A Minnesota voter frustrated because President Donald Trump would be the only name on the state Republican primary ballot in March is challenging the move and muddying the launch of the state’s first presidential primary in decades.
Jim Martin, of Lake Elmo, a small business operator and political independent, filed a lawsuit over the primary rules, the Star Tribune reported. Martin said he doesn’t want to participate in a “Soviet-style” election in which the political parties dictate who the voters can elect.
“I want to be in an American election,” Martin said. “It’s something that sets us apart from the world.”
State Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan had defended the move, arguing that it’s her job as party leader to help re-elect the president. GOP officials have said they will allow write-in candidates.
The March 3 presidential primary will be the state’s first since 1992, after a law passed three years ago did away with presidential straw polls formerly taken at precinct caucuses.
Martin’s complaint questions state election laws that allow party chairs to determine the makeup of taxpayer-funded primary ballots. The ballot submitted by the Minnesota Republican Party excludes all GOP candidates but Trump.
Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party submitted a list of 15 Democrats who are still actively campaigning for the 2020 nomination, although three minor candidates who didn’t file paperwork on time won’t be on the ballot.
The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case on Jan. 9.
State officials warned the Supreme Court in papers filed this past week that unless the ballot question is settled “within the first few days of January,” they may not have enough time to print and distribute ballots for the start of early voting on Jan. 17.