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Election recounts and reviews (new law)

Published (5/30/2008)
By Brian Hogenson
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Regulations for write-in absentee ballots, recounts and corrections to a funds transfer are included in a new elections law, sponsored by Rep. Bill Hilty (DFL-Finlayson) and Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope).

A provision effective for elections held after June 1, 2008, allows voters to use a state or federal write-in absentee ballot to vote in any federal, state or local election. In a state or local election, a vote for a political party without specifying the name of a candidate will not be counted.

The 2007 omnibus state government finance law permitted the secretary of state to transfer at least $310,000 from its General Fund appropriation to the Help America Vote Act. Effective May 17, 2008, an amount sufficient to meet federal requirements for interest payments and the additional state match required by the Help America Vote Act can be transferred.

Other provisions in the law, effective Aug. 1, 2008, include:

establishing that recounts taking effect in a state primary or general election when the difference between the votes cast is less than one-half of 1 percent of the total number of votes counted for the nomination; or is 10 votes or less and the total number of votes cast for the nomination is 400 votes of less, must be done manually; and

updates to language whereby a candidate can request a partial recount to be conducted at their expense. The law permits a candidate to identify up to three specific precincts in which the partial recount is to be conducted. If the partial recount overturns the result of the election, the candidate will be refunded the expense of the recount.


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