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SF 4217

as introduced - 92nd Legislature (2021 - 2022) Posted on 03/29/2022 11:47am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to elections; prohibiting intimidation of election officials; prohibiting
interference with the performance of a duty of election administration by an election
official; providing penalties; amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, sections 8.31,
subdivision 1; 211B.32, subdivision 1; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota
Statutes, chapter 211B.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 8.31, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Investigate offenses against provisions of certain designated sections;
assist in enforcement.

The attorney general shall investigate violationsnew text begin and assist in the
enforcement
new text end ofnew text begin the following laws as provided in this section:
new text end

new text begin (1)new text end the law of this state respecting unfair, discriminatory, and other unlawful practices
in business, commerce, or trade, and specifically, but not exclusively, the Nonprofit
Corporation Act (sections 317A.001 to 317A.909), the Act Against Unfair Discrimination
and Competition (sections 325D.01 to 325D.07), the Unlawful Trade Practices Act (sections
325D.09 to 325D.16), the Antitrust Act (sections 325D.49 to 325D.66), section 325F.67
and other laws against false or fraudulent advertising, the antidiscrimination acts contained
in section 325D.67, the act against monopolization of food products (section 325D.68), the
act regulating telephone advertising services (section 325E.39), the Prevention of Consumer
Fraud Act (sections 325F.68 to 325F.70), and chapter 53A regulating currency exchanges
deleted text begin and assist in the enforcement of those laws as in this section provided.deleted text endnew text begin; and
new text end

new text begin (2) section 211B.076, regulating intimidation and interference related to the performance
of duties by an election official.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective July 1, 2022.
new text end

Sec. 2.

new text begin [211B.076] INTIMIDATION AND INTERFERENCE RELATED TO THE
PERFORMANCE OF DUTIES BY AN ELECTION OFFICIAL; PENALTIES.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definition. new text end

new text begin For the purposes of this section, "election official" means a
member of the State Canvassing Board, a member of a county canvassing board, the county
auditor or municipal clerk charged with duties relating to elections, a member of an absentee
ballot board, an election judge, an election judge trainee, or any other individual assigned
by a state entity or municipal government to perform official duties related to elections.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Intimidation. new text end

new text begin (a) A person may not directly or indirectly use or threaten force,
coercion, violence, restraint, damage, harm, or loss, including loss of employment or
economic reprisal, against another with the intent to influence an election official in the
performance of a duty of election administration.
new text end

new text begin (b) In a civil action brought to prevent and restrain violations of this subdivision or to
require the payment of civil penalties, the moving party may show that the action or attempted
action would cause a reasonable person to feel intimidated. The moving party does not need
to show that the actor intended to cause the victim to feel intimidated.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Interfering with or hindering the administration of an election. new text end

new text begin A person
may not intentionally hinder, interfere with, or prevent an election official's performance
of a duty related to election administration.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Dissemination of personal information about an election official. new text end

new text begin A person
may not knowingly and without consent, make publicly available, including but not limited
to through the Internet, personal information about an election official or an election official's
family or household member if:
new text end

new text begin (1) the dissemination poses an imminent and serious threat to the official's safety or the
safety of an official's family or household member; and
new text end

new text begin (2) the person making the information publicly available knows or reasonably should
know of any imminent and serious threat.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Knowingly false allegations about an election official. new text end

new text begin A person may not
knowingly make false allegations against an election official concerning the official's
performance of official duties with intent to influence or tamper with the official's
performance of those duties.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Obstructing access. new text end

new text begin A person may not intentionally and physically obstruct
an election official's access to or egress from a polling place, meeting of a canvassing board,
place where ballots and elections equipment are located or stored, or any other place where
the election official performs official duties.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Vicarious liability; conspiracy. new text end

new text begin A person may be held vicariously liable for
any damages resulting from the violation of this section and may be identified in an order
restraining violations of this section if that person:
new text end

new text begin (1) intentionally aids, advises, hires, counsels, abets, incites, compels, or coerces a person
to violate any provision of this section or attempts to aid, advise, hire, counsel, abet, incite,
compel, or coerce a person to violate any provision of this section; or
new text end

new text begin (2) conspires, combines, agrees, or arranges with another to either commit a violation
of this section or aid, advise, hire, counsel, abet, incite, compel, or coerce a third person to
violate any provision of this section.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Criminal penalties; civil remedies. new text end

new text begin (a) A person who violates this section is
guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
new text end

new text begin (b) The attorney general or an election official may bring a civil action to prevent or
restrain a violation of this section if there is a reasonable basis to believe that an individual
or entity is committing or intends to commit a prohibited act.
new text end

new text begin (c) The attorney general, or an election official injured by an act prohibited by this
section, may bring a civil action pursuant to section 8.31 to recover damages, together with
costs of investigation and reasonable attorney fees, and receive other equitable relief as
determined by the court. An action brought by an election official under section 8.31,
subdivision 3a, is in the public interest. In addition to all other damages, the court may
impose a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation.
new text end

new text begin (d) Civil remedies allowable under this section are cumulative and do not restrict any
other right or remedy otherwise available. An action for a penalty or remedy under this
section must be brought within two years of the date the violation is alleged to have occurred.
The complaint process provided in sections 211B.31 to 211B.36 does not apply to violations
of this section.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective July 1, 2022, and applies to crimes
committed on or after that date.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 211B.32, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Administrative remedy; exhaustion.

(a) Except as provided in deleted text beginparagraphdeleted text endnew text begin
paragraphs
new text end (b)new text begin and (c)new text end, a complaint alleging a violation of chapter 211A or 211B must be
filed with the office. The complaint must be finally disposed of by the office before the
alleged violation may be prosecuted by a county attorney.

(b) Complaints arising under those sections and related to those individuals and
associations specified in section 10A.022, subdivision 3, must be filed with the Campaign
Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

new text begin (c) Violations of section 211B.076 may be enforced as provided in section 211B.076.
new text end