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S.F. No. 1205 - Establishing a Presidential Primary; Moving Primary Elections to March
Author: Senator Julianne E. Ortman
Prepared By: Alexis C. Stangl, Senate Counsel (651/296-4397)
Date: March 18, 2015


S.F. No. 1205 establishes a presidential primary in Minnesota.  This bill also moves the primary election to the last Tuesday in March.  Moving the primary date requires conforming changes to the election timeline, found in sections 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20.

Section 1 requires delegates who are pledged to a specific candidate to vote for that candidate at a party convention unless the candidate withdraws or releases the delegate.

Section 2 makes a conforming change about filing for the presidential primary.

Section 7 requires the state primary to be held on the last Tuesday in March. The presidential primary must be held in conjunction with the state primary.

Section 9 makes a conforming change to the date of the primary for a U.S. Senate seat vacancy.

Section 10 establishes a presidential primary, which is held on the last Tuesday in March in a year when a president and vice president are to be elected. Voters may vote for a candidate, the party’s nomination, or for uncommitted delegates. The presidential primary is conducted in the same manner as the state primary.

Section 11 provides for placing candidates on the ballot.

Subdivision 1 requires candidates to be placed in the column representing the candidate’s party on the primary ballot in the order in which they filed an affidavit or petition. An individual who files an affidavit of candidacy or who is nominated by petition must be placed on the ballot. The ballot must be designed so that a voter may vote for uncommitted delegates, or for a write-in candidate.

Subdivision 2 establishes the filing period for an affidavit of candidacy to begin not more than 84 days and not less than 70 days before the primary. The filing fee is $500. The period for signing nominating petitions begins 16 weeks before the primary and ends ten weeks before the primary.

Subdivision 3 requires the Secretary of State to announce the candidates that have filed an affidavit of candidacy or nominating petition the day after the filing period closes.

Subdivision 4 requires the Secretary of State to certify to each county auditor the names of all candidates in the presidential primary at least seven weeks before the primary.

Subdivision 5 requires the Secretary of State, within three days after the last day to file a nominating petition, to notify candidates that their name will be on the primary ballot unless the individual submits an affidavit stating the reason they should not be on the primary ballot.

Section 12 provides for the selection of delegates for the national convention.

Subdivision 1 requires delegates to the national party conventions to be apportioned among the various candidates of the party that received votes in the primary in proportion to the vote totals. The Secretary of State must certify to the state chair of each political party the number of delegates to which each presidential candidate is entitled.

Subdivision 2 requires delegates to the national convention to be chosen by the state convention or congressional district convention. The secretary of each party must notify the Secretary of State the names of the delegate chosen as supporters of each presidential candidate.

Subdivision 3 requires delegates at the national convention to vote for the candidate they support on the first ballot unless they have been released by the candidate. This subdivision does not apply if it is inconsistent with party rules.

Section 21 provides that the bill is effective the day following final enactment.


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