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Rules for challengers


Minnesota law allows you to challenge another voter’s eligibility if you have personal knowledge that the voter isn't eligible to vote there.

Who can be a challenger? 

  • An election judge
  • An eligible voter from the same precinct as the voter being challenged
  • An appointed challenger (see more below)

 

What is the challenger's role? 

The only action a challenger may take is to contest a voter’s eligibility, if and only if they have personal knowledge of that voter’s ineligibility. Suspicion is not a basis for making a challenge. The challenger must personally know that a specific person is not eligible to vote for a specific reason.

Minnesota Statutes 204C.07 and Minnesota Statutes 204C.12 address challenges to voters. 

Is a challenger a poll watcher?

No. The only action a challenger may take is to contest a voter’s eligibility, if and only if they have personal knowledge of that voter’s ineligibility.

Minnesota law does not authorize poll watchers. For a complete list of who's allowed to be present in a polling place, see Minnesota Statutes 204C.06.

 

Appointed challengers

Political parties and/or nonpartisan candidates can appoint one challenger per precinct, who may remain in the polling place for the day. Only one challenger for each candidate, party or ballot question is allowed in the polling place at any given time.

  • Partisan appointments — Major political parties can appoint voters who are residents of Minnesota from that party to act as challengers.

  • Nonpartisan appointments — Nonpartisan candidates can appoint voters who are residents of Minnesota to act as challengers at the polling place for each precinct.

  • Ballot question appointments — Upon receiving a written petition signed by at least 25 eligible voters, the mayor of a city, school board of a school district, or board of supervisors of a town shall appoint one voter who is a resident of Minnesota for each precinct.

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR APPOINTED CHALLENGERS

  • Present the head election judge their written appointment from a political party or a nonpartisan candidate (appointments cannot be made by partisan candidates). Appointments must be made in writing.

  • Prove their Minnesota residence by presenting one of the proofs of residence accepted for Election Day registration. Challengers are not required to prove residence in the precinct where they are appointed.

  • A challenger cannot speak to the voter, and should only speak to the election judge when initiating a challenge. All challenges must be made in writing.

  • Challengers cannot be disruptive, handle or inspect voter registration applications, files or lists. They cannot make lists of who did or did not vote.

  • Challengers cannot take photos within the polling place.

  • Challengers cannot go within six feet of the ballot counter.

  • Challengers cannot attempt to influence voting.

  • Challengers cannot compile lists of voters to challenge on the basis of mail sent by a political party that was returned as undeliverable or if receipt by the intended recipient was not acknowledged in the case of registered mail.