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Minnesota to move to presidential primary system instead of caucus by 2020 election

ST. PAUL - Minnesota will move from a presidential caucus to a presidential primary for the 2020 election. Gov. Mark Dayton signed the switch into law on Sunday. Under the new system, voters would make their February partisan presidential picks i...

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Part of the large crowd gathering for the Minnesota Democratic caucus at the MSUM campus in Moorhead on Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Rick Abbott / The Forum
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ST. PAUL - Minnesota will move from a presidential caucus to a presidential primary for the 2020 election.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed the switch into law on Sunday.

Under the new system, voters would make their February partisan presidential picks in an election run by the state, rather than in caucuses run by parties. Whether individual voters picked a Republican ballot or a Democratic one would become public, under the new law. But voters would not be bound in any way to their partisan picks in future elections nor would they have to register with any party in advance of the presidential primary.

The new primary system, which would get its first use in the 2020 election, would cost the state about $4 million a year.

The measure passed by overwhelming numbers in both the Republican-controlled House and the DFL-controlled Senate. The chairs of both the DFL and Republican parties supported the change and were intimately involved in crafting the legislation.

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The governor also signed 27 other bills. Among them:

  • A repeal of Minnesota’s depression-era, five-day marriage license waiting period. Minnesota was one of only two states in the nation with such a long waiting period, but now has joined the majority.
  • A sentencing overhaul bill that provides the first major overhaul of Minnesota’s drug laws in 27 years. Changes include lower required prison sentences for most drug crimes, definitions of what a “trace” amount of drugs is, and the elimination of mandatory penalties on lesser-degree drug crimes.
  • A measure that makes permanent a task force dedicated to improving Minnesota’s child protection laws.
  • A law creating, for the first time, animal trusts, which allow people to leave money dedicated for care of their animals in their bequests. Minnesota was the only state in the nation without such a law.

Tory Cooney of the Pioneer Press contributed to this report. The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.


 

Related Topics: ELECTION 2020
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