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Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions
Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library
Voting Machine Commission
Also known as:
Minnesota Voting Machine Commission
Function: Inspects and approves voting machines for use in Minnesota elections.
The Minnesota Voting Machine Commission was established in 1905 (Laws 1905 c267 s3) to inspect and approve voting machines for use in elections. Upon application from any interested party, the commission examined a representative sample of the type of machine in question and reported on its compliance with legal requirements and on its "accuracy, durability, efficiency, and capacity to register the will of the electors." Inspection and approval by the commission was required before machines of a given type could be used at elections in Minnesota. The use of voting machines in Minnesota elections had been authorized by the legislature first in 1897 (Laws 1897 c296) and again in 1899 (Laws 1899 c315). However, between 1897 and 1905 the county commissioners for each county controlled the regulation and use of voting machines. The commission as initially established was composed of the attorney general as chairman, a member appointed by the attorney general, and a member appointed by the governor. The appointed members, who served four-year terms, were to be master mechanics or graduates of a school of mechanical engineering. The commission's reports were submitted to the secretary of state. In 1959 all laws applying to the Minnesota Voting Commission and voting machines were repealed and a new law was passed (Laws 1959 c675 art7, art13 s1). In 1967 the commission also was authorized to license electronic voting systems for experimental use (Laws 1967 c437 s5). Later, the attorney general was given authority to adopt regulations relating to general use of approved electronic voting machines (Laws 1969 c755 s2). In 1973 the commission was placed with the secretary of state, who assumed the duties and responsibilities formerly held by the attorney general with respect to voting machines (Laws 1973 c215 s1). In 1975 the commission was abolished altogether and its powers and duties assigned exclusively to the secretary of state (Laws 1975 c61 s3).
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