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.
Backers say moving to a primary would allow more Minnesotans to participate because voting would be permitted anytime during the primary election day, rather than just in the evening at caucuses, and through absentee or mail-in ballots.
In February, more than 321,000 Minnesotans turned out to have their say in caucuses. Some attendees were turned away because of the crowds, and others were struck by a lack of organization.