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S.F. No. 1225 - Voter Challenges; Notice of Challenge; Provisional Ballots
 
Author: Senator Mary Kiffmeyer
 
Prepared By: Alexis C. Stangl, Senate Counsel (651/296-4397)
 
Date: February 21, 2017



 

S.F. No. 1225 consolidates reporting requirements on reports received from court administrator, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Public Safety. Notice must be sent to an individual who is challenged and the individual has an opportunity to contest that provision.  Voters who have a status challenge on Election Day cannot cast a regular ballot but are allowed to cast a provisional ballot.

Sections 1, 2, and 3 update cross-references to reflect changes made later in the bill.

Section 4.  Personal knowledge.  Provides a definition of personal knowledge.

Section 5.  Public information lists.  The public information list must indicate each voter whose status is challenged in the statewide voter registration system and the reason for the challenge.

Section 6.  Reports on guardianships, legal incompetence, felony convictions, and citizenship; status changes.  This section consolidates various reporting requirements by which the court administrator, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Public Safety provide data to the secretary of state.

Subdivision 1.  Report requirements.  Required reports must be submitted electronically to the secretary of state at least monthly.  Reports must include a complete list of each individual under the reporting entity’s jurisdiction.

Subdivision 2.  State court administrator report.  The state court administrator must report on individuals 17 years of age or older who are under guardianship whose right to vote has been revoked or who are legally incompetent to vote.  Within seven days of receiving a report, the secretary of state must determine if any person on the report is registered to vote and is not already challenged; if so, the individual’s status in the statewide voter registration must be challenged.

Subdivision 3.  Commissioner of corrections report; state court administrator report.  The state court administrator must report on individuals who have been convicted of a felony. The commissioner of corrections must report on individuals 17 years of age or older who are currently serving a felony sentence or are on probation for a felony offense. Within seven days of receiving a report, the secretary of state must determine if any person on the report is registered to vote and is not already challenged; if so, the individual’s status in the statewide voter registration must be challenged. The secretary of state must also identify any individual on either report that voted or registered to vote while his or her right to vote is revoked; the secretary of state must report these people to the county attorney.

Subdivision 4.  Reports; restoration of right to vote.  The state court administrator must report on each individual whose right to vote has been restored. The commissioner of corrections must report on each individual who has been discharged from a sentence. Within seven days of receiving a report, the secretary of state must determine if any person on the report is registered to vote and has a challenged status; if so, the challenge in the statewide voter registration must be removed.

Subdivision 5.  Commissioner of public safety report.  The commissioner of public safety must report on individuals identified by the department data as noncitizens. Within seven days of receiving a report, the secretary of state must determine if any person on the report is registered to vote and is not already challenged; if so, the individual’s status in the statewide voter registration must be challenged. The secretary of state must also immediately notify the county attorney that the individual is a noncitizen and is registered to vote.

Subdivision 6.  Notice of challenge.  Within seven days of changing the status of a voter, the secretary of state must mail a notice to that person. The notice must include:  a statement that the voter’s status was challenged or a challenge was removed; the reason for that change; a copy of the information provided by the entity that was the basis for the status change; and how to contest the change in status.

Section 7.  Contesting a challenge.  An individual whose status was challenged pursuant to section 1 has the right to contest that challenge by filing a petition with the entity who provided the basis for the challenge.  The petition must state the basis for the contest and include any supporting documents. The petitioner may request a review meeting.  Within seven days, the entity must review the petition and the data provided to the secretary of state.  If a meeting is requested, the meeting must be scheduled within 14 days.  The entity must then determine if the data is accurate or should be changed.  If no change is required, the entity must notify the individual.  If the entity determines that the data must be changed, the entity must promptly notify the individual and the secretary of state.  The secretary of state must remove the challenged status.  If an individual disagrees with the decision, the individual may appeal to the district court.

Section 8.  Permanent registration; verification of registration.  An election judge must confirm a voter’s name, address, and date of birth before the voter signs the roster. A voter whose registration status is challenged must not be allowed to sign the roster unless the challenge is resolved.  If the challenge is not resolved, the voter may cast a provisional ballot.

Section 9.  Manner of challenging.  An election judge or authorized challenger may challenge an individual based on personal knowledge.

Section 10.  Determination of residence.  If an individual’s answers to questions regarding residence do not show that the individual is eligible to vote and the challenge is not withdrawn, the individual may cast a provisional ballot.

Section 11.  Provisional ballots.  Provisional ballots are authorized and related requirements are imposed.

Subdivision 1.  Casting provisional ballots.  A voter whose status is challenged, and the challenge is not resolved, may cast a provisional ballot.  The voter must sign a provisional ballot roster and complete a provisional ballot envelope, which includes the voter’s name, address, date of birth, and voter ID number.  The voter must swear or affirm that he or she is eligible to vote and has not already voted.  The voter may then complete a provisional ballot, which is the same format as the official ballot.  The completed ballot is sealed in a secrecy envelope, which is then sealed in the provisional ballot envelop. The envelope is placed into a separate ballot box.

Subdivision 2.  Counting provisional ballots.  Within seven days after the election, a voter who casts a provisional ballot may appear in person before the county auditor or municipal clerk to prove that the voter’s provisional ballot should be counted.  If a voter does not appear or does not satisfactorily prove that the ballot should be counted, the provisional ballot must not be counted. The county auditor or municipal clerk must notify any voter whose ballot was not counted because the voter did not appear.

Subdivision 3.  Provisional ballots; reconciliation.  Before counting provisional ballots, the county auditor must verify that that the number of signatures on the provisional ballot roster is equal or greater than the number of accepted provisional ballots.  Any discrepancy is resolved in the same manner as other ballots.

Section 12.  Violations; penalty.  It is a felony for a person to misrepresent his or her identity in requesting a provisional ballot or requesting a provisional ballot to be counted.

Section 13.  Establishment.  Updates a cross-reference to reflect changes made earlier in the bill.

Section 14.  Repealer.  Repeals sections that have been replaced with provisions in this bill.

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