State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: Minnesota

Examining the Issue of Felon Voting in Minnesota

By Kristi Breyfogle

Minnesota Voter Alliance (MVA) filed suit in court alleging that the Minnesota Secretary of State was illegally allowing convicted felons and other ineligible voters to vote in the 2016 election.  According to MVA, the Secretary of State wrongly ordered election officials to give ballots to those marked as ineligible on the voter rolls provided that they swear an oath that they are actually eligible to vote. Under Minnesota law, the secretary of state has discretion to adopt and implement rules that are consistent with state and federal laws in regards to election procedures. In Minnesota, a person convicted of a felony is ineligible to vote until their civil rights have been restored.  This means convicted felons cannot vote until they have been released from prison and have completely finished their sentences, including any parole or probation.  When a registered voter commits a felony or is otherwise ineligible to vote, the voting roster marks that person’s right to vote as “challenged.”

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Trumping the Law: The Dilemma Behind Parties’ Executive Committees Selecting Presidential Electors

By: Kristi Breyfogle

The 2016 election in Minnesota gained national attention this year when the state Republican Party almost failed to get its presidential candidate on the ballot.  The problem became apparent shortly before the deadline to file paperwork to get candidates on the ballot. Republican leaders realized that due to an oversight, they failed to elect alternative electors for the November election at their state convention.  The party’s presidential candidate, therefore, was not on the Minnesota sample ballot.  This resulted in a last minute scramble to name ten alternative electors for the campaign.  The Republican Executive Committee met in private in August to select the missing alternatives.  After the state Republican Party scrambled to meet the deadline, Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) challenged the validity of the ten alternative electors.  While the court ultimately decided to dismiss the DFL’s petition, it based its decision on a time and practicality consideration rather than on the merits of the claim.  The question remains open on whether a party must choose its electors publicly at its state convention or whether the party’s executive committee may select them at a private meeting.

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Dodging Disclosure

How the fight over Minnesota campaign finance disclosure requirements may shape the fate of the state’s marriage amendment 

by Stephanie Bitto

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board’s October clarification of Minnesota campaign finance laws may have quite an impact on a hot topic at issue in the 2012 election.

In 2012, Minnesota voters will be asked to approve an amendment to the Minnesota constitution that declares marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman. The Minnesota House and Senate passed a bill in May 2011 proposing the amendment. Governor Dayton issued a symbolic veto of the bill on May 25, 2011, but as constitutional amendment legislation cannot be vetoed, it will be up to the voters to determine the amendment’s fate. Continue reading

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