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S.F. No. 514 - Elections Omnibus Bill (2017 Minnesota Session Laws, Chapter 92)
 
Author: Senator Mary Kiffmeyer
 
Prepared By: Alexis C. Stangl, Senate Counsel (651/296-4397)
 
Date: June 8, 2017



 

Article 1.  Election Administration

Section 1.  Leave of absence without pay.  Any appointed officer or employee of a local government who is elected to an Indian tribal council in Minnesota is entitled to an unpaid leave of absence when performing work for the tribal council.

Sections 2 and 3 make changes to conform to section 1.

Section 4. Use of electronic access data.  Allows the sharing of electronic access data with a federal law enforcement agency.

Sections 5 to 7 add conforming cross-references in the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

Section 8. Appointments to fill vacancies; special elections.  If a school board vacancy is filled by a special election, the person that wins the election takes office immediately after receiving the certificate of election, filing the bond, and taking the oath of office.

Section 9.  Original signature.  Specifies that original signatures are not electronic signatures.

Section 10. Entry of registration information. Modifies the deadline for county auditors to enter new voter registration information into the statewide voter registration system after an election. Under current law, counties must upload the data within 42 days of the election, but may receive an indefinite extension upon notification to the secretary of state. This section would allow for a 28-day extension after the initial 42-day deadline, and allows the secretary of state to waive the deadline if, on good cause shown, the county shows a permanent inability to comply. The status of each county’s compliance with this section must be posted on the secretary of state’s website.

Section 11. Postelection sampling. Each county auditor must report the following to the secretary of state:  the total number of post-election notices that were returned as nondeliverable; the total number of the nondeliverable notices for which the county auditor could find the reason for the return; and the number individuals for whom the county auditor does not receive or obtain satisfactory proof of an individual's eligibility to vote.  In turn, the secretary of state must compile this information and report it to the legislature by March 1 of every odd-numbered year. This report must show the numbers for each precinct and for each county.     

Section 12. 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 daily or monthly.  Monthly reports must include a complete list of each individual under the reporting entity’s jurisdiction.                  

Subd. 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 must prepare a list of those registrants for the county auditor. Then the county auditor challenges the voters in the statewide voter registration system.

Subd. 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 the data newly indicates that any person on the report is registered to vote and must prepare a list of those registrants for the county auditor. Then the county auditor challenges the voters in the statewide voter registration system. The county auditor must also notify the county attorney of any individual that voted or registered to vote while his or her right to vote is revoked.

Subd. 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 must prepare a list of those registrants for the county auditor. Then the county auditor removes the challenge in the statewide voter registration system.

Subd. 5.  Commissioner of public safety report.  The commissioner of public safety must report on individuals identified by the department data as having a temporary lawful status. Within seven days of receiving a report, the secretary of state must determine if the data newly indicates that any person on the report is registered to vote and must prepare a list of those registrants for the county auditor. Then the county auditor challenges the voters in the statewide voter registration system.  The county auditor must also immediately notify the county attorney that the individual is a noncitizen and is registered to vote.

Section 13.  Write-in candidates.  The deadline for accepting requests to count write-in votes is specified to be 5 p.m. on the last day to file the request.

Section 14. Notice to voters.  Fixes an incorrect cross-reference.

Section 15. Appointment of election judges. Expands the current list of potential election judges that major political parties submit to the secretary of state, by requiring the list to include those willing to travel outside of their home jurisdiction to serve as an election judge. Appointment of election judges from the list of those willing to travel is permitted only after the list of those potential election judges residing in each precinct is exhausted.

Section 16. Volunteer service; election judge travel. Clarifies that a local government is not required to pay travel expenses for an election judge who resides out of the jurisdiction, if the judge was appointed

Section 17. “I VOTED” stickers. Authorizes and clarifies the use of “I VOTED” stickers, including for absentee voters and voters in vote-by-mail precincts.

Section 18.  Permanent registration; verification of registration. Whenever a challenge appears on the polling place roster, the challenge must be concealed from the view of any voter other than the voter whose status is challenged.

Section 19.  Manner of challenging.  An election judge or authorized challenger may challenge an individual based on personal knowledge.

Sections 20 and 21.  State Canvass.  The State Canvassing Board is required to meet at a public meeting space located in the capitol complex area, instead of at the secretary of state’s office. Section 20 is for canvassing state primary elections and section 21 is for canvassing state general elections.

Section 22. Results. Allows a city to canvass primary election results on either the second or third day after the primary.

Section 23.  Date of election.  The decision to change city elections from an even-numbered year to an odd-numbered year (or vice versa) must be made at least 180 days before the first day to file for office in the next municipal election.

Section 24.  Vacancies in school district offices.  Fixes an incorrect cross-reference.

Section 25. Contracts required. Requires the secretary of state to establish a state contract for electronic roster equipment.

Section 26.  Form of presidential ballots.  Deletes obsolete language and makes conforming changes.

Section 27. Soliciting near polling places. Provides a conforming reference to changes related to “I VOTED” stickers made earlier in this article.

Section 28. Establishment. Makes a conforming change to a cross-reference.

Section 29. Repealer. Repeals sections 201.15 (district judge, report guardianships and commitments); 201.155 (report on felony convictions); 201.157 (use of department of corrections data); and 201.158 (use of department of public safety data).

Section 30. Effective date. This article is effective July 1, 2017.

Article 2.  Uniform Election Dates

This article establishes five uniform dates throughout the year for local elections.

Sections 1 to 6 make conforming and technical changes.

Section 7.  Special election.  A special election is defined to be an election held for a special purpose on one of the uniform election dates.

Section 8. Authority; location. Requires counties and municipalities to establish polling place by December 31 for the following year. Polling places may only be changed due to an emergency, if a polling place is unavailable, or for a March township election.

Section 9 makes a conforming change.

Section 10.  Uniform election dates.  A special election in a city or town must be held on one of the following dates:  the second Tuesday in February, the second Tuesday in April, the second Tuesday in May, the second Tuesday in August (state primary date), or the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November (general election date). A special primary election must be held on a uniform date. A special election may only be held on a different date if it is held in response to an emergency or disaster.

Section 11 to 12 make conforming changes.

Section 13. Uniform election dates.  A special election in a school district must be held on one of the following dates:  the second Tuesday in February, the second Tuesday in April, the second Tuesday in May, the second Tuesday in August (state primary date), or the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November (general election date). A special primary election must be held on a uniform date. A special election may only be held on a different date if it is held in response to an emergency or disaster.

Section 14. Combined polling place. When there is a stand-alone school district election, the school district may consolidate polling places. The combined polling places must be designated by December 31 of each year. Polling places may only be changed due to an emergency or if a polling place is unavailable. If the school district combines polling places, the polling places must be throughout the district and be at a location currently used as a polling place.

Sections 15 to 25 make conforming changes.

Section 26. Repealer. Repeals section 205.10, subdivision 3 (special election dates).

Section 27.  Effective date. This article is effective on January 1, 2018, and applies to elections held on or after that date.

Article 3.  County Offices

This article provides special authorization for named individual counties to appoint certain officers, as follows:  Morrison County, Recorder (Sec. 1); Benton County, Recorder (Sec. 2); Pine County, Auditor-Treasurer (Sec. 3); Stearns County, Recorder (Sec. 4); Marshall County, Recorder (Sec. 5); and Rice County, Auditor-Treasurer and Recorder (Sec. 6). The process for each county is the same and is follows:

Subdivision 1. Authorization to make office appointive. The county may adopt a resolution to appoint the specified office instead of electing a person to the office.

Subd. 2. Board controls; may change as long as duties done. Requires the duties of an office made appointive to be discharged by the county board acting through a department head. Allows for reorganization, delegation, and administrative changes and specifies that any change does not diminish, prohibit, or avoid discharge of statutory duties.

Subd. 3. Incumbents to complete term. Requires that the person elected to the position be allowed to complete his or her term.

Subd. 4. Publishing resolution; petition, referendum. Requires the county board to publish notice of the proposal to make the office an appointed in the official newspaper of the county and the official newspaper of each city in the county. The county board must hold two hearings on the matter, one during the day and one in the evening. The resolution must be approved by at least 80 percent of the members of the board and takes effect after 30 days, unless a later date is provided in the resolution. If a sufficient petition requesting a referendum signed by at least five percent of the registered voters in the county and filed within 30 days after the adoption of the resolution, the resolution is rescinded.

Subd. 5. Reverting to elected offices. Prohibits the board from reverting to elected offices within three years after making the positions appointed. After notice and a hearing, the county board may adopt by a resolution to revert if approved by at least 60 percent of the board, effective on August 1 following the adoption. The question of whether to revert to elected offices must be placed on the ballot for the next general election if the position has been appointed for at least three years; a petition signed by 10 percent of the registered voters in the county is submitted, and the petition is sufficient. If a majority of voters voting on the question vote in favor of reverting to electing the offices, elections for that office must be held at the next regular or special election.

Subd. 4 and 5.  Reflect corrections made by 2017 session laws, chapter 99, sections 5 to 10. 

Effective date. Each section is effective the day following local approval.

 
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