 provides the board is made up of 17 members: 4 legislators; 4 head election judges; 3 county head elections administrators; 1 town head elections administrator; 1 city head elections administrator; 1 experienced in school board election administration; the Secretary of State or designee; the director of information technology in the Office of the Secretary of State; and the Chief Information Officer of the state of Minnesota or designee.
Subdivision 2. The task force must facilitate the development and implementation of electronic rosters. The duties are specified. The task force must submit its report to the legislature no later than December 1, 2011.
Subdivision 3. The first meeting must be no later than July 1, 2011, or within 30 days of enactment, whichever is later. The task force is co-chaired by the member of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House and the member of the Senate appointed by the majority leader of the Senate. Meetings are generally subject to the open meeting laws.
Subdivision 4. Appointments must be made within 21 days of enactment.
Subdivision 5. The task force expires after the submission of the report to the legislature.
This section is effective the day following final enactment.
Section 16 make the effective date August 14, 2012, unless otherwise provided.
ARTICLE 4. RECOUNTS
Section 1 changes cross references to conform to changes made in this bill.
Section 2 provides that the new chapter 204E applies to procedures for the conduct of all automatic and discretionary recounts.
Section 3 provides that the Secretary of State, or designee, is the recount official for recounts conducted by the State Canvassing Board. The county auditor, or designee, is the recount official for recounts conducted by the county canvassing board and must conduct county office recounts. The municipal clerk, or designee, is the recount official for recounts conducted by the municipal governing body. The school district clerk, or designee, is the recount official for recounts conducted by the school board or school district canvassing board.
A recount official may delegate the duty to conduct a recount to the county auditor or municipal clerk if there is mutual consent. When the person who normally serve as the recount official is a candidate, employee, or relative of a candidate for the office to be recounted, the appropriate canvassing board must select a county auditor or municipal clerk from another jurisdiction to conduct the recount.
“Legal advisor” is defined for purposes of the new chapter as counsel to the recount official and canvassing board for the recount.
Section 4 provides that a recount is limited 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 are not within the scope of a recount and may only be examined by a court in an election contest.
Section 5 provides the thresholds and procedures for conducting required and discretionary recounts in federal, state, and judicial elections. For discretionary recounts, the responsibility for the costs is generally put on the candidate requesting the recount.
Section 6 provides the thresholds and procedures for conducting required and discretionary recounts in county, municipal, or school district elections. For discretionary recounts, the responsibility for the costs is generally put on the candidate requesting the recount. Thresholds and procedures for discretionary ballot question recounts are also provided.
Section 7 requires the official in charge of a recount to notify the candidates of the office to be recounted within 24 hours if it is an automatic recount or within 48 hours if it is a discretionary recount. The notice must include the information required by law.
Section 8 requires the official who has custody of voted ballots to keep all election materials secure. Registration cards of voters who registered on election day may be process as required by rule. A candidate for an office to be recounted may have all materials relating to the election inspected before the canvassing board may certify the recount results.
Section 9 requires all recounts to be accessible to the public. Each election jurisdiction where a recount is conducted must make adequate accessible space and all necessary equipment and facilities available without charge to the recount official or body.
Section 10 requires that at the opening of a recount, the recount official or legal adviser shall present the procedures contained in this section. The custodian of the ballots must make available to the recount official the precinct summary statements, the precinct boxes or sealed containers of voted ballots, and any other election materials requested by the recount official. A recount official must be in the room at all times; if the recount official needs to leave the room, he or she must designate a deputy recount official to preside while he or she is absent.
The containers of voted ballots must be unsealed and resealed within public view. No ballots or election materials may be handled by candidates, their representatives, or members of the public. The recount official must arrange the ballot counting so that the candidates and their representatives may observe the ballots as they are recounted. Candidates may each have one representative observe the sorting and one additional representative per candidate may observe the ballots when they are being counted. If other election materials are handled or examined by the recount officials, the candidates and their representatives may observe them. The recount official must prepare a summary of the recount vote by precinct.
There must be an area of the room where the public may observe the recount; cell phones and video cameras may be used in this area as long as it is not disruptive. Candidates may have additional representative in the public viewing area. The recount official must ensure that public observation does not interfere with the counting.
Section 11, subdivision 1, provides that recount officials may not take a break for a meal or for the day until the sorting, counting, reviewing, labeling of challenges, and storing of ballots for any precinct is completed. All challenged ballots must be securely sorted during breaks.
Subdivision 2. Ballots must be recounted by precinct. The recount official must open sealed ballot containers and recount them in accordance with state law principles regarding determining voter intent. The official must review each ballot and put them into piles based on his or her determination as to which candidate the voter intended to vote for. There must be one pile for each candidate and one pile for all other ballots.
Subdivision 3. During the sorting, a candidate or candidate representative may challenge a ballot if he or she disagrees with the recount officials’ determination on the intent and whether there are identifying marks on the ballot. At a ballot question recount, the manner in which the ballot is counted may be challenged by a person who requested the recount or that person’s representative. Challenges cannot be automatic or frivolous and the challenger must state the basis for the challenge. Challenged ballots must be placed into separate piles, one for ballots challenged by each candidate. Only the canvassing board with responsibility to certify results has the authority to declare a challenge frivolous.
Subdivision 4. Once ballots have been sorted, the recount officials must count the piles using the stacking method. A candidate or candidate representative may immediate request to have a pile of 25 counted a second time if there is not agreement as to the number of votes in the pile.
Subdivision 5. After the ballots from a precinct have been counted, the recount official may review the challenged ballot with the candidate or representative. The representative may choose to withdraw any challenges made. The back of each remaining challenged ballot must be marked to include the precinct name, reason for the challenge, and name of challenger or candidate he or she represents, and a sequential number; then they are placed in an envelope marked “Challenged Ballots.” After the vote count for the precinct has been determined, all ballots except the challenged ballots must be resealed in ballot envelopes and returned with the other election materials to the custodian. The recount officials may make copies of challenged ballots. After the precinct counts have been determined during that day of counting, the challenged ballot envelope must be sealed and kept secure.
Section 12, subdivision 1, requires the recount official to present the summary statement of the recount and any challenged ballots to the canvassing board. The candidate or representative who made the challenge may present the basis of the challenge to the canvassing board. The canvassing board must rule on the challenged ballots and incorporate their results into the summary statement. The board certifies the results other recount. Challenged ballots must be returned to the election official who has custody of the ballots.
Subdivision 2. In the case of a tie vote, the canvassing board responsible for declaring the results shall determine the tie by lot.
Section 13 requires that when a bond, cash, or surety for recount expenses is required, the governing body or recount official must set the amount of this security deposit if at an amount that will cover expected recount expenses. The security deposit must be filed during the period for requesting an administrative recount. In determining the expenses of the recount, only the actual recount expenditures incurred may be included; general office and operating costs may not be included.
Section 14 provides instructions to the Revisor to make necessary cross-reference changes.
Section 15 repeals the following section that have to do with recounts: 204C.34 (tie votes), 204C.35 (federal, state, and judicial race recounts), 204C.36 (county, school district, and municipal election recounts), and 204C.361 (rules for recounts).
Section 16 provides the effective date of June 1, 2011 and applies to recounts conducted on or after that date.
ARTICLE 5. TITLE; SEVERABILITY; APPROPRIATIONS.
Section 1 provides that the bill is known as "The 21st Century Voting Act."
Section 2 provides that all provisions are severable.
Section 3 provides appropriations to the following:
Commissioner of Administration: $100,000 in fiscal year 2012 and $1,200,000 in fiscal year 2013 from the general fund, and $1,000,000 from the Help America Vote Act account. These are one time appropriations for use in implementing the public education campaign required in Article 1;
Secretary of State: $950,000 in fiscal year 2012 from the Help America Vote Act account for information technology cots associated with implementing electronic rosters as provided in Article 3, and $500,000 in fiscal year 2012 from the Help America Vote Act account for implementation of all other requirements; and
Commissioner of Management and Budget, for transfer to the state subsidized identification card account: $75,000 in fiscal year 2012 and $1,033,000 from the general fund. The base appropriation is $215,000 in fiscal year 2014 and each year after.