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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are all FAQs. To select a specific topic click on the down arrow under "Please Choose a Category."

How do candidates for president and vice president get on the ballot in Minnesota?
May write-in votes be counted for presidential and vice-presidential candidates?
Is there a statewide primary for president and vice president in Minnesota?
What is the difference between certified and non-certified copies?
Can someone's right to vote be challenged because of his or her physical appearance or accent?
How do I file an Express Filing?
How do I dissolve my business?
What is the process involved in recalling an elected state officer?
How many people living in Minnesota are Safe at Home participants?
How do I place an order for business copies or certificates?
What if I made an error while entering my annual registration?
How does service of process work for Safe at Home participants?
How do I contact someone if my questions aren't answered here?
How do I file my business document?
How can I verify money transactions through my Direct Access Account?
How do I submit a copy or certificate request?
How do I submit a business filing?
What information is contained in each type of report?
What are best practices for law enforcement?
How do I know you received my request?
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Q: How do candidates for president and vice president get on the ballot in Minnesota?
A:

The method for gaining ballot access for president and vice president depends on whether the candidate is affiliated with one of the three major parties in Minnesota. For major party presidential candidates, their ten electors are to be nominated at delegate conventions under the supervision of the party’s state central committee. At least 71 days before the state general election (August 29, 2016), the chair of a major political party shall certify to the secretary of state the names of persons nominated as presidential electors and the names of the party candidates for president and vice-president. (M.S. 208.03)

Minor party and independent presidential electors must be nominated by petition. The names of the candidates for president and vice-president must be added to the political party or political principle stated on the nominating petition. (M.S. 204B.07, subd. 2) At least 2,000 valid signatures of eligible voters are required on the petition. Signatures for the nominating petition may not be gathered until the first day of the filing period (May 17, 2016). (M.S. 204B.08) Nominating petitions with the required signatures must be filed with the Office of Secretary of State at least 77 days before the state general election (August 23, 2016). (M.S. 204B.09, subd. 1(c) )

-Nominating Petition (Presidential Electors) (print on 8.5" x 14" (legal size) paper)
-Example Nominating Petition (Presidential Electors)

See Filing Periods for specific dates for a given year.

Q: May write-in votes be counted for presidential and vice-presidential candidates?
A:
Yes. The candidate must file a written request with the Office of Secretary of State to count write-in votes no later than the seventh day prior to the general election (November 1, 2016). A candidate who files a request must include the name of a vice-presidential candidate. The request must include the name of at least one candidate for presidential elector. The total number of names of candidates for presidential elector on the request may not exceed the total number of electoral votes (10) to be cast by Minnesota in the presidential election (M.S. 204B.09, subd. 3).
Q: Is there a statewide primary for president and vice president in Minnesota?
A:
No. The presidential primary law was repealed in 1999. At the state political party precinct caucuses, participants may vote on a preference ballot for presidential candidates. (M.S. 202A.18, subd. 2a.) The 2016 precinct caucuses are currently scheduled to be held on February 2, 2016.  (M.S. 202A.14)
Q: What is the difference between certified and non-certified copies?
A:
A certified document is a duplicate copy with a certification stamp on the last page of the document.  Non-certified copies are a duplicate copy of what is on record for the document requested.
Q: Can someone's right to vote be challenged because of his or her physical appearance or accent?
A:
No. Challengers cannot challenge a voter’s registration simply on a whim. Challengers must have personal knowledge that the voter is not eligible to vote and must sign an oath attesting to the validity of their claim.
Q: How do I file an Express Filing?
A:

Select the PDF form. Complete the entire form and save it to your computer, before uploading the form for filing. It is important to note that the document file size must be less than 2 megabytes. The file name must be 10 characters or less and contain no punctuation, spaces or special characters.

If a PDF form is not available for your filing type, you may upload a document that you have created directly for filing in a .pdf format.

Please note a typed name at the bottom of the form, in the usual space for the signature, satisfies the legal requirement for a signature (for filings requiring signatures).

Filing Instructions for filing online with PDF form:

  • Click on the link to the fillable PDF form.
  • Open and complete the information on the form.
  • After you have completed, save it to your computer.
  • Close the form, by clicking on [File] and select [Close] from the drop down menu.
  • You must now upload your form to complete the filing process.

Instructions for Uploading a PDF Document:

  • Upload the filing form PDF you just created by clicking on the [Upload file] button.
  • Enter the required information and click [Continue] to review your filing information.
  • Review the information you provided and click [Submit Filing].
  • Click [Continue to US Bank] if your filing requires a fee.
  • After the filing process is complete (and your payment has been confirmed, if you paid a fee), you will receive an email confirming your filing.

If you have questions, please call: 651-296-2803 (Metro Area); 1-877-551-6767 (toll-free); or Minnesota Relay Service: 711, or Email: business.services@state.mn.us.

Q: How do I dissolve my business?
A:
File online or select the appropriate form(s) for dissolution from our website, Business & Nonprofit Forms.
Q: What is the process involved in recalling an elected state officer?
A:

(Please note:  A recall election may not occur fewer than six months before the end of the term of the elected state officer.). 

Step 1:  A proposed petition to recall an elected state officer (“Proposed Recall Petition”) stating the specific grounds upon which the state officer is sought to be recalled and a complete synopsis (summary) of the specific facts that are alleged to warrant (justify) recall on those grounds must be signed by 25 or more persons who are eligible voters residing within the area served by the official. (Blank sample petitions are available from the Secretary of State or on the Secretary of State’s web site, at the Petitions webpage) (Minnesota Statutes §211C.04)

Step 2:  The petitioners must file the Proposed Recall Petition with the Secretary of State along with a $100.00 filing fee.  The petition must designate in writing no more than three individuals among the signers to represent all petitioners in matters relating to the recall. (Minnesota Rule 8205.2000)

Step 3:  The Secretary of State verifies that the Proposed Recall Petition contains at least 25 valid signatures.  (Minnesota Statutes §211C.04; Minnesota Rule 8205.2010)

Step 4:  If fewer than 25 valid signatures, the Proposed Recall Petition is dismissed by the Secretary of State.  If the Proposed Recall Petition satisfies all requirements, the Secretary of State shall immediately notify in writing the State Officer named and forward the Proposed Recall Petition to the Clerk of Appellate Courts.  (Minnesota Statutes §211C.04)

Step 5:  Upon receiving the Proposed Recall Petition from the Secretary of State, the Clerk of Appellate Courts shall submit it immediately to the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court (“Chief Justice”).  (Minnesota Statutes §211C.05, subdivision 1)

Step 6:  The persons proposing the Proposed Recall Petition provide materials supporting the petition to the Chief Justice (or designee).  (Minnesota Statutes § 211C.05, subdivision 1)

Step 7:  The officer who is named in the Proposed Recall Petition may submit materials in opposition to the Chief Justice (or designee).  (Minnesota Statutes §211C.05, subdivision 1)

Step 8:  The Chief Justice (or designee) shall review the Proposed Recall Petition to determine whether it alleges specific facts that, if proven, would constitute grounds for recall under the Minnesota Constitution, Article VIII, Section 6; and Minnesota Statutes §211C.02

Step 9:  If the Proposed Recall Petition does not allege specific facts that, if proven, would constitute grounds for recall, the Chief Justice (or designee) shall immediately issue an order dismissing the Proposed Recall Petition and indicating the reason for dismissal.

If the Proposed Recall Petition does allege specific facts that, if proven, would constitute grounds for recall, the Chief Justice (or designee) shall assign the case to a special master (an active Judge or retired Judge) for a public hearing. (Minnesota Statutes §211C.05, subdivision 1)

Step 10:  The special master holds a public hearing on the allegations of the Proposed Recall Petition must be held within 21 days after the issuance of the order assigning the case to a special master (Minnesota Statutes §211C.05, subdivision 2)

Step 11:  Within seven days after the end of the public hearing, the special master must report to the Supreme Court:

“(1) Whether the persons proposing the petition have shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the factual allegations supporting the petition are true; and

(2) If so, whether the persons proposing the petition have shown that the facts found to be true are sufficient grounds for issuing a recall petition.”

“If the special master determines that these standards have been met, the report must include a statement of specific facts and grounds for the recall petition” (Minnesota Statutes §211C.05, subdivision 2)

Step 12:  Within 20 days, the Supreme Court shall review the report of the special master and make a decision:

If the Supreme Court decides that the standard expressed in Minnesota Statutes §211C.05, subdivision 2 has not been met the Supreme Court shall dismiss the Proposed Recall Petition.  (If the Supreme Court dismisses a petition under this section because the persons proposing the petition have acted in bad faith in violation of Minnesota Statutes §211C.09, the Supreme Court may assess the persons proposing the petition for reasonable costs of conducting the proceeding.)

If the Supreme Court decides that the standard has been met the court shall prescribe, by order to the Secretary of State, the statement of the specific facts and grounds that must appear on the petition for recall issued under section 211C.06.  (Minnesota Statutes §211C.05, subdivision 3)

Step 13:  Upon receipt of the order from the Supreme Court, the Secretary of State shall issue a Recall Petition.  (Minnesota Statutes §211C.06)

Step 14:  The Recall Petition is circulated.  Petitioners must collect signatures of eligible voters who reside in the district where the officer serves equal to at least 25 percent of the number of votes cast for the office at the most recent general election.  (Minnesota Constitution, Article VIII, Section 6)

Step 15:  The Recall Petition must be filed with Secretary of State within 90 days after the date of issuance.  (Minn. Stat. §211C.06)

Step 16:  Upon the filing of the Recall Petition, the Secretary of State verifies the numbers and eligibility of the signers.

If the Secretary of State determines that a Recall Petition has been signed by a sufficient number of eligible voters, the Secretary of State certifies the Recall Petition and immediately notifies, in writing, the governor, the petitioners, and the state officer named in the Recall Petition.

If the Recall Petition is not signed by a sufficient number of eligible voters, the Secretary of State dismisses the petition.  (Minnesota Statutes §211C.06)

Step 17:  Within five days of receiving certification of a petition, the Governor issues a Writ calling for a recall election unless the election cannot be held before the deadline specified in the Minnesota Constitution, Article VIII, section 6 (i.e. six months before the end of the officer’s term)  (Minnesota Constitution Article VII, section 6; Minnesota Statutes §211C.07)

Step 18:  A recall election is held, and the results canvassed and returned, in the manner provided by law for the state general election:

A question will appear on the ballot giving the voters a yes or no choice on whether or not to recall the elected state officer.  If a majority of the votes cast in a recall election favor the removal of the state officer, the state officer is removed from office as of the date the election results are certified and the office is vacant. If a voter casts a blank ballot it will have the effect of being a no vote.  (Minnesota Statutes §211C.07)

 

 

 

Q: How many people living in Minnesota are Safe at Home participants?
A:
As of December 31, 2012, there were more than 1200 active Safe at Home participants. Since Safe at Home began on September 1, 2007, the program had served more than 2200 Minnesota citizens. 
Q: How do I place an order for business copies or certificates?
A:
We provide four options to obtain business copies and certificates:
  1. Online Services:  Order Business Certificate or Copies Online.  Visa, MasterCard or Discover is accepted for payment.  There is a $10.00 service fee in addition to the certificate or copy fee.
  2. Walk-In Service:  Processed while you wait.  
  3. Mail:  Complete the certificate and copy request form and include a check with the applicable fee payable to the MN Secretary of State.

Mail or Walk-In Service:
Minnesota Secretary of State
Attn:  Certification
Retirement Systems of Minnesota Building
60 Empire Drive, Suite 100
Saint Paul,  MN 55103-2141
(Staffed 8:00 - 4:00, Monday - Friday, excluding holidays)

Business Certificate and Copy Fee Schedule

Q: What if I made an error while entering my annual registration?
A:
You can wait until the following year when your annual renewal is due and update the information at that time.  If you want the change made immediately, you can file Articles of Amendment or if an error was made in the initial filing, Articles of Correction.  A fee is required for Articles of Amendment or Articles of Correction and can be done online.
Q: How does service of process work for Safe at Home participants?
A:

When people join Safe at Home they assign the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State as their agent to receive service of process. A participant's real residential address should not be used for service of process purposes.

For service of any legal documents by First Class Mail, including Certified Mail:

Envelopes containing documents to be served by mail, including writs, notices, motions, orders, judgments, demands, summons, subpoenas, or any other legal documents, must be clearly marked "Service of Process" on their exterior. This will ensure proper record-keeping of service received. The envelope should be addressed to the program participant at the designated address and should include the lot number. Certified Mail without the name and complete address, including the lot number, will not be accepted by the program.

For service of process in person:

If you choose to serve the documents in person, please serve the documents upon the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. Clearly mark the exterior of the envelope containing the documents "Service of Process," and include the participant's name and complete address, including the lot number. No fee will be charged for accepting service. 

Serve the documents between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm in care of the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State at the following address:

State Office Building, Room 180
100 Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Q: How do I contact someone if my questions aren't answered here?
A:
Submit your question about Voter Information Requests to listrequest.sos@state.mn.us. We will respond as quickly as possible.
Q: How do I file my business document?
A:

File your business document online.   
Visa, Mastercard and Discover are acceptable payment methods.   

You may also file In-Person or Mail your documents to:
Minnesota Secretary of State - Business Services
Retirement Systems of Minnesota Building
60 Empire Drive, Suite 100
Saint Paul,  MN 55103
(Staffed 8:00 - 4:00, Monday - Friday, excluding holidays)
Cash or Check are acceptable payment methods.

Q: How can I verify money transactions through my Direct Access Account?
A:

Direct Access Subscribers can view their account activity at any time for transactions that are paid by using your client account account.

Steps to view your on-line transaction:

  • Log into the Direct Access System
  • Click on the Account Link.
  • Select View Account Activity.
  • Access your transactions by entering a date range.

Tips:

  • Same day transactions will appear in pending transactions.
Q: How do I submit a copy or certificate request?
A:

Go to Minnesota Business and Lien System and follow the instructions provided.

Q: How do I submit a business filing?
A:
Go to Minnesota Business and Lien System and follow the instructions provided.
Q: What information is contained in each type of report?
A:

 

Detailed History

Summary History

Walking List

Voter Mailing Labels

Household Mailing Labels

Name

X

X

X

X

RV

Address

X

X

X

X

X

Voter ID

X

X

 

 

 

Legacy ID

X

X

 

 

 

Phone

X

X

  X 

 

 

Birth Year

X

X

 X

 

 

Election Date

X

X

 X

 

 

Election Description

X

 

 

 

 

Election Type

X

X

 X

 

 

Voting Method

X

 

 

 

 

Precinct Code

X

X

 

 

 

District Codes

X

 

 

 

 

County

X

X

 

 

 

RV - Household Mailing Labels include one label for every residential address where there is at least one registered voter.  All labels are addressed to "Registered Voters."

Q: What are best practices for law enforcement?
A:
For a printable, two-page summary of Safe at Home best practices for law enforcement, click here Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=11681.                                    
Q: How do I know you received my request?
A:

You will receive a confirmation email once your document is filed or your business order request is completed.

If you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact us at business.services@state.mn.us or call our Business Information Lines at 651-296-2803 or toll free at 1-877-551-6767, between 9:00 a.m. & 4:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday (excluding holidays).

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