Qualifications with regards to elections include: ◦ Election Coordinator with the Cass County Auditor’s office since July 2006 ◦ CERA – Certified Election/Registration Administrator Certification earned through The Election Center (National Association of Election Officials) A Program of continuing professional education specializing in election administration. The professions highest designation and honored as the most outstanding continuing education program in America by the National University Continuing Education Association. ◦ The only CERA graduate in the state of North Dakota as of 2014.
Annual Elections ◦ Complying with filing deadlines ◦ Preparing ballots ◦ Managing Absentees ◦ Coordinating/managing polling locations ◦ Collection of ballots ◦ Certifying the Election ◦ Ties/contested elections ◦ Swearing in elected officials Reasons under law for holding school district elections How to conduct a school bond or special election Compliance with the Corrupt Practices Act
The sample forms provided in the presentation are in no way meant to demonstrate what must be used for your election. They are simply provided as a guide to assist you in determining what works best for you in administering your elections and collecting the data necessary from your candidates, election workers, etc.
April 1-June 30, 2015 ◦ The board of a school district shall hold an election each year between April first and June thirtieth to fill all vacancies, including those caused by the expiration of terms of office. (NDCC 15.1-09-22) ◦ Election is typically held the second Tuesday in June which for 2015 would be June 9, 2015.
March 7, 2015 ◦ Thirty days before the filing deadline for candidate names to be printed on the ballot, an official notice of this deadline must be published in the official newspaper of the city or county. (NDCC 15.1-09-09) ◦ The filing deadline is 64 days before the election – April 6, 2015 ◦ Determine ahead of time what the newpaper’s deadline for submission is in order to meet that 30 day deadline. This may need to be submitted to the paper at least 10 days before you want it published.
April 6, 2015 ◦ An individual seeking election to the board of a school district shall prepare & sign a document stating the individual’s name and the position for which that individual is a candidate. ◦ The candidate shall also file a statement of interests as required by section 16.1-09-02…the documents must be filed with the school district business manager, or mailed to and in the possession of the business manager, by four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day before the election. (NDCC 15.1-09-08)
Filing Papers ◦ Signed document stating the individual’s name & the position for which that individual is a candidate. Can use the Affidavit of Candidacy (SFN 2703) that is used for County/State candidates. Other school districts have created their own form to use. ◦ Statement of Interests (SFN 10172)
April 30, 2015 ◦ At least forty days before the election, the business manager shall prepare and cause to be printed, or otherwise uniformly reproduced, an official ballot containing the names of all individuals who have indicated their intent to be candidates by meeting the provisions of section 15.1-09-08. (NDCC 12.1-09-11) April 24, 2015 ◦ For UOCAVA voters (Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Voting Act) ballots must be available forty-six days before the election. ◦ Absentee ballots must be available in any school district election in accordance with chapter 16.1-07.
May 5, 2015 ◦ At least thirty-five days prior to the annual election, the board of each school district shall designate one or more precincts for the election. The board shall arrange the precincts in a way that divides the electors of the district as equally as possible. (NDCC 15.1-09-13 (1)) ◦ At least thirty-five days prior to the annual election, the board of each school district shall designate one or more polling places for the election. The board shall locate the polling places as conveniently as possible for the voters in the precinct. Once established by the board, a polling place must remain a polling place for a precinct until it is changed by subsequent action of the board.
May 26, 2015 ◦ At least fourteen days before the date of an annual or special school district election, the school board shall publish a notice in the official newspaper of the district stating the time and place of the election and the purpose of the vote. (NDCC 15.1- 09-09)
June 9, 2015 – Election Day ◦ School Board Election June 15, 2015 ◦ On the sixth day after the election, the school board shall meet to canvass all election returns & shall declare the results of the election. (NDCC 15.1-09- 15)
June 16-18, 2015 ◦ Within three days after the canvass by the school board for a school district election, the business manager of the school district shall provide to each elected individual written notice of the individual’s election and the duty to take an affirmation or oath of office. (NDCC 15.1-09-17)
June 16-25, 2015 ◦ Within ten days after the canvass by the school board, the business manager shall certify the individuals elected & their terms to the county superintendent of schools. (NDCC 15.1-09-25) ◦ An individual elected as a member of or appointed to a school board shall take and file with the school district business manager an affirmation or oath of office within ten days after receiving notice of the election or appointment and before commencing duties. (NDCC 15.1-09-25)
After all candidates have filed to be placed on the ballot, the business manager shall notify the candidates as to the time & place of the drawing for position on the ballot. The ballot must be nonpartisan in form & include: ◦ The words “official ballot” at the top; ◦ The name of the school district; ◦ The date of the election; ◦ The number of persons to be elected to each office; and ◦ Below the list of candidates for each office, blank spaces in which names not printed on the ballot may be written. (NDCC 15.1-09-11)
Measures on the ballot ◦ Every two years, at the time of a school districts’ annual election of board members, the electors of the district shall determine whether a record of the board proceedings must be published in the official newspaper of the district…..A vote to approve the publication is effective for a period of two years or until disapproved at a succeeding school district election. (NDCC 15.1-09- 31) Keep this question consistent from election to election if possible. ◦ For other measures such as bond resolutions or excess levys, you should consult your school district’s attorney.
As we said in a previous slide, absentee ballots must be available in any school district election in accordance with chapter 16.1-07. According to this chapter, absentee ballots must be available to voters at least 40 days before any election. ◦ For UOCAVA voters (Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act), absentee ballots must be available 46 days before any election.
Please use SFN 51468 as prescribed by the secretary of state for the absentee application. This form is available on the ND Secretary of State’s website. Go to www.vote.nd.gov.www.vote.nd.gov See NDCC 16.1-07-06 for more information on the Application form and what it must contain. Voting an absentee ballot is the only time someone can vote without an approved ID. ◦ If the applicant does not possess an approved form of ID as provided under subsection 1 of section 16.1-05-07, the application also must be signed by another qualified elector who, by signing, certifies that the applicant is a qualified elector.
According to NDCC 16.1-07-08, when mailing ballots to those who have applied, you must include a secrecy envelope and return envelope with the ballot. ◦ In providing a secrecy envelope, this allows the voted ballot to be separated from the outer envelope without the election judges seeing how that person voted. The front of the return envelope must bear the official title & post-office address of the officer supplying the voter with the ballot (business manager) and on the other side a printed voter’s affidavit. (Please see NDCC 16.1-07-08 subsection 2 for the details of the affidavit) ◦ The following slides show the envelopes that Cass County uses for absentee ballots to give you an idea of how to lay everything out.
Upon receipt of an envelope containing the absent voter’s ballot, you must immediately attach the application of the absent voter & file the ballot with the other absentee ballots for the school district. If you only have one precinct for the election, you would simply file them alphabetically. If you have multiple precincts, you can send the voted ballots out to each respective precinct to be counted by those election boards. If you only have one precinct, you can choose to have one polling location process the absentee ballots, or you can choose to appoint an election board for a special precinct for purpose of counting all absentee ballots for the entire school district.
If you send the voted ballots to one or more precincts or polling locations, the ballots must be packaged in a manner so the ballots are sealed securely. The package must be endorsed with the name of the proper voting precinct (if applicable), the name & official title of the officer, and the words “This package contains an absent voter’s ballot and must be opened only according to the processing provisions of section 16.1-07-12.”
At any time during election day, the election clerks & board members of the relevant polling place should first compare the signature on the application for the absent voter’s ballot with the signature on the voter’s affidavit on the return envelope provided for in section 16.1-07-08 to ensure the signatures correspond. If the applicant (voter) is then a duly qualified elector of the school district and has not voted at the election, the board shall open the absent voter’s envelope, being careful not to destroy the affidavit on the back. The clerk will indicate in the pollbook of the election that the elector voted.
They will then take out the secrecy envelope containing the ballot. ◦ They should NOT remove the ballot from the secrecy envelope at this time. We typically have them compare signatures and remove the secrecy envelopes for all the absentees received before moving on to the next step. This helps to maintain the secrecy of the voter’s ballot. The next step will be to remove the ballots from the secrecy envelopes, unfold & initial the same, and deposit in the ballot box for tabulation.
The votes from these cast ballots cannot be tallied until polls have closed on election day! After polls close, they are tallied with the rest of the voted ballot from election day. If the there is reason to reject the ballot due to the signatures on the application and affidavit not matching, the affidavit not being signed or the applicant is not a qualified elector of the school district, the ballot may not be counted. ◦ Without opening the absente voter’s envelope, the board member should mark across the face of the envelope “rejected as defective” or “rejected as not an elector” as the case may be. These rejected ballots are turned over to the canvassing board for final determination of eligibility.
Election workers ◦ For school board elections not held in conjunction with county elections, the board shall appoint two election judges & two election clerks for each polling place. Before opening the polls, the judges & clerks shall take an affirmation or oath to perform their duties according to law & to the best of their ability. The affirmation or oath may be administered by any officer authorized to administer oaths or by any of the judges or clerks. ◦ For school board elections held in conjuction with county elections, the county election boards shall administer the election in the same manner as the county or state election.
Election Workers ◦ Instruction must be provided to the election workers with regards to procedures they must follow including: State Law with regards to: Duties Voter eligibility & ID requirements Ballot handling, etc. Paperwork that must be completed: Pollbooks Required forms such as ballot certification, results certification, etc.
Election Workers ◦ You can choose to have a training session prior to Election Day, or have a short training meeting prior to the opening of polls on Election Day. ◦ You can choose to send out the “Election Officials Manual” to your election workers ahead of time and require them to read it so they are familiar with the laws that apply to them in performing their duties. This will reduce the amount of time necessary for training.
From NDCC 16.1-05-02 (3): ◦ I do solemnly swear (or affirm as the case may be), that I will perform the duties of inspector, judge, or clerk (as the case may be) according to law and to the best of my ability, and that I will studiously endeavor to prevent fraud, deceit, and abuse in conducting the same.
Compensation of election officers ◦ The county auditors shall pay at least the state minimum wage to the relevant election officials. Members of the election board & poll clerks who attend training sessions provided by section 16.1-05-03 must be paid at least the state minimum wage for hours in attendance in the session in addition to necessary expenses & mileage … Members of election boards who attend the training sessions provided by section 16.1-05-03 must be paid at least twenty-five percent more than the state minimum wage during the time spent in the performance of their election duties. (NDCC 16.1-05-05) ◦ Minimum wage is currently $7.25 thus members of the election board who attend training must be paid at least $9.06 per hour during the time spent in the performance of their duties.
Polling Hours ◦ The school board shall determine the time at which polls must open and close for school district elections. Polls may open at any time after seven (7) a.m. and must be open by eleven (11) a.m. Polls must remain open until seven (7) p.m. and may remain open until eight (8) p.m. In Fargo school district elections, polls must open and close at the times required for city elections. (NDCC 15.1-09- 12) ◦ It is best for voters to keep the polling hours consistent from election to election.
Pollbooks ◦ School districts can use the pollbook found on the ND Department of Public Instruction’s website at http://www.dpi.state.nd.us/forms/pollbook.pdf. http://www.dpi.state.nd.us/forms/pollbook.pdf ◦ Samples of this form are on the following slides.
The next slide is an example of the preprinted pollbooks that are used throughout the counties in North Dakota. It would be relatively simple to create something similar using a spreadsheet program such as Excel so that you are sure the clerks are recording the information that is required in state law which includes: ◦ Complete legal name; ◦ Complete residential address; ◦ Complete mailing address, if different that residential; ◦ ID number (if using Driver’s License, Non-Driver’s ID or Tribal ID)
Supplies – What will the Election Workers need for Election Day? (The following list represents what we typically make available). ◦ Binder containing all required forms that must be completed; ◦ Required signage including: Election Laws Sample Ballots Voter Eligibility Requirements ID Requirements Map of School District Boundaries ◦ Pens ◦ (continued on the next slide)…
Supplies continued… ◦ Tape (for hanging posters & wrapping ballots) ◦ Scissors ◦ Note pads ◦ Brown wrapping paper, manila envelopes, or other material to secure voted ballots after election ◦ Name tags ◦ Secrecy folders
Other forms for use at polling places: ◦ Ballot Certification form – enables election workers to account for all the ballots that are supplied to them; ◦ Election Cost Bill or Time Sheet – record of the hours that each election worker works so that you can pay them accurately; ◦ Election Tally Sheet – helps the election workers in tallying results, especially with multiple races or issues on the ballot;
Other forms for use at polling places: ◦ Results Certification form – certifies the results reached from counting the ballots and is signed by the election board; ◦ Pollbook Certification form – certifies the number of voters recorded as voted in the pollbooks.
In order to vote in North Dakota, a voter must be: ◦ A U.S. citizen; ◦ At least 18 years old on the day of the election; ◦ A North Dakota resident; and ◦ A resident in the precinct for 30 days preceding the election.
Requirements for Identification (NDCC 16.1- 05-07) ◦ Identification must include the voter’s: Name Residential Address Date of Birth ◦ More than one form of identification may be used.
Acceptable Forms of Identification: ◦ Voting at the Polling Place – A Valid North Dakota Driver’s license Non-driver’s identification card Tribal government issued identification card Student identification certificate (provided by ND college or university) Long term care identification certificate (provided by ND facility.
Acceptable Forms of Identification: ◦ Voting Absentee or by Mail – A Valid: (NDCC 16.1- 07-06) North Dakota form of identification listed for voting at the polling place Passport or Military ID – Only for ND residents living outside the U.S. who do not possess one of the other forms of identification. Attester – A voter without an acceptable form of ID may use an attester. The attester must provide his or her name, ND driver’s license, non-driver’s or tribal identification number, and sign the absentee/mail ballot application form to attest to the applicant’s ND residency & voting eligibility.
Essentially, a voter must have one of the prescribed forms of ID and that ID must contain the residential address they have resided at for the 30 days preceding the election. If they do not have their current residential address on their ID, but the address on their ID is still within your school district, they can vote using that address. If the address on their ID is not within your school district, unfortunately they will be unable to cast a ballot as they cannot prove their residence within the school district.
Upon closing of the polls, the judges shall count the votes for each office. At the conclusion of the canvass of votes on election night, the judges & clerks of the election shall sign the returns & file them with the business manager of the school district. However, if the election is held under an agreement with the city or county pursuant to sections 15.1-09-22 and 15.1-09-24, the returns must be canvassed & the winners declared as set out in the agreement.
See 16.1-15-08 – Wrapping ballots ◦ All Write-In, Voted, and Absentee ballots must be suitably wrapped in separate wrappers. Each wrapper must be endorsed with the names or numbers of the precincts and the date on which the election was held. ◦ The wrappers must be sealed securely in a manner so the wrappers cannot be opened without an obvious & permanent breaking of the seal.
According to NDCC 15.1-09-16 ◦ If the election results in a tie, the business manager of the district shall notify, in writing, the candidates between whom the tie exists. Within three days after the canvass of the election by the school board, at a time agreed upon by the candidates, the election must be decided in the presence of the judges & clerks of the election, by a drawing of names. A candidate involved in a tie vote may withdraw the candidate’s name from consideration if the candidate is willing to sign a statement to that effect in the presence of and witnessed by the filing officer of the election….The school district business manager shall make & keep a record of the proceedings.
From NDCC 16.1-16-02. Who may contest election. (This is a brief summary only) ◦ A defeated candidate, or ◦ 10 qualified electors ◦ An action to contest must be commenced by service of a summons & verified complaint. ◦ The complaint must be filed in the district court of the contestee’s county of residence within 5 days after final certification of a recount by the canvassing board or within 14 days after the final certification by the canvassing board if no recount is to be conducted.
In a contest of an election, the person certified as the winner of the election shall take office until the contest is finally decided. Grounds for election contest: ◦ An election contest may be commenced for any of the following causes: If the contestee does not or cannot meet the qualifications to hold the office as required by law. Because of illegal votes or erroneous or fraudulent voting, count, canvass, or recount of votes.
Election contest actions must be tried as civil actions to the court without a jury. Either the contestant or the contestee, within the time provided by this title for the preservation of ballots, may give notice by certified mail to the county recorder (or school business manager) that an election contest is pending in a designated court. Thereupon, it is the duty of the county recorder (or school business manager) to preserve all the paper ballots & electronic voting system ballots & associated records until the contest has been finally determined.
Once a judge has pronounced judgement on which candidated was elected or nominated, the appropriate officer shall issue a certificate to the person declared elected or nominated in accordance with the judgement. If declared a tie, the election must be determined by law. If declared that no one was elected, the office must be deemed vacant. The vacancy must be filled according to law.
See the “Reasons for Holding School Elections Under Law” compiled by the NDSBA. Note: NDCC 16.1-01-11. Certain questions not to be voted upon for three months. ◦ Whenever at any election or bond issue or mill levy question has failed to receive the required number of votes for approval by the electors, the matter may not again be submitted to a vote until a period of at least three months has expired, and in no event may more than two elections on the same general matter be held within twelve consecutive months.
School Bond & Special Elections are conducted much the same as other elections. Some of the publication deadlines may not apply unless you have a race on the ballot for which candidates will need to apply. According to NDCC 15.1-09-23…In addition to the annual election, a special election may be held at any time and for any purpose, if approved by the school board. The most important thing to remember when setting the date for a special election is to allow for your publication deadlines.
NDCC 15.1-07-03 speaks to the District’s limit of indebtedness. ◦ The board of a school district may by resolution place on the ballot of any regular or special election the question of increasing the district’s limit of indebtedness, beyond that fixed by the constitution, by five percent of the assessed valuation of all taxable property in the district. ◦ The board of a school district shall place the same on the ballot if the board receives a petition requesting the increase & signed by qualified electors of the district equal in number to at least one-third of those who voted in the most recent annual school district election.
It is always best to consult the advice of the school district’s attorney in drafting the necessary resolution for a school bond or special election. Always review applicable NDCC for the most current laws regarding deadlines, publication, etc.
This is a summary only. See NDCC for complete information. ◦ No person may use any property belonging to or leased by, or any service which is provided to or carried on by, either directly or by contract, the political subdivision for any political purpose. ◦ “Political Purpose” means any activity seen as being in support of or in opposition to a political subdivision measure or the election or nomination of a candidate to public office & includes using “vote for”, “oppose”, or any similar support or opposition language in any advertisement.
◦ Factual information may be presented regarding a ballot question solely for the purpose of educating voters if the information does not advocate for or against or otherwise reflect a position on the adoption or rejection of the ballot question. ◦ “Property” includes motor vehicles, telephones, typewriters, adding machines, postage or postage meters, funds of money, and buildings. ◦ “Services” includes the use of employees during regular working hours for which such employees have not taken annual or sick leave or other compensatory leave. ◦ Any person violating any provision in Chapter 16.1-10 of the NDCC, for which another penalty is not specifically provided, is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.