‘Lizard People’ Are Back

A voter’s odd ballot markings in the 2008 U.S. Senate election may prompt a change in Minnesota law.

During the Senate recount, state Canvassing Board members reviewed dozens of ballots with strange markings, including one on which the voter jotted down "Lizard People" as a write-in candidate. That and other ballot scribblings forced the Canvassing Board to decide whether to count certain ballots.

A bill making its way through legislative committees attempts to clarify how ballots with voter markings should be handled. It would change state law to define identifying marks — which disqualify a ballot — as "a voter’s signature, an identification number, or a name written outside of the space allotted for the names of write-in candidates."

Bill sponsor Rep. Bill Hilty, DFL-Finlayson, said the legislation stems from the Canvassing Board’s discussions about the "Lizard People" ballot and others. However, the "Lizard People" ballot was rejected because it was considered a vote for two candidates, not because of identifying marks.