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2004 Minnesota Statutes

This is a historical version of this statute section. Also view the most recent published version.

204C.06 Conduct in and near polling places.

Subdivision 1. Lingering near polling place. An individual shall be allowed to go to and from the polling place for the purpose of voting without unlawful interference. No one except an election official or an individual who is waiting to register or to vote shall stand within 100 feet of the entrance to a polling place. The entrance to a polling place is the doorway or point of entry leading into the room or area where voting is occurring.

Subd. 2. Individuals allowed in polling place. (a) Representatives of the secretary of state's office, the county auditor's office, and the municipal or school district clerk's office may be present at the polling place to observe election procedures. Except for these representatives, election judges, sergeants-at-arms, and challengers, an individual may remain inside the polling place during voting hours only while voting or registering to vote, providing proof of residence for an individual who is registering to vote, or assisting a handicapped voter or a voter who is unable to read English. During voting hours no one except individuals receiving, marking, or depositing ballots shall approach within six feet of a voting booth, unless lawfully authorized to do so by an election judge.

(b) Teachers and elementary or secondary school students participating in an educational activity authorized by section 204B.27, subdivision 7, may be present at the polling place during voting hours.

Subd. 3. Damaging or removing election materials; gross misdemeanor. No individual shall intentionally:

(a) Tear down, mutilate, deface or otherwise damage during the hours of voting any voter instruction poster placed inside or outside of a polling place by an election judge or other election official; or

(b) Remove from the polling place before the time for voting ends any ballots prepared for use at the election or any supplies or conveniences placed in voting booths for use by the voters, except as authorized by law.

A violation of this subdivision is a gross misdemeanor.

Subd. 4. Damaging or removing election materials; felony. No individual shall intentionally:

(a) Remove from a polling place any election file or election register, except as authorized by law;

(b) Damage, deface, or mutilate any ballot, election file or election register or any item of information contained on it, except as authorized by law; or

(c) Add anything to a ballot, election file or election register, except as authorized by law.

A violation of this subdivision is a felony.

Subd. 5. Sergeant-at-arms. The election judges may appoint a sergeant-at-arms when necessary to keep the peace or otherwise to assist them. An election judge may request a sergeant-at-arms or a peace officer to arrest or remove from the polling place any individual who, despite a warning to desist, engages in disorderly conduct. A sergeant-at-arms or a peace officer shall not otherwise interfere in any manner with voters.

Subd. 6. Peace officers. Except when summoned by an election judge to restore the peace or when voting or registering to vote, no peace officer shall enter or remain in a polling place or stand within 50 feet of the entrance of a polling place.

Subd. 7. Use of intoxicating liquor; prohibition; penalty. During the time an election is being held it is a misdemeanor to bring intoxicating liquor or 3.2 percent malt liquor into a polling place, to drink intoxicating liquor or 3.2 percent malt liquor in a polling place, or to be intoxicated in a polling place. The election judges shall not permit an obviously intoxicated individual to vote or remain in the polling place for any purpose.

Subd. 8. Access for news media. The county auditor or municipal or school district clerk, or their designee, may, by written authorization, permit news media representatives to enter polling places for up to 15 minutes during voting hours to observe the voting process. A media representative must obtain prior authorization and present photo identification to the head election judge upon arrival at the polling place and must not otherwise:

(1) approach within six feet of an election judge or voter;

(2) converse with a voter while in the polling place;

(3) make a list of persons voting or not voting; or

(4) interview a voter within the polling place.

HIST: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 6; 1984 c 471 s 10; 1984 c 515 s 1; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 266 art 1 s 35; 1989 c 291 art 1 s 12; 1991 c 237 s 5; 1991 c 249 s 31; 1993 c 223 s 12; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 24

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