April 21, 2024

State seal clarifications reshape local government branding

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Jake Sias
Grant County Herald

In an effort to address recent confusion and misinformation surrounding the use of the Great Seal of the State of Minnesota, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office has taken steps to clarify its position and future actions in light of statewide directives. Aaron Wittnebel, Commissioner representing the Ojibwe Community and member of the State Emblems Redesign Commission, initiated this clarification through a detailed communication to District Three Sheriffs.

Wittnebel’s message aimed to rectify misunderstandings regarding the necessity and timeline for replacing the Great Seal on badges and vehicle decals. Specifically, he stated, “The only County Office that must change out the Great Seal starting on May 11, 2024, and prior to January 1, 2025, at 11:59 p.m., is the County Recorder.” He further elaborated that this requirement does not extend to other County Offices, as the use of the Great Seal is restricted to State Officials, including Notaries and Apostilles.

Highlighting the legal distinction between the seal’s components. The blazon, which is the portion of the seal that contains the major symbolism or imagery, and the annulus, the ring of lettering that specifies the authority the seal uses. Wittnebel clarified that while the blazon from the old seal can continue to be used by counties, the complete seal, which includes the annulus, is reserved for specific state functions. This clarification is crucial for county and city offices in understanding their rights and limitations regarding the seal’s use.

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