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Candidate Campaign Ads: Captioning is the Law

The Minnesota legislature passed the Campaign Ad Captioning Law (external link) in 2008. All state candidates who accept a public subsidy are required to:

  • caption their online and televised ads and
  • post transcripts of their radio ads

This law provides equal access to voters who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. Deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing people make up 20% of the population. Voters need access to their candidates' platform in order to make a self-informed decision about their votes.

Are you a member of the public who has noticed that a candidate needs to make his or her ads accessible? Notify candidates of their responsibility and share this page with them. Additionally, you may contact MNCDHH and let us know of campaign ads that should be closed captioned. 

Minnesota Captioning Legislation Video

Senator Ann Rest is featured in a video that explains about the Campaign ad Captioning Law. This video was produced by Senate Media Services (external link) and is shared with permission.

Information for Candidates

Are you a candidate, or do you work for a candidate, who is running for public office? We encourage you to review the Closed Captioning Requirements for Candidates Who Sign a Public Subsidy Agreement (PDF) distributed by the Campaign Finance Board (external link). 

Do not worry. It is easy to be accessible by providing closed captioning and transcripts. We can guide you to the right path. There are two options.

  • You, or someone on your campaign team, can do it yourself (DIY) or
  • You can hire someone to add captions for you

DIY

First, you can sign up for a free online training course. MNCDHH created a popular training course called Video Captioning Essentials (external link). 

Is your content posted on YouTube? YouTube has several excellent tutorials on how to add captioning to your ads. We recommend this video:

For fun, this is a blog entry written by Digiterp Communications (external link) on How to Caption ASL Videos Using YouTube (external link). You can use the instructions in this video to caption English content as well.  

If you post videos on Vimeo, they have a page dedicated to Captions and Subtitles (external link):

Hire Out

Vendors can add closed captioning to your videos for you. Their rates vary. The Described and Captioned Media Program, which is provided by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of the Deaf, has a list of captioning service vendors (external link). You will have to contact the vendors to learn more about their services.  

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