Crane Lake Township

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3/3/20 Pres. Primary

As you may or may not be aware, the process for voting in Minnesota for which candidate you want to be your party’s nominee for president has changed this year.  On March 3, you will have the opportunity to vote in the first Presidential Nomination Primary held in Minnesota since 1992.

Since 1992, the vote was taken as part of party caucus events.  In 2016, legislation was passed establishing a Presidential Nomination Primary (PNP).  This primary is an additional statewide election that will be held in years in which a president and vice president are to be nominated and elected (every four years).   The Presidential Nomination Primary has requirements and procedures that differ from state primary elections.  Here’s what you should know:

Only presidential candidates from a major party will appear on the Presidential Primary ballot; all other offices with a primary will be on the Primary ballot in August.  Both the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and the Republican Party will be participating in this primary.    

Instead of one ballot that contains all of the offices and candidates, each party participating in the Presidential Nominating Primary will have a ballot specific to their party.  Because of this, voters must declare their party preference prior to receiving a ballot.  A voter’s choice of party ballot will be recorded and is private data. However, be aware that a list of who voted in a presidential nomination primary and the political party each voter selected will be provided to the chair of each major political party by the Minnesota Secretary of State, as required by Minnesota Statute 201.091, Subdivision 4a. How a voter voted on their ballot will be secret.   If a voter refuses to select a party, they will not be able to vote in the Presidential Nomination Primary. 

Registered voters will be able to vote at their polling place on presidential primary day or by absentee ballot starting on January 17, 2020. If you are an unregistered voter, you can preregister to vote in the election prior to February 11, 2020 or you can register at your polling place on election day. 

The Democratic Farmer Labor Party will have an “uncommitted” option on their ballot.  If you select this option, you are telling the party that they wish for the delegates to be sent to their national nominating convention without being “bound” to cast their vote(s) for any one of their party’s candidates.  If you would like further information about your party’s choosing of delegates and/or their national nominating convention, please speak with your party’s representatives. 

The Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office estimates that it will cost approximately $11.9 million to administer the Presidential Nomination Primary statewide.  Costs associated with the election are reimbursed to counties and municipalities.  Current election law specific to the Presidential Nominating Primary can be found in Minnesota Statutes Chapter 207A and Minnesota Rules Chapter 8215.

One final and important note – while the Presidential Nomination Primary replaces preferential polls that previously were conducted at precinct caucus meetings, precinct caucus meetings will still be held on February 25, 2020.