New Minnesota Absentee Ballot Box Rules in Place for 2021 Mayoral Election


Minnesota will implement new security measures for absentee ballot boxes in the 2021 municipal election.

Cities and counties should have 24-hour video surveillance of drop boxes, boxes should be bolted to a building or immovable object, and workers should collect ballots at least once a day. business day.

Until now, Minnesota had virtually no requirements for drop boxes. This raised questions in the 2020 general election, when a record 1.9 million Minnesotans voted absent, although no drop-box fraud was reported to the secretary of state’s office.

“The system worked. It just worked thanks to the creativity and ingenuity of the local governments that existed in a sort of Wild West situation with few standards written in law,” Secretary of State Steve said. Simon in an interview.

state legislators reached a last minute budget deal at the end of June which included the regulations on drop boxes. The legislation also provides $ 2 million in grants to cities and counties for the purchase of tamper-proof video recording systems and equipment.

The changes will not affect the closely watched Minneapolis municipal election in November, as the city has no plans to use 24-hour drop boxes, said Katie Lauer, supervisor of city administration. elections.

Instead, Minneapolis had 12 fully staffed drop-off points for the 2020 general election and will have at least one open when early voting begins on September 17, she said.

“We have opted for the security of the presence of our staff so that they can also answer any questions from voters or ensure that they see their ballot in the hands of an electoral official,” said Lauer in an interview.

In Minneapolis, more than 42,000 people used drop-off points to vote last year, representing nearly 19% of 238,000 votes cast to general 2020.

Election administrators across the state have inundated the Secretary of State’s office with questions about how to handle drop boxes in 2020, with absentee votes high during the COVID-19 pandemic. Administrators used best practices developed in other states without national standards in Minnesota, Simon said.

“I think these new standards will make drop boxes safer and perhaps more importantly, they will increase our already high confidence in our electoral system,” he said.

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