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Christensen Informs on Presidential Nomination Primary

Photo: Kittson county administrator, Eric Christensen, and staff member Britta Potrament pose with the central ballot tabulator that will count ballots for the March 3 election.

Many Minnesotans (except those who have a very good knowledge and memory of political decisions), who vote using a mail-in ballot, were probably surprised to receive ballots for a presidential nomination primary in the mail last week.

On May 22, 2016, Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill that would reinstate a presidential nomination primary, beginning in 2020.

The word “reinstate” is used because presidential primaries have been used in the state before. According to online sources, such primaries took place in Minnesota in 1916, 1952, 1956 and 1992. More often, however, voting has taken place at caucuses in the counties.

The 2020 presidential nomination primary will take place on March 3, 2020. Kittson County administrator, Eric Christensen, who serves as “election administrator” in the county, visited with the North Star News recently to offer information about this primary.

Asked if he thought most Minnesotans are aware of this primary, he indicated they possibly are not, commenting that it’s “going to be very new” to have a primary in March.
He noted that in most previous presidential election years in Minnesota, the major political parties held caucuses where they would get together, discuss whom they wanted to run and finally take a vote.

Christensen didn’t offer an opinion about whether the caucus or presidential nomination primary system is best. He did, however, note that with a caucus, there’s a “chance you can sway people who haven’t decided”…In a primary, “you don’t have the ability to discuss the candidates in a room.”
He offered further information about this presidential nomination primary. Only the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) party and the Republican Party have submitted candidates for the ballots. A different ballot exists for each party. Mail-in voters have received ballots for each party. Voters going to the polls will have to indicate whether they wish to have the DFL ballot or the Republican ballot.

Voters will only be voting for president in this election. Other offices with a primary will be on the ballot in August. Only President Trump is listed on the Republican ballot.
“There are 15 candidates on the DFL ballot,” noted Christensen, adding that he thought about half of the candidates had dropped out.

He referred to the online February 19 issue of the New York Times for more up to date information the other matter. The newspaper confirmed that only the following DFL candidates were still in the run for president: Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, Michael R. Bloomberg and Joseph Biden.

See the rest of the article in the February 27 edition of the North Star News.

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