Skip to main content

Lawsuit 'highly likely' to delay Minnesota's presidential primary

A Lake Elmo man is suing because his favored candidate is not on the ballot.

The start of Minnesota's 2020 presidential primaries is "highly likely" to be delayed because of a lawsuit filed by a resident of Lake Elmo.

In a court filing, Secretary of State Steve Simon said that unless a ruling is made on the lawsuit brought by James Martin by Jan. 3, the state's absentee ballots won't go out on time.

Martin is suing the state because the Minnesota Republican Party is only listing President Donald Trump among its options for the GOP primary, with the only other option available to voters being a write-in candidate.

He is arguing that it's unconstitutional not to give voters a choice among the candidates running for the nomination.

His lawyer told MPR News that the move by the GOP is "legally absurd, culturally absurd," and "makes the state look really stupid," but it has named the Secretary of State Simon, rather than the GOP, as the defendant.

On Thursday, the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected Simon's request to move the scheduling of the case so a decision can be rendered by Jan. 3, arguing it can't "possibly be in compliance with Minnesota Law if the Supreme Court’s schedule is followed.

The Supreme Court rejected this plea, with Simon now saying it'll likely mean the delay of ballots for absentee voters, which are due to go out on Jan. 17.

"The process of formatting, programming, printing, and shipping ballots for all of the counties typically takes more than a week," Simon's filing said. "This is, in part, because most county auditors in the state procure ballot printing and programming services from a single vendor.

"This vendor has told the Secretary’s staff that, in order to meet the January 17 statutory deadline, it would need to receive a finalized list of candidates for the presidential nomination primary by the close of business on December 31, 2019.

"While the Secretary believes that counties and their vendors are capable of completing these tasks in slightly less time than this under exigent circumstances, the practicalities of formatting, programming, printing, and shipping 87 counties’ ballots are such that the process cannot realistically be completed in much less time than the seventeen calendar days that the predominant ballot vendor has requested."

Oral arguments for the lawsuit are scheduled for Jan. 9.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

In response, Martin said in a statement to the press: "All in all, I think our Supreme Court did a good job striking a balance here.

"The important issue regarding our inability to vote for candidates qualified to hold office under the Minnesota and US Constitution needs to be very carefully considered: many men and women have died so we can choose from among us who will govern.

"And, I do agree with the underlying premise of the Secretary in that Minnesota needs the decision to be handed down sooner than later."

Most of Minnesota's voters will cast their primary ballots on Mar. 3, otherwise known as "Super Tuesday."

Next Up

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Here’s what the Vikings owners say about new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

The Vikings announced his hiring on Wednesday night.

raiaing canes brooklyn park crop

After 3-month delay, newest Twin Cities Raising Cane's opens

The restaurant was originally scheduled to open in October.

st anthony armed robbery screengrab

Armed man robs Twin Cities thrift store, flees in carjacked pickup

He pulled out a handgun shortly after chatting with the cashier about his scarf.

red wing 6

Gallery: Pagoda-inspired home on Lake Pepin for sale for $2M

The home has 425 feet of private shoreline on the Mississippi River.

Walz, Flanagan

Walz proposes legalizing marijuana in massive supplemental budget

It's among the provisions in his "Budget to Move Minnesota Forward."

Plow 2 (1)

Photos reveal damage from gunshots to Minneapolis snowplow

A hydraulic line and three tires were damaged in the shooting.

unsplash - school classroom students

Minneapolis schools confirm return to in-person teaching Monday

The school district shifted to online learning almost two weeks ago as rising COVID cases led to staff and bus driver shortages.

Flickr - Superior National Forest Boundary Waters

Mineral leases for proposed Twin Metals mine near Boundary Waters canceled

A review by the DOI found "significant legal deficiencies" with the leases' 2019 renewal.


Reward to find person who left kittens to die in freezing WI cold

The cats were thrown from a vehicle, according to a witness.

metro mobility bus

Charges: Man led police on multi-city pursuit in stolen Metro Mobility bus

The bus had been left unattended with the keys inside when it was stolen.

Bell Ramsey Co. Jan 22 - crop

Charges: Man fatally shot mother of his child during argument

Officers found her on the ground outside the couple's home.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, January 26

More than 15,000 new cases in today's update.


Thursday hearing to determine if start of MN primaries will be delayed

A voter is suing because President Trump is the only name on the GOP ballot.

vote, vote now

LIVE UPDATES: Minnesota presidential primary 2020

The latest updates as Minnesotans vote for their presidential candidates.

MN Supreme Court rejects voter's effort to change GOP ballot

The Lake Elmo Republican had sued because President Trump is the only name on the ballot.

Jason Lewis and Tina Smith

Minnesota Primaries 2020: Here's where things stand

An official tally won't be compiled till later this week due to a late deadline for absentee votes.

Rep. Angie Craig

Angie Craig files lawsuit over delayed 2nd District election

Craig argues the district cannot go without representation until a February special election, despite state law that requires it.

Ilhan Omar

Rep. Ilhan Omar beats Antone Melton-Meaux in DFL primary

The rookie Congresswoman is set for a second term.