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.