Minnesota will move from a presidential caucus to a presidential primary for the 2020 election. Gov. Mark Dayton signed the switch into law on Sunday. Under the new system, voters would make their February partisan presidential picks in an election run by the state, rather than in caucuses run by parties. Whether individual voters picked a Republican ballot or a Democratic one would become public, under the new law. But voters would not be bound in any way to their partisan picks in future elections nor would they have to register with any party in advance of the presidential primary.
Articles about voting issues in Minnesota.
After two decades of complaints about the Minnesota presidential caucus system, the state is moving swiftly to adopt a presidential primary. The state Senate overwhelmingly approved a presidential primary measure, which would negate the need for a presidential caucus in 2020. The House is following in the same vein and may give the measure a final vote on Friday. After a crush of people crowded into thousands of caucus sites across Minnesota in February, Minnesota voters, party leaders and others decided it was time to switch to a primary. “Despite the valiant efforts from thousands of volunteers, we also experienced some chaos,” Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, said of the 2016 caucus crush. Rest is the sponsor of the bill making the switch. Under the primary plan, parties would still have caucuses but the binding presidential preference vote would be held during a primary.
It was a hot issue a couple months ago. But with less than three weeks left in the 2016 session, Minnesota lawmakers have yet to pass a bill to establish a statewide presidential primary. Supporters of the proposed switch were hoping to strike quickly, while memories of packed March 1 precinct caucuses were still fresh. But a state Senate hearing Tuesday showed many questions remain about how a presidential primary would work. State Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, told members of the Senate Finance Committee that a new primary would allow more voters to participate in the presidential nomination process, either in-person or by absentee ballot. But Rest noted that the two major parties insisted on a key requirement.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton would like formerly imprisoned felons to be able to vote in Minnesota, he said Wednesday. “We should let people who have served their sentences, paid their debt to society, be given their chance to restore their active participation in our … democratic process,” the Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor said. With his comments, Dayton waded into a debate that has roiled the state and nation. On Tuesday, the Minnesota Senate approved a measure to allow felons to vote after they served their sentences. Last week, Virginia’s governor used his executive power to restore voting rights to felons who are on supervised release in that state. Other states have also grappled with laws that limit felons ability to vote evening after they have served their prison sentences.
Minnesota senators again went on record Tuesday in favor of restoring voting rights more quickly to felons no longer incarcerated, a plan that faces stiff opposition in the Republican-led House. Currently, felons must complete their parole and probation before regaining voting rights. Some 47,000 people would be affected by the proposal, supporters said. Voting by ex-inmates has been a prominent issue nationally, with Virginia’s governor using an executive order last week restoring voting rights for more than 200,000 felons in his state. Given resistance among House leadership, chances remain slim that the legislation will reach DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in the form the Senate approved it. Similar legislation won Senate approval last year but didn’t go any further.
Minnesota: Primary vs. caucus: State legislature, governor seem ready to make change | St, Paul Pioneer Press
After more than 321,000 Minnesotans stuffed themselves into schools, churches, fire halls, snowmobile groups and Lions Clubs across the state to take part in presidential picking last month, Capitol and party leaders, as well as many voters, decided it is time for a change. Within days of the March 1 caucuses, leaders and their constituents began clamoring for the state to move from a presidential caucus system to a presidential primary. The volume was too great, the lines were too long and the caucus sites too chaotic for the system to continue, supporters said. Despite bogging down on other issues, the Legislature and the governor appear ready to make the change. In both the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-Farmer-Labor controlled Senate, measures to change the 2020 presidential selection process into a primary are zipping along.
Irony alert: Election-reform bills proposed this session must pass through legislative panels led by lawmakers who’ve decided they aren’t going to run in the next election. The chairs of the House committee and Senate subcommittee overseeing proposed changes to Minnesota elections both said last month (before the March 1 precinct caucuses and the March 8 start of session) that they won’t be on the ballot for re-election in November. Rep. Tim Sanders, R-Blaine, chair of the House Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee, made his announcement in late February, and Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, chair of the Senate Rules and Administration Subcommittee on Elections, announced in early February.
A Minnesota House committee began the debate Wednesday about switching Minnesota to a presidential primary. Lawmakers began calling for the move after many precinct caucus sites were overwhelmed by heavier-than-expected turnout on March 1. Primary supporters say now is the time to make the change. But there are still a lot of Interest in this year’s presidential contest is running high, and lots of Minnesotans showed up at precinct caucuses to vote for their preferred candidates. It was record turnout for state Republicans and nearly a record for Democrats. But unlike a typical election, everyone had to arrive at roughly the same time, and that caused problems.
If you move in to a rented house or apartment in Minneapolis, you’ll soon be handed a packet of voter information along with the keys to your new place. Starting March 1, the city will require landlords to give all new tenants two documents: a voter registration information sheet and a voter registration application. Landlords can either hand out paper copies or send tenants a link to the website where the documents are posted online. The new ordinance was approved by the City Council in September. Council Member Jacob Frey, who introduced the idea, said the requirement is a simple way the city can reach more young people, people of color and other groups who move frequently and may miss out on registering to vote.
Right now, if a natural disaster or other major issue happens when Minnesotans head out to vote, there’s no emergency plan in place.Minnesota is now one step closer to being prepared for an election day emergency. The Elections Emergency Planning Task Force is a group of 14 members consisted of election officials, and experts when it comes to emergency planning. Over the course of six meetings last year, they made a few recommendations.