Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

CHAPTER 211B. FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES

Table of Sections
SectionHeadnote
211B.01DEFINITIONS.
211B.02FALSE CLAIM OF SUPPORT.
211B.03USE OF THE TERM REELECT.
211B.04CAMPAIGN LITERATURE MUST INCLUDE DISCLAIMER.
211B.045NONCOMMERCIAL SIGNS EXEMPTION.
211B.05PAID ADVERTISEMENTS IN NEWS.
211B.06FALSE POLITICAL AND CAMPAIGN MATERIAL; PENALTY; EXCEPTIONS.
211B.07UNDUE INFLUENCE ON VOTERS PROHIBITED.
211B.08SOLICITATION OF CONTRIBUTIONS PROHIBITED.
211B.09PROHIBITED PUBLIC EMPLOYEE ACTIVITIES.
211B.10INDUCING OR REFRAINING CANDIDACY; TIME OFF FOR PUBLIC OFFICE MEETINGS.
211B.11ELECTION DAY PROHIBITIONS.
211B.12LEGAL EXPENDITURES.
211B.13BRIBERY, TREATING, AND SOLICITATION.
211B.14DIGEST OF LAWS.
211B.15CORPORATE POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS.
211B.16PROSECUTION.
211B.17FORFEITURE OF NOMINATION OR OFFICE; CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE NOT FORFEITED.
211B.18DISQUALIFIED CANDIDATE NOT TO HOLD VARIOUS POSITIONS.
211B.19PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION.
211B.20DENIAL OF ACCESS BY POLITICAL CANDIDATES TO MULTIPLE UNIT DWELLINGS.
211B.205PARTICIPATION IN PUBLIC PARADES.
211B.21APPLICABILITY.

UNFAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES COMPLAINTS

211B.31DEFINITION.
211B.32COMPLAINTS OF UNFAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES.
211B.33PRIMA FACIE REVIEW.
211B.34PROBABLE CAUSE HEARING.
211B.35EVIDENTIARY HEARING BY PANEL.
211B.36PROCEDURES.
211B.37COSTS ASSESSED.
211B.01 DEFINITIONS.
    Subdivision 1. Application. The definitions in chapter 200 and this section apply to this
chapter.
    Subd. 2. Campaign material. "Campaign material" means any literature, publication, or
material that is disseminated for the purpose of influencing voting at a primary or other election,
except for news items or editorial comments by the news media.
    Subd. 3. Candidate. "Candidate" means an individual who seeks nomination or election to a
federal, statewide, legislative, judicial, or local office including special districts, school districts,
towns, home rule charter and statutory cities, and counties, except candidates for president and
vice-president of the United States.
    Subd. 4. Committee. "Committee" means two or more persons acting together or a
corporation or association acting to influence the nomination, election, or defeat of a candidate or
to promote or defeat a ballot question. Promoting or defeating a ballot question includes efforts to
qualify or prevent a proposition from qualifying for placement on the ballot.
    Subd. 5. Disbursement. "Disbursement" means an act through which money, property, office,
or position or other thing of value is directly or indirectly promised, paid, spent, contributed, or
lent, and any money, property, office, or position or other thing of value so promised or transferred.
    Subd. 6. Political purposes. An act is done for "political purposes" when the act is intended
or done to influence, directly or indirectly, voting at a primary or other election. This does not
include news items or editorial comments published or broadcast by the news media.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 1; 2004 c 293 art 3 s 1
211B.02 FALSE CLAIM OF SUPPORT.
A person or candidate may not knowingly make, directly or indirectly, a false claim stating
or implying that a candidate or ballot question has the support or endorsement of a major political
party or party unit or of an organization. A person or candidate may not state in written campaign
material that the candidate or ballot question has the support or endorsement of an individual
without first getting written permission from the individual to do so.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 2
211B.03 USE OF THE TERM REELECT.
A person or candidate may not, in the event of redistricting, use the term "reelect" in a
campaign for elective office unless the candidate is the incumbent of that office and the office
represents any part of the new district.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 3
211B.04 CAMPAIGN LITERATURE MUST INCLUDE DISCLAIMER.
(a) A person who participates in the preparation or dissemination of campaign material other
than as provided in section 211B.05, subdivision 1, that does not prominently include the name
and address of the person or committee causing the material to be prepared or disseminated in a
disclaimer substantially in the form provided in paragraph (b) or (c) is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Except in cases covered by paragraph (c), the required form of disclaimer is: "Prepared
and paid for by the .......... committee, .........(address)" for material prepared and paid for by a
principal campaign committee, or "Prepared and paid for by the .......... committee, .........(address),
in support of .........(insert name of candidate or ballot question)" for material prepared and paid
for by a person or committee other than a principal campaign committee.
(c) In the case of broadcast media, the required form of disclaimer is: "Paid for by the
............ committee."
(d) Campaign material that is not circulated on behalf of a particular candidate or ballot
question must also include in the disclaimer either that it is "in opposition to .....(insert name of
candidate or ballot question.....)"; or that "this publication is not circulated on behalf of any
candidate or ballot question."
(e) This section does not apply to objects stating only the candidate's name and the office
sought, fund-raising tickets, or personal letters that are clearly being sent by the candidate.
(f) This section does not apply to an individual or association who acts independently of any
candidate, candidate's committee, political committee, or political fund and spends only from
the individual's or association's own resources a sum that is less than $500 in the aggregate to
produce or distribute campaign material that is distributed at least seven days before the election
to which the campaign material relates.
(g) This section does not modify or repeal section 211B.06.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 4; 1991 c 227 s 24; 1998 c 376 s 2; 2004 c 293 art 3 s 2
211B.045 NONCOMMERCIAL SIGNS EXEMPTION.
In any municipality, whether or not the municipality has an ordinance that regulates the
size or number of noncommercial signs, all noncommercial signs of any size may be posted in
any number from August 1 in a state general election year until ten days following the state
general election.
History: 1990 c 585 s 30; 2004 c 142 s 1
211B.05 PAID ADVERTISEMENTS IN NEWS.
    Subdivision 1. Acceptance of paid advertisements. A newspaper, periodical, or magazine
may not intentionally accept for insertion in the newspaper, magazine, or periodical a political
advertisement unless the words "PAID ADVERTISEMENT," and the disclaimer required under
section 211B.04 are included at the beginning or end of the advertisement. The disclaimer must be
in a legible text size and font. A radio station, television station, or cable system may not accept
for broadcast a political advertisement unless the words "PAID ADVERTISEMENT" are included
at the beginning or end of the advertisement.
    Subd. 2. Advertising rates. Rates charged for advertising to support or oppose a candidate
or ballot question must be the same as the charges made for any other political candidate and
may be no greater than charges made for any other comparable purpose or use according to the
seller's rate schedule.
    Subd. 3. Compensation prohibited, except for paid advertisement. An owner, publisher,
editor, reporter, agent, broadcaster, or employee of a newspaper, periodical, magazine, radio or
television broadcast station, or cable system may not directly or indirectly solicit, receive, or
accept a payment, promise, or compensation, nor may a person pay or promise to pay or in any
manner compensate an owner, publisher, editor, reporter, agent, broadcaster, or employee directly
or indirectly for influencing or attempting to influence voting at an election or primary through
printed material in the newspaper or periodical, or radio, television, or cable broadcast, except
as a "PAID ADVERTISEMENT" as provided in this section.
    Subd. 4. Unpaid material identification. Unpaid material published in a newspaper,
magazine, or other publication that is: (1) in unique typeset or otherwise differentiated from other
unpaid material, (2) designed to influence or attempt to influence the voting at any election or
the passage or defeat of legislation, and (3) not placed on the editorial page must be clearly
identified as an editorial opinion.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 5; 2001 c 143 s 1
211B.06 FALSE POLITICAL AND CAMPAIGN MATERIAL; PENALTY; EXCEPTIONS.
    Subdivision 1. Gross misdemeanor. A person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor who
intentionally participates in the preparation, dissemination, or broadcast of paid political
advertising or campaign material with respect to the personal or political character or acts of a
candidate, or with respect to the effect of a ballot question, that is designed or tends to elect,
injure, promote, or defeat a candidate for nomination or election to a public office or to promote
or defeat a ballot question, that is false, and that the person knows is false or communicates to
others with reckless disregard of whether it is false.
A person is guilty of a misdemeanor who intentionally participates in the drafting of a
letter to the editor with respect to the personal or political character or acts of a candidate, or
with respect to the effect of a ballot question, that is designed or tends to elect, injure, promote,
or defeat any candidate for nomination or election to a public office or to promote or defeat a
ballot question, that is false, and that the person knows is false or communicates to others with
reckless disregard of whether it is false.
    Subd. 2. Exception. Subdivision 1 does not apply to any person or organization whose sole
act is, in the normal course of their business, the printing, manufacturing, or dissemination of
the false information.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 6; 1998 c 376 s 3
211B.07 UNDUE INFLUENCE ON VOTERS PROHIBITED.
A person may not directly or indirectly use or threaten force, coercion, violence, restraint,
damage, harm, loss, including loss of employment or economic reprisal, undue influence, or
temporal or spiritual injury against an individual to compel the individual to vote for or against a
candidate or ballot question. Abduction, duress, or fraud may not be used to obstruct or prevent
the free exercise of the right to vote of a voter at a primary or election, or compel a voter to vote at
a primary or election. Violation of this section is a gross misdemeanor.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 7
211B.08 SOLICITATION OF CONTRIBUTIONS PROHIBITED.
A religious, charitable, or educational organization may not request a candidate or committee
to contribute to the organization, to subscribe for the support of a club or organization, to buy
tickets to entertainment, or to pay for space in a publication. This section does not apply to:
(1) the solicitation of a business advertisement in periodicals in which the candidate was a
regular contributor, before candidacy;
(2) ordinary business advertisements;
(3) regular payments to a religious, charitable, or educational organization, of which the
candidate was a member, or to which the candidate was a contributor for more than six months
before candidacy; or
(4) ordinary contributions at church services.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 8
211B.09 PROHIBITED PUBLIC EMPLOYEE ACTIVITIES.
An employee or official of the state or of a political subdivision may not use official
authority or influence to compel a person to apply for membership in or become a member of a
political organization, to pay or promise to pay a political contribution, or to take part in political
activity. A political subdivision may not impose or enforce additional limitations on the political
activities of its employees.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 9
211B.10 INDUCING OR REFRAINING CANDIDACY; TIME OFF FOR PUBLIC
OFFICE MEETINGS.
    Subdivision 1. Inducing or refraining from candidacy. A person may not reward or
promise to reward another in any manner to induce the person to be or refrain from or cease being
a candidate. A person may not solicit or receive a payment, promise, or reward from another
for this purpose.
    Subd. 2. Time off for public office meetings. A person elected to a public office must be
permitted time off from regular employment to attend meetings required by reason of the public
office. The time off may be without pay, with pay, or made up with other hours, as agreed between
the employee and employer. When an employee takes time off without pay, the employer shall
make an effort to allow the employee to make up the time with other hours when the employee is
available. No retaliatory action may be taken by the employer for absences to attend meetings
necessitated by reason of the employee's public office.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 10
211B.11 ELECTION DAY PROHIBITIONS.
    Subdivision 1. Soliciting near polling places. A person may not display campaign material,
post signs, ask, solicit, or in any manner try to induce or persuade a voter within a polling place or
within 100 feet of the building in which a polling place is situated, or anywhere on the public
property on which a polling place is situated, on primary or election day to vote for or refrain from
voting for a candidate or ballot question. A person may not provide political badges, political
buttons, or other political insignia to be worn at or about the polling place on the day of a primary
or election. A political badge, political button, or other political insignia may not be worn at or
about the polling place on primary or election day. This section applies to areas established by the
county auditor or municipal clerk for absentee voting as provided in chapter 203B.
The secretary of state, county auditor, municipal clerk, or school district clerk may provide
stickers which contain the words "I VOTED" and nothing more. Election judges may offer a
sticker of this type to each voter who has signed the polling place roster.
    Subd. 2.[Repealed, 1997 c 147 s 79]
    Subd. 3. Transportation of voters to polling place; penalty. A person transporting a voter
to or from the polling place may not ask, solicit, or in any manner try to induce or persuade a
voter on primary or election day to vote or refrain from voting for a candidate or ballot question.
    Subd. 4. Penalty. Violation of this section is a petty misdemeanor.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 11; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 32; 1993 c 223 s 25
211B.12 LEGAL EXPENDITURES.
Use of money collected for political purposes is prohibited unless the use is reasonably
related to the conduct of election campaigns, or is a noncampaign disbursement as defined in
section 10A.01, subdivision 26. The following are permitted expenditures when made for political
purposes:
(1) salaries, wages, and fees;
(2) communications, mailing, transportation, and travel;
(3) campaign advertising;
(4) printing;
(5) office and other space and necessary equipment, furnishings, and incidental supplies;
(6) charitable contributions of not more than $50 to any charity annually; and
(7) other expenses, not included in clauses (1) to (6), that are reasonably related to the
conduct of election campaigns. In addition, expenditures made for the purpose of providing
information to constituents, whether or not related to the conduct of an election, are permitted
expenses. Money collected for political purposes and assets of a political committee or political
fund may not be converted to personal use.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 12; 1993 c 318 art 2 s 48
211B.13 BRIBERY, TREATING, AND SOLICITATION.
    Subdivision 1. Bribery, advancing money, and treating prohibited. A person who
willfully, directly or indirectly, advances, pays, gives, promises, or lends any money, food, liquor,
clothing, entertainment, or other thing of monetary value, or who offers, promises, or endeavors
to obtain any money, position, appointment, employment, or other valuable consideration, to or
for a person, in order to induce a voter to refrain from voting, or to vote in a particular way, at
an election, is guilty of a felony. This section does not prevent a candidate from stating publicly
preference for or support of another candidate to be voted for at the same primary or election.
Refreshments of food or nonalcoholic beverages having a value up to $5 consumed on the
premises at a private gathering or public meeting are not prohibited under this section.
    Subd. 2. Certain solicitations prohibited. A person may not knowingly solicit, receive, or
accept any money, property, or other thing of monetary value, or a promise or pledge of these that
is a disbursement prohibited by this section or section 211B.15.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 13; 2005 c 156 art 6 s 63
211B.14 DIGEST OF LAWS.
The secretary of state, with the approval of the attorney general, shall prepare and print an
easily understandable digest of this chapter and annotations of it. The digest may include other
related laws and annotations at the discretion of the secretary of state.
The secretary of state shall distribute the digest to candidates and committees through the
county auditor or otherwise as the secretary of state considers expedient. A copy of the digest and,
if appropriate, a financial reporting form and a certification of filing form must be distributed to
each candidate by the filing officer at the time that the candidate's affidavit of candidacy is filed.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 14; 1993 c 223 s 26; 1997 c 147 s 73
211B.15 CORPORATE POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS.
    Subdivision 1. Definitions. For purposes of this section, "corporation" means:
(1) a corporation organized for profit that does business in this state;
(2) a nonprofit corporation that carries out activities in this state; or
(3) a limited liability company formed under chapter 322B, or under similar laws of another
state, that does business in this state.
    Subd. 2. Prohibited contributions. A corporation may not make a contribution or offer
or agree to make a contribution, directly or indirectly, of any money, property, free service
of its officers, employees, or members, or thing of monetary value to a major political party,
organization, committee, or individual to promote or defeat the candidacy of an individual for
nomination, election, or appointment to a political office. For the purpose of this subdivision,
"contribution" includes an expenditure to promote or defeat the election or nomination of a
candidate to a political office that is made with the authorization or expressed or implied
consent of, or in cooperation or in concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate or
committee established to support or oppose a candidate.
    Subd. 3. Independent expenditures. A corporation may not make an independent
expenditure or offer or agree to make an independent expenditure to promote or defeat the
candidacy of an individual for nomination, election, or appointment to a political office. For the
purpose of this subdivision, "independent expenditure" means an expenditure that is not made with
the authorization or expressed or implied consent of, or in cooperation or concert with, or at the
request or suggestion of, a candidate or committee established to support or oppose a candidate.
    Subd. 4. Ballot question. A corporation may make contributions or expenditures to promote
or defeat a ballot question, to qualify a question for placement on the ballot unless otherwise
prohibited by law, or to express its views on issues of public concern. A corporation may not
make a contribution to a candidate for nomination, election, or appointment to a political office or
to a committee organized wholly or partly to promote or defeat a candidate.
    Subd. 5. News media. This section does not prohibit publication or broadcasting of news
items or editorial comments by the news media.
    Subd. 6. Penalty for individuals. An officer, manager, stockholder, member, agent,
employee, attorney, or other representative of a corporation acting in behalf of the corporation
who violates this section may be fined not more than $20,000 or be imprisoned for not more
than five years, or both.
    Subd. 7. Penalty for corporations. A corporation convicted of violating this section is
subject to a fine not greater than $40,000. A convicted domestic corporation may be dissolved
as well as fined. If a foreign or nonresident corporation is convicted, in addition to being fined,
its right to do business in this state may be declared forfeited.
    Subd. 8. Permitted activity; political party. It is not a violation of this section for a political
party, as defined in section 200.02, subdivision 7, to form a nonprofit corporation for the sole
purpose of holding real property to be used exclusively as the party's headquarters.
    Subd. 9. Media projects. It is not a violation of this section for a corporation to contribute to
or conduct public media projects to encourage individuals to attend precinct caucuses, register, or
vote if the projects are not controlled by or operated for the advantage of a candidate, political
party, or committee.
    Subd. 10. Meeting facilities. It is not a violation of this section for a corporation to provide
meeting facilities to a committee, political party, or candidate on a nondiscriminatory and
nonpreferential basis.
    Subd. 11. Messages on premises. It is not a violation of this section for a corporation
selling products or services to the public to post on its public premises messages that promote
participation in precinct caucuses, voter registration, or elections if the messages are not controlled
by or operated for the advantage of a candidate, political party, or committee.
    Subd. 12. Reports required. The total amount of an expenditure or contribution for any one
project permitted by subdivisions 9 and 11 that is more than $200, together with the date, purpose,
and the names and addresses of the persons receiving the contribution or expenditures, must be
reported to the secretary of state. The reports must be filed on forms provided by the secretary of
state on the dates required for committees under section 211A.02. Failure to file is a misdemeanor.
    Subd. 13. Aiding violation; penalty. An individual who aids, abets, or advises a violation of
this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
    Subd. 14. Prosecutions; venue. Violations of this section may be prosecuted in the county
where the payment or contribution was made, where services were rendered, or where money
was paid or distributed.
    Subd. 15. Nonprofit corporation exemption. The prohibitions in this section do not apply
to a nonprofit corporation that:
(1) is not organized or operating for the principal purpose of conducting a business;
(2) has no shareholders or other persons affiliated so as to have a claim on its assets or
earnings; and
(3) was not established by a business corporation or a labor union and has a policy not to
accept significant contributions from those entities.
    Subd. 16. Employee political fund solicitation. Any solicitation of political contributions
by an employee must be in writing, informational and nonpartisan in nature, and not promotional
for any particular candidate or group of candidates. The solicitation must consist only of a general
request on behalf of an independent political committee (conduit fund) and must state that there is
no minimum contribution, that a contribution or lack thereof will in no way impact the employee's
employment, that the employee must direct the contribution to candidates of the employee's
choice, and that any response by the employee shall remain confidential and shall not be directed
to the employee's supervisors or managers. Questions from an employee regarding a solicitation
may be answered orally or in writing consistent with the above requirements. Nothing in this
subdivision authorizes a corporate donation of an employee's time prohibited under subdivision 2.
    Subd. 17. Nonprofit corporation political activity. It is not a violation of this section for a
nonprofit corporation to provide administrative assistance to one political committee or political
fund that is associated with the nonprofit corporation and registered with the Campaign Finance
and Public Disclosure Board under section 10A.14. Such assistance must be limited to accounting,
clerical or legal services, bank charges, utilities, office space, and supplies. The records of the
political committee or political fund may be kept on the premises of the nonprofit corporation.
The administrative assistance provided by the nonprofit corporation to the political
committee or political fund is limited annually to the lesser of $5,000 or 7-1/2 percent of the
expenditures of the political committee or political fund.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 15; 1989 c 209 art 2 s 26; 1992 c 517 art 1 s 1-9; 1993 c 318 art
2 s 49; 1996 c 459 s 3,4; 1997 c 202 art 2 s 63
211B.16 PROSECUTION.
    Subdivision 1.[Repealed, 2004 c 277 s 13]
    Subd. 2.[Repealed, 2004 c 277 s 13]
    Subd. 3. County attorney authority. A county attorney may prosecute any violation
of this chapter.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 16; 2004 c 277 s 5
211B.17 FORFEITURE OF NOMINATION OR OFFICE; CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE
NOT FORFEITED.
    Subdivision 1. Forfeiture of nomination or office. Except as provided in subdivision 2,
if a candidate is found guilty of violating this chapter or an offense was committed by another
individual with the knowledge, consent, or connivance of the candidate, the court, after entering
the adjudication of guilty, shall enter a supplemental judgment declaring that the candidate has
forfeited the nomination or office. If the court enters the supplemental judgment, it shall transmit
to the filing officer a transcript of the supplemental judgment, the nomination or office becomes
vacant, and the vacancy must be filled as provided by law.
    Subd. 2. Circumstances where nomination or office not forfeited. In a trial for a violation
of this chapter, the candidate's nomination or election is not void if the court finds that:
(1) an offense, though committed by the candidate or with the candidate's knowledge,
consent, or connivance, was trivial; or
(2) an act or omission of a candidate arose from accidental miscalculation or other reasonable
cause, but in any case not from a want of good faith;
and the court also finds that it would be unjust for a candidate to forfeit the nomination or election.
None of these findings is a defense to a conviction under this chapter.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 17
211B.18 DISQUALIFIED CANDIDATE NOT TO HOLD VARIOUS POSITIONS.
A candidate whose election to office has been set aside for a violation of this chapter may not
be appointed, during the period fixed by law as the term of the office, to fill a vacancy in that
office. A candidate or other individual who is convicted of a violation of this chapter may not
be appointed, during the period fixed by law as the term of the office with respect to which the
election was held and the offense was committed, to fill a vacancy that may occur in the office. An
appointment to an office made contrary to the provisions of this section is void.
A candidate or other individual who is convicted of a violation of this chapter is not qualified,
during the period fixed by law as the term of the office with respect to which the election was
held and the offense was committed, to fill a vacancy in an office for which the legislature may
establish qualifications under article XII, section 3, of the Minnesota Constitution.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 18
211B.19 PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION.
A violation of this chapter for which no other penalty is provided is a misdemeanor.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 19
211B.20 DENIAL OF ACCESS BY POLITICAL CANDIDATES TO MULTIPLE UNIT
DWELLINGS.
    Subdivision 1. Prohibition. It is unlawful for a person, either directly or indirectly, to
deny access to an apartment house, dormitory, nursing home, manufactured home park, other
multiple unit facility used as a residence, or an area in which two or more single-family dwellings
are located on private roadways to a candidate who has filed for election to public office or
to campaign workers accompanied by the candidate, if the candidate and workers seeking
admittance to the facility do so solely for the purpose of campaigning. A violation of this section
is a petty misdemeanor.
    Subd. 2. Exceptions. Subdivision 1 does not prohibit:
(1) denial of admittance into a particular apartment, room, manufactured home, or personal
residential unit;
(2) requiring reasonable and proper identification as a necessary prerequisite to admission
to a multiple unit dwelling;
(3) in the case of a nursing home, denial of permission to visit certain persons for valid
health reasons;
(4) limiting visits by candidates or workers accompanied by the candidate to a reasonable
number of persons or reasonable hours;
(5) requiring a prior appointment to gain access to the facility; or
(6) denial of admittance to or expulsion from a multiple unit dwelling for good cause.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 20
211B.205 PARTICIPATION IN PUBLIC PARADES.
If a public parade allows candidates, a candidate must be allowed to participate for a fee that
is not greater than the amount that is charged to other units participating in the parade.
History: 1Sp2001 c 10 art 18 s 40
211B.21 APPLICABILITY.
Nothing in section 211B.17 or 211B.18 may be construed to limit the ability of each house of
the legislature to act as judge of the election returns and eligibility of its own members.
History: 1988 c 578 art 3 s 21

UNFAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES COMPLAINTS

211B.31 DEFINITION.
As used in sections 211B.32 to 211B.36, "office" means the Office of Administrative
Hearings.
History: 2004 c 277 s 6
211B.32 COMPLAINTS OF UNFAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES.
    Subdivision 1. Administrative remedy; exhaustion. 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.
    Subd. 2. Limitation on filing. The complaint must be filed with the office within one year
after the occurrence of the act or failure to act that is the subject of the complaint, except that
if the act or failure to act involves fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation that could not be
discovered during that one-year period, the complaint may be filed with the office within one year
after the fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation was discovered.
    Subd. 3. Form of complaint. The complaint must be in writing, submitted under oath,
and detail the factual basis for the claim that a violation of law has occurred. The office may
prescribe the form of a complaint.
    Subd. 4. Proof of claim. The burden of proving the allegations in the complaint is on the
complainant. The standard of proof of a violation of section 211B.06, relating to false statements
in paid political advertising or campaign material, is clear and convincing evidence. The standard
of proof of any other violation of chapter 211A or 211B is a preponderance of the evidence.
    Subd. 5. Filing fee; waiver; refund. (a) The complaint must be accompanied by a filing fee
of $50, unless filed by a filing officer under section 211A.05, subdivision 2.
(b) The office may waive the payment of the filing fee, if the individual seeking a waiver
of the fee files with the office an affidavit stating that the individual is financially unable to
pay the fee.
(c) The office may refund the filing fee of a complainant who prevails on the merits.
    Subd. 6. Service on respondent. Upon receipt of the filed complaint, the office must
immediately notify the respondent and provide the respondent with a copy of the complaint by the
most expeditious means available.
History: 2004 c 277 s 7
211B.33 PRIMA FACIE REVIEW.
    Subdivision 1. Time for review. The chief administrative law judge must randomly assign
an administrative law judge to review the complaint. Within one business day after the complaint
was filed with the office, when practicable, but never longer than three business days, the
administrative law judge must make a preliminary determination for its disposition.
    Subd. 2. Recommendation. (a) If the administrative law judge determines that the complaint
does not set forth a prima facie violation of chapter 211A or 211B, the administrative law judge
must dismiss the complaint.
(b) If the administrative law judge determines that the complaint sets forth a prima facie
violation of section 211B.06 and was filed within 60 days before the primary or special election or
within 90 days before the general election to which the complaint relates, the administrative law
judge must conduct an expedited probable cause hearing under section 211B.34.
(c) If the administrative law judge determines that the complaint sets forth a prima facie
violation of a provision of chapter 211A or 211B, other than section 211B.06, and that the
complaint was filed within 60 days before the primary or special election or within 90 days before
the general election to which the complaint relates, the administrative law judge, on request of
any party, must conduct an expedited probable cause hearing under section 211B.34.
(d) If the administrative law judge determines that the complaint sets forth a prima facie
violation of chapter 211A or 211B, and was filed more than 60 days before the primary or special
election or more than 90 days before the general election to which the complaint relates, the
administrative law judge must schedule an evidentiary hearing under section 211B.35.
    Subd. 3. Notice to parties. The office must notify all parties of the determination made
under subdivision 2. If the complaint is scheduled for hearing, the notice must identify the
time and place of the hearing and inform all parties that they may submit evidence, affidavits,
documentation, and argument for consideration by the administrative law judge.
    Subd. 4. Joinder and separation of complaints. The chief administrative law judge may
direct that two or more complaints be joined for disposition if the chief administrative law judge
determines that the allegations in each complaint are of the same or similar character, are based
on the same act or failure to act, or are based on two or more acts or failures to act constituting
parts of a common scheme or plan. If one complaint contains two or more allegations, the chief
administrative law judge may separate the allegations, if they are not of the same or similar
character, if they are not based on the same act or failure to act, or if they are not based on
two or more acts or failures to act constituting parts of a common scheme or plan. If the chief
administrative law judge separates the allegations in a complaint, the assigned administrative law
judge or judges may make separate recommendations under subdivision 2 for each allegation.
History: 2004 c 277 s 8
211B.34 PROBABLE CAUSE HEARING.
    Subdivision 1. Time for review. The assigned administrative law judge must hold a probable
cause hearing on the complaint no later than three business days after receiving the assignment if
an expedited hearing is required by section 211B.33, except that for good cause the administrative
law judge may hold the hearing no later than seven days after receiving the assignment. If an
expedited hearing is not required by section 211B.33, the administrative law judge must hold the
hearing not later than 30 days after receiving the assignment.
    Subd. 2. Disposition. At the probable cause hearing, the administrative law judge must make
one of the following determinations:
(a) The complaint is frivolous, or there is no probable cause to believe that the violation
of law alleged in the complaint has occurred. If the administrative law judge makes either
determination, the administrative law judge must dismiss the complaint.
(b) There is probable cause to believe that the violation of law alleged in the complaint has
occurred. If the administrative law judge so determines, the chief administrative law judge must
schedule the complaint for an evidentiary hearing under section 211B.35.
    Subd. 3. Reconsideration by chief administrative law judge. (a) If the administrative law
judge dismisses the complaint, the administrative law judge shall provide to the complainant
written notice of the right to seek reconsideration of the decision on the record by the chief
administrative law judge.
(b) A petition for reconsideration must be filed within two business days after the dismissal.
The chief administrative law judge must make a decision on the petition within three business
days after receiving the petition. If the chief administrative law judge determines that the assigned
administrative law judge made a clear error of law and grants the petition, within five business
days after granting the petition, the chief administrative law judge shall schedule the complaint
for an evidentiary hearing under section 211B.35.
History: 2004 c 277 s 9
211B.35 EVIDENTIARY HEARING BY PANEL.
    Subdivision 1. Deadline for hearing. When required by section 211B.34, subdivision 2 or 3,
the chief administrative law judge must assign the complaint to a panel of three administrative
law judges for an evidentiary hearing. The hearing must be held within the following times:
(1) ten days after the complaint was assigned, if an expedited probable cause hearing was
requested or required under section 211B.33;
(2) 30 days after the complaint was filed, if it was filed within 60 days before the primary or
special election or within 90 days before the general election to which the complaint relates; or
(3) 90 days after the complaint was filed, if it was filed at any other time.
For good cause shown, the panel may extend the deadline set forth in clause (2) or (3)
by 60 days.
    Subd. 2. Disposition of complaint. The panel must determine whether the violation alleged
in the complaint occurred and must make at least one of the following dispositions:
(a) The panel may dismiss the complaint.
(b) The panel may issue a reprimand.
(c) The panel may find that a statement made in a paid advertisement or campaign material
violated section 211B.06.
(d) The panel may impose a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for any violation of chapter
211A or 211B.
(e) The panel may refer the complaint to the appropriate county attorney.
    Subd. 3. Time for disposition. The panel must dispose of the complaint:
(1) within three days after the hearing record closes, if an expedited probable cause hearing
was required by section 211B.33; and
(2) within 14 days after the hearing record closes, if an expedited probable cause hearing
was not required by section 211B.33.
History: 2004 c 277 s 10
211B.36 PROCEDURES.
    Subdivision 1. Evidence and argument. The administrative law judge or panel may consider
any evidence and argument submitted until a hearing record is closed, including affidavits and
documentation, or may continue a hearing to enable the parties to submit additional testimony.
    Subd. 2. Withdrawal of complaint. At any time before an evidentiary hearing under section
211B.35 begins, a complainant may withdraw a complaint filed under section 211B.32. After the
evidentiary hearing begins, a complaint filed under section 211B.32 may only be withdrawn with
the permission of the panel.
    Subd. 3. Costs. If the assigned administrative law judge or panel determines the complaint is
frivolous, they may order the complainant to pay the respondent's reasonable attorney fees and to
pay the costs of the office in the proceeding in which the complaint was dismissed.
    Subd. 4. Hearings public. A hearing under section 211B.34 or 211B.35 may be conducted
by conference telephone call or by interactive television. All hearings must be open to the public.
    Subd. 5. Judicial review. A party aggrieved by a final decision on a complaint filed under
section 211B.32 is entitled to judicial review of the decision as provided in sections 14.63 to
14.69; however, proceedings on a complaint filed under section 211B.32 are not a contested case
within the meaning of chapter 14 and are not otherwise governed by chapter 14.
History: 2004 c 277 s 11
211B.37 COSTS ASSESSED.
Except as otherwise provided in section 211B.36, subdivision 3, the chief administrative
law judge shall assess the cost of considering complaints filed under section 211B.32 as provided
in this section. Costs of complaints relating to a statewide ballot question or an election for a
statewide or legislative office must be assessed against the appropriation from the general fund to
the general account of the state elections campaign fund in section 10A.31, subdivision 4. Costs
of complaints relating to any other ballot question or elective office must be assessed against the
county or counties in which the election is held. Where the election is held in more than one
county, the chief administrative law judge shall apportion the assessment among the counties in
proportion to their respective populations within the election district to which the complaint
relates according to the most recent decennial federal census.
History: 2004 c 277 s 12