Presidential candidate Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence will be on the ballot in Minnesota, even after the state’s DFL party argued their names should be removed.
Just last week, Minnesota DFL Chair Ken Martin filed a petition to the Minnesota Supreme Court arguing the Minnesota Republican Party made “clear errors” during the nomination process. And because of those errors, Trump and Pence shouldn’t be on the ballot.
On Monday, the state’s Supreme Court basically said no – and dismissed the DFL’s petition succinctly. You can read the six-page order here.
Why the decision?
Martin and the DFL’s argument had to do with choosing and submitting names.
Minnesota law requires that political parties – during their state conventions, which were held in May and June this year – select:
- candidates for president and vice president
- 10 presidential electors
- and 10 alternate presidential electors
Those names then must be submitted to the Minnesota Secretary of State by a certain deadline (this year it was Aug. 29).
But the DFL’s petition argued the Republicans violated state law by failing to select alternate presidential electors at their convention in May, instead selecting alternate electors in a closed-door meeting.
Interestingly enough, the Supreme Court’s order didn’t really address this as the reason for dismissing the petition.
Instead, the order says Martin waited way too long to file the petition (a term apparently called “laches”). Martin had argued he didn’t realize the Republicans’ mistake until Aug. 25, and after that needed time to do the proper legal research.
But the order says they can’t agree that a two-week delay in filing the petition was “reasonable.”
Complicating matters further: Early voting in Minnesota starts Sept. 23, and about 1 million ballots have already been printed. So a decision had to be made soon, and the consequences of the decision taken into account.
Reaction from the DFL, Republicans
Martin, in a statement Monday, said they’re “disappointed,” but also understand the “tight timeline issues addressed by the court.”
“Despite very clear statutory guidance and frequent communication from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, the Republicans failed to properly follow the law … ” Martin said. “It should not have been a surprise to either Donald Trump’s campaign nor the Minnesota Republican Party the steps they needed to take to ensure ballot access.”
Minnesota Republican Chair Keith Downey meanwhile said he’s pleased with what he called a “blatant Democrat attempt to rig the Minnesota election” in the DFL’s favor.
“Our legally filed ballot of Donald Trump and Mike Pence and our electors and alternate electors were properly certified by the Secretary of State,” he said.