Donald Trump officially on Minnesota ballot — but open to legal challenge

Picture source: Christopher Gregory, Getty Images

Donald Trump’s name is officially on the ballot in Minnesota, but voters should prepare themselves for lawsuits to be filed to challenge if Minnesota Republicans followed the law to get his name on the ballot.

Where the Problem Started

Since Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, are the candidates for president and vice-president of a “major political party” in Minnesota — the Republican Party — the process to get their names on the ballot is very simple.

Below is the process for presidential and vice-presidential candidates of major political party candidates to be placed on the ballot:

Picture source: Office of Minnesota’s Secretary of State

The problem started for the Republican Party of Minnesota when they failed to ensure ten people were “nominated as alternate presidential electors” as established by law.

According to Minnesota Statutes 208.03:

Presidential electors and alternates for the major political parties of this state shall be nominated by delegate conventions called and held under the supervision of the respective state central committees of the parties of this state. At least 71 days before the general election day the chair of the major political party shall certify to the secretary of state the names of the persons nominated as presidential electors, the names of persons nominated as alternate presidential electors, and the names of the party candidates for president and vice president. The chair shall also certify that the party candidates for president and vice president have no affidavit on file as a candidate for any office in this state at the ensuing general election.

The Republican Party of Minnesota did not nominate nor elect presidential alternate electors at the Republican State Convention in May.

Below is the “Certificate of Nomination” which was certified by Keith Downey, the Chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, and released yesterday afternoon.

Picture source: Brian Bakst, Minnesota Public Radio

The potential legal problem for the Republican Party of Minnesota is most of their alternate electors were not “nominated by delegate conventions” but instead they were appointed by party officials.

In fact one party official, Randy Gilbert, appointed himself to be an alternate elector without officially notifying Republicans in the area he represents — Minnesota’s Third Congressional District.

Below is the confirmed list of alternate electors who were not “nominated by delegate conventions” as required by law.

  1. Chris Fields
  2. Janet Beihoffer
  3. Randy Gilbert
  4. Jefferey Williams
  5. David Pascoe

Republicans in Minnesota have taken to Twitter to challenge the process used by the Republican Party in Minnesota to get Trump’s name placed on the ballot in Minnesota.

After Monday, Prepare for Possible Legal Challenges

Downey told the Pioneer Press in an interview yesterday that he first learned of the problem with Trump’s name being submitted to the Minnesota’s Secretary of State on August 3.

But instead of calling for another convention to ensure all of Minnesota’s ten alternate electors were “nominated by delegate conventions” as required by law, Downey presided over a meeting weeks later were most of the alternate electors were appointed, which created this messy situation and could jeopardize Trump being on the ballot in Minnesota.

The deadline for a “major political party” in Minnesota to certify the information needed for candidates for president and vice-president is days way — Monday, August 29, 2016.

After Monday’s deadline passes, voters in Minnesota should prepare for possible legal challenges to the process used by Minnesota Republicans to get Trump and Pence on the ballot.

In an interview with FOX 9 yesterday, David Schultz, who is a professor at Hamline University and the University of Minnesota Law School said a lawsuit will likely be filed.

“It’s going to wind up in the courts if for no other reason than to create mischief for the Republican Party,” Schultz told Fox 9. “I think the Minnesota Supreme Court would probably err on the side of allowing the Republican Party and their electors, on the ballot.”

The election is 73 days away, but the first big election lawsuit may be coming to courthouse in Minnesota very soon.

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