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Minnesota Legislature

Coercing candidates bill ‘unneeded’

Published (5/13/2010)
By Patty Ostberg
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Several White Bear Lake City Council candidates received an anonymous threatening e-mail message last year. The source claimed they would publish damaging information about the candidates if they continued to run for the council positions.

Sponsored by Rep. Paul Gardner (DFL-Shoreview) and Sen. Sandy Rummel (DFL-White Bear Lake), a bill that would have prohibited coercing a candidate running for office was vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty May 10.

Pawlenty said in his veto letter that the bill is “unneeded” because state law already addresses the “behavior this bill seeks to prohibit” through criminal penalties.

The bill would have made coercion an offense subject to an administrative hearings process under the Fair Campaign Practices Act. After a completed process, a person could also have faced criminal charges.

Current law prohibits someone from rewarding, or promising to reward an individual, for either becoming or not becoming a candidate. It is also illegal to threaten someone to get them to vote a certain way.

HF2510/ SF2226*/CH291

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