HAVA mandate for townships


A new law delays an election mandate for townships by two years.

SSHF2/SSSF3* exempts townships from having a voting system accessible to disabled voters, including visually impaired, by the 2008 elections. The mandate was part of the Help America Vote Act enacted in 2005.

Under the law, townships must have a system in place for any election after Dec. 31, 2009.

The law was approved 128-2 by the House and 63-0 by the Senate Sept. 11.

Rep. Gene Pelowski Jr. (DFL-Winona) said action on the bill was needed during the special session because township elections are scheduled for March 2008, and that some jurisdictions may not be in a position to fulfill the estimated statewide $1.6 million mandate.

Asked to carry the bill by Senate sponsor Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope), Pelowski gave credit to Rep. Bill Hilty (DFL-Finlayson), Rep. Bud Heidgerken (R-Freeport) and House Minority Leader Marty Seifert (R-Marshall), who have been working to address the issues as it relates to townships.

“We expect to have a more comprehensive bill to present to the Legislature when it convenes in February,” Hilty said.