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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

Presidential Ballot Access and Election Process


A person must be a natural born citizen of the United States, be at least 35 years of age, and have been a resident of the United States for at least 14 years to be qualified to be President of the United States. (The Constitution of the United States of America, Article II, Section 1)

Ballot Access 

Major Political Party Candidates
For Major Political Party candidates, their ten electors and alternates are to be “nominated by delegate conventions called and held under the supervision of the respective state central committees of the parties…” (M.S. §208.03) This process starts with the Precinct Caucuses. For specific information on the internal process in each political party you should contact that particular Major Political Party.

Candidates for President and Vice President of the United States do not need to file an Affidavit of Candidacy (M.S. §204B.06, subd. 4) or pay a filing fee. (M.S. §204B.11, subd. 1) At least 71 days before the State General Election Day (August 29, 2016), the chair of the major political party shall certify to the secretary of state the names of the persons nominated as presidential electors. The chair of the major political party shall also certify the names of alternate presidential electors, and names of the party candidates for president and vice president. (M.S. §208.03).

Non-Major Political Party Candidates
Candidates of Minor Political Parties, other political parties, or Independents must file by Nominating Petition to get their name placed on the ballot. (M.S. §204B.07, subd. 2) Candidates must obtain 2,000 signatures of individuals who are eligible to vote for the candidate being nominated. (M.S. §204B.08) Candidates for President and Vice President of the United States do not need to file an Affidavit of Candidacy (M.S. §204B.06, subd. 4) or pay a filing fee. (M.S. §204B.11, subd. 1). The Nominating Petition must be filed at least 77 days before State General Election Day (August 23, 2016). The first day signatures may be collected is the first day of the filing period (May 17, 2016). (M.S. §204B.08) “On petitions nominating presidential electors or alternates, the names of the candidates for president and vice-president shall be added to the political party or political principal stated on the petition. One petition may be filed to nominate a slate of presidential electors equal in number to the number of electors to which the state is entitled and an alternate for each elector nominee.” (M.S. §204B.07, subd. 2)

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

Write-In Candidates
For write-in votes to be counted, a candidate for President of the United States must have filed a written request with the office of the Minnesota secretary of state by the seventh day before the General Election (November 1, 2016). (M.S. §204B.09, subd. 3(b))

Frequently Asked Questions about Presidential Ballot Access
Frequently Asked Questions about Petition Signatures
Petition Rules

Election Process

Presidential Electors
Each party with a presidential candidate, or a write-in presidential candidate, on the Minnesota General Election ballot will submit a list of electors (major party candidates by certification; non-major party candidates on the nominating petition; and write-ins on the write-in registration form).

State Canvassing Board
The state canvassing board meets on the third Tuesday after the state general election (November 29, 2016). (M.S. §204C.33) At that meeting the board will open and canvass the returns made to the secretary of state for presidential electors and alternates, prepare a statement of the number of votes cast for the persons receiving votes for these offices, and declare the person or persons receiving the highest number of votes for each office duly elected. (M.S. §208.05)

Governor Notification of Electors
"The governor shall transmit to each person declared elected a Certificate of Election, signed by the governor, sealed with the state seal and countersigned by the secretary of state.” (M.S. §208.05)

Electors Meet at Capitol to Vote
On the day before the day fixed by congress for the electors to vote for president and vice president the electors shall notify the governor that they are at the state capitol and ready to fulfill their duties as electors at the proper time. (M.S. §208.06) The governor shall deliver a certificate of the names of all the electors to the electors present. (M.S. §208.06) On the day fixed by congress to vote for President and Vice President (December 19, 2016) the electors shall meet at 12:00 PM in the executive chamber of the state capitol and shall perform all the duties imposed upon them as electors by the constitution and laws of the United States and the state of Minnesota. As a condition of having been chosen under the name of the party of a presidential and vice presidential candidate the electors are obligated to vote for those candidates. (M.S. §208.46)

Additional Resources:
List of 2012 Presidential Electors (PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions about Presidential Electors

Last updated: 11/9/2015 12:30:12 PM