By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — 15 candidates, plus a spot for uncommitted, will be on the ballot for the Minnesota Democratic presidential primary on March 3.

The ballot will include late entrants like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Early voting will begin January 17th – meaning those voting early here will be casting the first votes in the Presidential race in the country.

“Our early vote requirements put us first in the nation in casting ballot on January 17,” Ken Martin, the chair of the MN DFL Party said.

It has been decades since Minnesota had a presidential primary – you will have to decide which party primary you want to vote in. The record of which primary you voted in will be sent to four major parties, the DFL, the GOP and two pro-legalizing marijuana parties that just achieved major party status.

The Secretary of State is so concerned that list could become public he is readying legislation to limit the parties use of the list.

“On the first day of the legislative session we are going to have legislation which tightens and puts restrictions on the parties in terms of what they can do with that data,” Secretary of State Simon said.

Citing privacy concerns DFL Party Chair Ken Martin says the DFL will not make the list of those voting in the DFL primary public.

Republicans will also get to vote in the Presidential primary, but right now there is only one candidate on the Republican ballot: President Donald Trump. It was the Minnesota Republican Party’s choice to make it that way.

Minnesota will still use a caucus system to vote in other races from US Senate to the state Legislature.

Those caucuses will be held on February 25th.

Esme Murphy