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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 many presidential electors does Minnesota have? What determines this number?
How does a person become a candidate to be chosen as a presidential elector in Minnesota?
What are the qualifications to serve as a presidential elector in Minnesota?
Do the names of the presidential elector candidates appear on the general election ballot?
Are the presidential elector candidates required to receive a majority of the votes cast (50%) in Minnesota?
What happens if no candidate receives a majority of the electoral votes cast for either President or Vice-President?
What happens after Election Day on November 8, 2016? How and when do the electors assemble and cast their ballots?
What happens to the presidential elector votes after the electors meet in St. Paul?
Are the presidential electors required to vote for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates that their party has nominated?
Would Congress count an electoral vote cast for an individual who was not a presidential or vice-presidential candidate?
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?
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Q: How many presidential electors does Minnesota have? What determines this number?
A:
Minnesota currently has 10 presidential electors. Article 2, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution of the United States provides that each state appoints a number of electors equal to the number of Senators and Representatives to which each state is entitled in Congress. Since Minnesota currently has eight U.S. Representatives and two U.S. Senators, the state is entitled to 10 electors. The number of electors can change after each decennial census when the number of U.S. Representatives elected by each state can change due to shifts in population.
Q: How does a person become a candidate to be chosen as a presidential elector in Minnesota?
A:

Major political parties: Minnesota's major political parties (currently the Independence, Republican, and Democratic-Farmer-Labor parties) nominate candidates for presidential elector by delegate conventions called and held under the supervision of the party’s state central committee. The state chair of a major party must certify to the Secretary of State the names of the persons nominated as presidential electors and the names of the party candidates for president and vice-president on or before the day of the primary. Minnesota Statutes 208.03

Minor political parties: A minor political party may nominate candidates for presidential elector by circulating a petition. The petition must list the names of the presidential elector candidates and the names of the candidates for president and vice-president. This petition must be signed by at least 2,000 individuals eligible to vote in Minnesota. Candidates for presidential elector must file their petitions on or before the day of the primary. Minnesota Statutes 204B.07, 204B.08, and 204B.09. In 2012, the Libertarian, Socialist Workers, Constitution, Constitutional Government, Green, Grassroots, Socialism & Liberation, and Justice parties filed petitions for presidential electors and candidates for president and vice president to be placed on the general election ballot.

Write-in candidates: An individual may file a "written request by write-in candidates for federal and state office." This form requests that all write-in votes cast for the candidate be counted. A write-in candidate for president must also state the name of at least one, but no more than ten, candidates for presidential electors. Minnesota Statutes 204B.09, and 208.04.

Q: What are the qualifications to serve as a presidential elector in Minnesota?
A:

The qualifications are set forth in the Constitution of the United States. Article 2, Section 1, Clause 2 provides that "no Senator or Representative, or person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector."

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment also states that "No person shall be...elector of President or Vice-President...who, having previously taken an oath...to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability."

Q: Do the names of the presidential elector candidates appear on the general election ballot?
A:
No. The names of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates appear on the ballot, but not the names of presidential elector candidates. Minnesota Statutes 208.04
Q: Are the presidential elector candidates required to receive a majority of the votes cast (50%) in Minnesota?
A:
No. The presidential electors pledged to support the presidential and vice-presidential ticket that receives the most votes in Minnesota are certified as the official presidential electors for Minnesota. The winning slate of electors is only required to receive more votes in Minnesota than any other slate of electors. A majority (50% plus one vote) is not required for an elector to be elected.
Q: What happens if no candidate receives a majority of the electoral votes cast for either President or Vice-President?
A:
The U.S. Constitution sets forth special procedures for the U.S. House of Representatives to choose the next President, and for the U.S. Senate to choose the next Vice President. See the U.S. Electoral College Home Page for details about these procedures.
Q: What happens after Election Day on November 8, 2016? How and when do the electors assemble and cast their ballots?
A:

On or before November 18, 2016, each county will convene a Canvassing Board to officially count the votes cast for all candidates in that county. These returns will then be forwarded to the Secretary of State. On November 29, 2016, the Secretary of State will convene the State Canvassing Board, which will count the votes cast for the presidential electors. The State Canvassing Board will declare the persons receiving the highest number of votes for this office to be duly elected.

The Governor will then transmit a certificate of election, signed by the Governor and countersigned by the Secretary of State, to each presidential elector. Minnesota Statutes 208.05.

The presidential electors meet before noon at the State Capitol Building in St. Paul, on a day fixed by Congress (Monday, December 19, 2016). The Governor will then deliver to them a certificate of the names of all the electors. If an elector fails to appear by 9:00 a.m., the other electors will "elect by ballot a person to fill the vacancy." The electors shall notify the Governor who has been elected to fill any vacancy.

The presidential electors then meet at noon "in the executive chamber at the state capitol" and cast a ballot for president, and a separate ballot for vice-president. Minnesota Statutes 208.06, 208.07, and 208.08.

Q: What happens to the presidential elector votes after the electors meet in St. Paul?
A:

Federal law requires that copies of the "Certificate of Votes Cast" by Minnesota presidential electors be sent to the Vice President (as President of the United States Senate), to the National Archives, to the senior federal district court judge, and to the Secretary of State of Minnesota. If the certificate sent to the Vice-President were to be lost in transit, one of the copies sent elsewhere would be substituted.

The electoral votes of each state are counted in a joint session of the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives in early January 2017.

After the electoral votes from all states are counted, the Vice-President of the United States declares the candidates receiving a majority of the electoral votes cast in all the states to be President-elect and Vice President-elect. The President-elect and Vice President-elect take their oaths of office for four year terms beginning at noon on January 20, 2017, as specified in the Twentieth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Q: Are the presidential electors required to vote for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates that their party has nominated?
A:

No. An elector can cast a ballot for any individual, whether or not the individual was that party's candidate for the office. This has happened several times in other states in recent years.  (In West Virginia, 1988, a Democratic Party elector reversed the ticket and voted for Lloyd Bentsen for President and Michael Dukakis for Vice-President; Washington State, 1976, a Republican Party elector voted for Ronald Reagan for President, although Gerald Ford was the Republican nominee that year; Virginia, 1972, a Republican Party elector voted for John Hospers and Theodora Nathan, the Libertarian presidential ticket.)

In 2004, a Minnesota elector pledged for John Kerry and John Edwards, cast his or her presidential vote for John Ewards [sic], rather than John Kerry, presumably by accident.  (All of Minnesota's electors cast their vice presidential ballots for John Edwards.)  Minnesota's electors cast secret ballots, so unless one of the electors claims responsibility, it is unlikely that the identity of the faithless elector will ever be known. 

As a result of this incident, Minnesota Statutes were amended to provide for public balloting of the electors' votes and invalidation of a vote cast for someone other than the candidate to whom the elector is pledged.

Q: Would Congress count an electoral vote cast for an individual who was not a presidential or vice-presidential candidate?
A:
Congress has always counted electoral votes for individuals who were not candidates, with one exception: if a candidate cannot meet (or no longer meets) the Constitutional requirements to serve in the office, Congress has voided electoral votes cast for that person. This last occurred in 1872 when Horace Greeley, the Democratic Party presidential candidate died after Election Day, but before the electoral votes were counted. Although Greeley received some electoral votes, Congress declared them void.
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

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