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S.F. No. 2985 - Establishing a Presidential Nomination Primary (Session Law, Chapter 162)
 
Author: Senator Ann H. Rest
 
Prepared By: Alexis C. Stangl, Senate Counsel (651/296-4397)
 
Date: May 31, 2016



 

Chapter 162 requires a presidential nomination primary in Minnesota to be held on a date jointly selected by the party chairs of the major political parties. There is a separate presidential nomination primary ballot for each party and each party determines which candidates will be placed on the ballot for that party.  Each voter must request the ballot of the party for whom they wish to vote. The party choice is recorded and becomes part of the voter public information list. The results of the presidential nomination primary bind the party election of delegates. The Secretary of State must reimburse counties and municipalities for the expense of conducting the presidential nomination primary.

Section 1. Public information lists. The voter public information list must include the party choice of any voter who voted in the most recent presidential nomination primary.

Section 2. Time and manner of holding; postponement. In the year of a presidential nomination primary, party caucuses cannot be held on the date of the presidential nomination primary or the date of the town general election. When the parties do not jointly submit a caucus date, the default date remains on the first Tuesday in February in a year when there is no presidential election; in a year with a presidential nomination primary, the default date is the Tuesday immediately prior to the presidential nomination primary.

Section 3. Preference ballot. Parties are no longer required to have a presidential preference ballot at party caucuses.

Sections 4, 5, and 6 make conforming changes.

Section 7. Permanent registration; verification of registration. At the presidential nomination primary, the polling place roster must include a statement that the voter agrees with the general principles of the party for which the voter plans to vote, and that the voter understands that his or her ballot party choice will be public information.

Section 8 makes a conforming change.

Section 9. Presidential nomination primary established. A presidential nomination primary must be held in each year when the president is elected. The party chairs must jointly submit the date on which the presidential nomination primary will be held. The presidential nomination primary must not be held on the date of the general town election. If a date is not jointly submitted, the default date is the first Tuesday in March.  No other election can be held on the date of the presidential nomination primary.  The Secretary of State, in consultation with the party chairs, must adopt rules to implement the presidential nomination primary.

Section 10. Conducting the presidential nomination primary. The presidential nomination primary is conducted in the same manner as the state primary unless otherwise provided. An individual must be registered to vote before voting in the presidential nomination primary. The voter must request the ballot of the party for whose candidate the voter wishes to vote. The election judge records the choice in the polling place roster. The county auditor must include the choice in the voter's history. Voter information prepared for a presidential nomination primary must inform the voter that his or her ballot party choice is public.  The Secretary of State must immediately notify the party chairs after the state canvassing board declares the results. The results of the presidential nomination primary must bind the party election of delegates.

Section 11. Form of ballots; candidates on ballot. This section prescribes the format of the ballot and provides the process for candidates to be placed on the ballot.

Subdivision 1. Form. Unless otherwise provided, the presidential nomination primary ballot is the same as the state primary ballot. There must be a separate ballot for each party. If requested by the party, the ballot for that party must include a place for a voter to indicate a preference for having delegates to the party's national convention remain uncommitted and a place to write-in a candidate.

Subdivision 2. Candidates on the ballot. Each party determines which candidates will be placed on the ballot for that party. The chair of each party must submit the names of the candidates to the Secretary of State no later than 63 days before the presidential nomination primary.  Changes cannot be made after the names are submitted.  No later than seven days before the presidential nomination primary, the chair of each party must submit the names of write-in candidates, if any, to be counted.

Section 12. Notice of presidential nomination primary; sample ballots. This section describes several required notices.

Subdivision 1. Notice of primary to counties and municipalities. Twenty weeks before the presidential nomination primary, the Secretary of State must notify the county auditor of the date of the presidential nomination primary. In turn, the county auditor must notify each municipal clerk in the county of the date of the presidential nomination primary.

Subdivision 2. Sample ballots. Seventy days before the presidential nomination primary, the Secretary of State must provide a sample ballot to each county auditor.

Subdivision 3. Notice of primary to public. At least fifteen days before the presidential nomination primary, each municipal clerk must post a public notice of the presidential nomination primary including the date, polling place, poll hours, and a notice that the voter's ballot party choice is public. The county auditor must post a notice for polling places in unorganized territory. The city or county may also publish notice, but is not required to do so. Failure to give notice does not invalidate the primary.

Section 13. Presidential Nomination Primary Election Expenses; Local Reimbursement. This section provides the method for counties and municipalities to be reimbursed for the expense of conducting the presidential nomination primary.

Subdivision 1. Presidential nomination primary elections account; special revenue fund. A presidential nomination primary elections account is created in the special revenue fund. By September 1 in the year before a presidential election, the Secretary of State must certify to the commissioner of management and budget the estimated state and local costs of administering the presidential nomination primary.  Within 15 days of the certification, the commissioner of management and budget must transfer the funds from the general fund to the presidential nomination primary elections account. The funds in the account are for state and local costs of administering the presidential nomination primary. If any funds remain in the account after the presidential nomination primary, the commissioner of management and budget must transfer the funds back to the general fund. 

Subdivision 2. Reimbursable local expenses. Counties and municipalities may be reimbursed for the specified types of expenses. Within 60 days after the results of the presidential nomination primary are canvassed, the county auditor and municipal clerk must submit to the Secretary of State a request for payment, along with supporting documentation. The Secretary of State must issue reimbursements within 90 days after the results of the presidential nomination primary are canvassed.

Section 14. Appropriation. A one-time appropriation of $111,000 from the general fund is added to the base appropriation of the Secretary of State in fiscal year 2019 for computer programming costs.

Section 15. Effective date. This act is effective on July 1, 2017.

ACS/syl

 
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