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36 William Mitchell Law Review 45 (2009)


In the aftermath of the 2008 senatorial election race in Minnesota, several election laws were scrutinized by state officials and the public. Specifically, Minnesota statute 204C.22 was attacked; this statute voids ballots containing "identifying" or "distinguishing" 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by examining whether the Secretary of State’s recommendations are needed, or whether the statutes should simply be repealed.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.