Anticipating an Evil Which May Never Exist: Minnesota's Anachronistic Identifying Mark Statute
William Mitchell College of Law
William Mitchell Law Review, Vol. 35, No. 1, 2009
William Mitchell Legal Studies Research Paper
In the aftermath of the 2008 senatorial election race in Minnesota, several election laws were scrutinized by the public and state officials. Specifically, Minnesota statute 204C.22 was attacked; this statute voids ballots containing "identifying" or "distingushing" marks made in such a way as to make it evident that "the voter intended to identify the ballot". Secretary of State Ritchie proposed narrowing the scope of the identifying mark statutes, and though legislation was introduced in the state legislature, it was not adopted. The existence of these legislative initiatives makes it appropriate to examine the history of statutes prohibiting identifying marks, the policies undergirding them, and how they have been utilized in recent and distant Minnesota history. This article discusses all of these things and concludes by examining whether the Secretary of State’s recommendations are needed, or whether the statutes should simply be repealed. Advances in technology have made the process followed in applying these statutes accessible to an unprecedented extent, and the processes followed in the United States Senate recount will be closely examined.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25
Keywords: Norm Coleman, Al Franken, Dean Barkley, 2008 Senate election, senate race, contested election, election judges, election referees, Mark Ritchie, election reform, identifying mark, distinguishing mark, identify ballot, invalid ballot, voter marksAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 10, 2011
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