Candidates: Captioning

Minnesota Campaign Ad Captioning Law (2008)

Senator Ann Rest’s Video Explains the Law

In the Minnesota tradition of commitment to access, the 2008 Legislature passed a law requiring all candidates for office who file with the Campaign Finance Board to caption their online and television ads and post transcripts of their radio ads. Minnesota citizens who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing and who want to get information about candidates through campaign ads will now be able to do so.

In the following captioned video, Minnesota Senator Ann Rest demonstrates the power of captioning in creating accessibility. A transcript of the audio content with video descriptions is also available.

This video was produced by Senate Media Services and is used with permission.

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Transcript of Senator Ann Rest’s Video

[Woman speaking with captions.]

Hello. I’m Senator Ann Rest.

You were able to read my introduction to this video, but not hear it. The captioning allowed you to see what I said. Captioning closes the communication gap between voters who can hear and voters who are Deaf and hard of hearing. That’s 10% of all voters in Minnesota.

We passed a new law in the 2008 legislative session. Candidates who accept public funding for their campaigns must now caption their ads on TV and online. They also need to post scripts of their radio ads on their web sites.

With captioning and script posting, all potential voters with access to televisions or computers will be able to hear, or see, campaign ads. It’s easy and inexpensive. It’s the law. But more importantly, it’s also an opportunity for candidates to engage more voters in their campaigns for public office.

[Graphic – For information on vendors who provide this service and more, contact: Minnesota Campaign Finance Board www.cfboard.state.mn.us & Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans www.mncdhh.org]

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How to Comply with the Campaign Ad Captioning Law

What are the Captioning Requirements?

MNCDHH wants to help candidates comply with the campaign ad captioning law and get their messages across to all of Minnesota’s voters, including those who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing.

Minnesota Statute 10A.38 covers the captioning of campaign advertisements.

This law is governed by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

The Board has a PDF information sheet on captioning requirements for candidates who sign a public subsidy agreement.

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Captioning Resources in Minnesota

The U.S. Department of Education, in collaboration with the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP), maintains an Approved Captioning Service Vendors list which is available on the DCMP website.

As of December 2011, three Minnesota companies are on the Approved Captioning Service Vendors list. Their contact information is provided below as a public service.

  1. The Ads Group
    2155 Niagara Lane North
    Plymouth, MN 55447
    VOICE 800-759-0992
    FAX 763-449-5555
    E-MAIL Dan Piepho dan@power-house.com
    WEB http://www.power-house.com/ or http://www.theadsgroupdifference.com
  2. Armour Captioning
    920 Stryker Avenue
    West Saint Paul, MN 55118
    VOICE 651-457-6845
    E-MAIL John Armour john@armourcaption.com
    WEB http://www.armourcaptioning.com
  3. CaptionMax
    2438 27th Avenue South
    Minneapolis, MN 55406
    VOICE 612-341-3566
    FAX 612-341-2345
    E-MAIL Donna Horn donna@captionmax.com
    WEB http://www.captionmax.com

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Advocacy Resources for “Caption Your Ads – It’s the Law!”

How Can You Help Advocate for Captioned Ads?

MNCDHH and the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing community in Minnesota have been working together to help candidates comply with the campaign ad captioning law.

You can help in these ways:

  • learn about the campaign ad captioning law.
  • watch campaign ads to see which ones are not captioned.
  • contact the candidates and ask them to caption their campaign ads.
  • contact us for other ways to help.

Information to Help You Advocate for Captioned Ads

The Caption Campaign Ads advocacy website was set up in 2010 to help track the captioning of campaign ads in Minnesota.

This website also provides resources for both candidates and watchdogs. The resources available include the following:

  • Easy Captioning Primer is MNCDHH’s nifty free online course, “Video Captioning Essentials,” that teaches you how to caption your videos.
  • Facebook for Caption Campaign Ads – visit and click the “Like!” button to show your support.
  • Talking Points provides basic talking points on political captioning and the law. This is information that you can give to candidates to help them understand what they are supposed to do and why.
  • The Law gives you a quick introduction to the political captioning law in Minnesota.
  • Watchdogs gives you information on what to do about good and bad captioning.

MNCDHH also has a free online course, Making Your Case, that teaches you how to advocate for positive changes.

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