MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota DFL Party wants Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his running mate removed from the state ballot.
A lawsuit filed in the Minnesota Supreme Court claims Republicans did not follow state law when choosing presidential electors — they’re the people who cast the state’s 10 electoral college votes during the presidential election.
State Democratic Party Chairman Ken Martin, who filed the petition late Thursday afternoon, says there were clear errors in the Republican process of selecting alternative electors for getting Trump on the Minnesota ballot.
The DFL says the state GOP did not elect alternate presidential electors at the state convention earlier this year.
The petition states: “After being notified that they had failed to provide the names of alternative electors by the Secretary of State’s office, Republicans decided to appoint alternate electors in a closed-door meeting rather than electing them. This is violation of state law.”
In court filings Friday, the justices requested information on when they need to issue the ruling. They were informed the decision must come by Sept. 12 to finish the ballots in time.
While the State Supreme Court justices are reviewing the case, University of Minnesota political professor Larry Jacobs said he has his doubts that the justices will remove Donald Trump’s name from the ticket.
“Taking a candidate off the ballot is such a radical step that you’d really have to see something quite extraordinary to lead the Supreme Court to do that,” Jacobs said. “So, I’m not expecting that to happen but it doesn’t remove the fact that this is serious.”
Jacobs went on to say the removal of Trump-Pence from the ballot would have a trickle-down effect at the local level.
“It could also have tremendous ramifications here in Minnesota, because if you don’t have the top of ticket on ballot, it may well depress turnout by Republican voters further down,” he said.
Minnesota voter turnout during a presidential race is about 78 percent. In a non-presidential election year, turnout ranges around 35-40 percent. And in a year with some very close Congressional and state races, Jacobs says candidates need every voter to cast their ballot.
“The stakes are huge in this challenge whether the supreme court in Minnesota goes with it is entirely open,” Jacobs said.
The Minnesota Republican Party released a statement late Friday morning, calling the lawsuit “frivolous and baseless,” adding the party followed state law.
The statement reads, in part, “Donald Trump got on our ballot fair and square, and it is outrageous that the Democratic Party would actually try to rig the election this way.”