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Absentee ballot board creation

Published (3/4/2010)
By Patty Ostberg
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Cities, municipalities and school districts would be required to establish a board to examine absentee ballots, under a bill approved March 2 by the House State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee.

Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley), who sponsors HF3111, said it would “ensure that absentee ballots and applications are treated equally across the state.”

A board would be required to accept or reject absentee ballots based on several factors including: the voter’s name and address on the return envelope match information provided on the application; the voter signed the certification on the envelope; the voter’s driver’s license, state identification number or the last four digits of their Social Security number match that provided on the application; and the voter has not already voted in that election.

The Office of the Secretary of State would report to the Legislature every two years statistics related to the state’s absentee ballots, such as the number of ballots sent and received by voters, and the number rejected and reasons why.

In the 2008 election 12,000 absentee ballots were rejected and two of those improperly, Winkler said. The U.S. Senate recount highlighted the state’s need to create a process that accepts and rejects absentee ballots, Winkler added.

Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) said the bill gives accuracy and transparency in the processing of ballots.

The bill now goes to the House floor. A companion, SF2622, sponsored by Sen. Katie Sieben (DFL-Newport), awaits action by the full Senate.

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