Articles Posted in Election Law

by
Appellants, members of a Minneapolis citizen group, submitted a petition to the Minneapolis City Council for consideration of a question regarding a proposed amendment to the Minneapolis City Charter. The proposed amendment would require City police officers to obtain and maintain professional liability insurance coverage and would impose other conditions for coverage and indemnification. Concluding that the proposed insurance amendment conflicted with and was preempted by state law, the City Council directed the City Clerk not to include the amendment question on the ballot for the November 2016 election. Appellants filed a petition to challenge that decision. The district court agreed with the City Council and dismissed the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the proposed insurance amendment conflicts with state law, and therefore, the district court properly dismissed Appellants’ petition. View "Bicking v. City of Minneapolis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

by
After declaring his write-in candidacy for President of the United States for the 2016 general election, Steve Carlson filed a request with the Secretary of State asking him to count the votes cast for his candidacy. The Secretary of State refused to accept the request because Carlson did not “include the name of a candidate for vice-president of the United States” with the request pursuant to Minn. Stat. 204B.09, subdivision 3(b). Carlson then filed this petition with the Supreme Court asking the Court to direct the Secretary of State to accept his request because requiring him to name a vice-presidential candidate burdens the First Amendment associational rights of write-in candidates and the voters who support those candidates. The Supreme Court denied the petition, holding that the requirement for write-in candidates to designate a vice-presidential candidate does not violate the associational rights protected by the First Amendment. View "Carlson v. Simon" on Justia Law

by
Petitioner filed a petition pursuant to Minn. Stat. 204B.44 requesting an order directing the Minnesota Secretary of State (Respondent) to remove the name of Robert Barrett from the ballot for State Representative for Legislative District 32B at the general election held in November 2016, alleging that Barrett did not reside in the district for the six months immediately preceding the 2016 general election. The referee to whom the matter was referred found that the evidence supported removing Barrett’s name from the ballot. The Supreme Court granted the petition to the extent it sought an order declaring that Barrett was ineligible to hold the office he sought but denied the petition to the extent it sought an order declaring that Barrett’s name be removed from the 2016 general election ballot for the same office, as Minnesota does does not provide for the removal of a candidate’s name from the ballot under the circumstances of this case. View "Monaghen v. Simon" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

by
Respondents submitted a petition to the Minneapolis Charter Commission to amend the City Charter to establish a local minimum-wage standard in the City of Minneapolis. The City Clerk certified that the petition met the statutory signature requirements. Reasoning that the minimum-wage amendment was legislature in nature and that the City Charter does not provide for voter initiatives for the passage of ordinances by a ballot referendum, the City Attorney recommended that the City Council decline to place the provision on the November 2016 general election ballot. Thereafter, the City Council voted not to include the wage amendment on the ballot for the general election. Respondents filed a petition asking the district court to order the City Council to place the proposed charter amendment before the voters on the ballot, arguing that the City had a duty to put the proposed amendment on the ballot. The district court granted the petition, concluding that the proposed charter amendment was the proper subject of a citizen initiative. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred in granting the petition because Minneapolis residents do not have legislative and policymaking authority under the City Charter. View "Vasseur v. City of Minneapolis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

by
Petitioners filed a petition under Minn. Stat. 204B.44 asserting that Respondents - the Secretary of State, the Ramsey County and Hennepin County election managers, and certain election judges - were not taking the necessary steps to ensure that those ineligible to vote were not permitted to vote, in violation of the separation-of-powers doctrine and the constitutional rights of eligible voters. The Supreme Court dismissed the petition, holding that, even if the petition properly invoked the Court’s original jurisdiction under section 204B.44, the Court would not exercise it in this case because an exercise of original jurisdiction over this case was not warranted. View "Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Simon" on Justia Law

by
Daniel Moulton filed an affidavit of candidacy for Third Judicial District Seat 16 in the 2016 primary election. With his affidavit of candidacy, Moulton included proof that he was licensed to practice law in Minnesota. The Secretary of State and Attorney General allowed a county auditor to strike Moulton’s name from the primary election ballot on the grounds that Moulton had failed to comply with the requirements of Minn. Stat. 204B.06(8) because he did not provide a copy of his attorney license during the filing period. Moulton subsequently filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to direct the Secretary of State to include his name on the primary election ballot. The Supreme Court granted the petition, holding that Moulton complied with the statutory requirements for filing as a candidate for judicial office. View "Moulton v. Simon" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

by
On June 6, 2013, the Green Party of Minnesota and its chair, Brian Begin, filed a petition asserting that Respondent Secretary of State Mark Ritchie erred in decertifying the Green Party as a minor political party. Petitioners sought an order from the Supreme Court to direct the Secretary to correct his alleged error by restoring the Green Party’s minor political party status as of January 1, 2013. Because the Supreme Court concluded that the Green Party’s claims fell outside the scope of the applicable statute. As such, the Court dismissed the petition. View "Begin vs. Ritchie" on Justia Law

by
On December 21, 2012, Petitioner, the Independence Party candidate in the November 6, 2012 election for the U.S. House of Representatives, filed this petition pursuant to Minn. Stat. 204B.44 seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and asserting three claims: (1) Minn. Stat. 202A. 16(2), which identifies those who can participate in and vote at a precinct caucus, violates his First Amendment rights; (2) the Secretary of State improperly withheld from him the e-mail addresses of registered voters in his district in violation of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act; and (3) the district court's refusal to accept his election contest for filing infringed on his constitutional right of access to the courts. The Supreme Court denied the petition, holding (1) laches bars Petitioner's first two claims, as Petitioner unreasonably delayed bringing these claims and granting relief on the claims would do substantial prejudice to the orderly administration of elections; and (2) Petitioner's third claim falls outside the scope of section 204B.44. View "Carlson v. Ritchie" on Justia Law

by
Petitioners sought an order requiring that Respondents, the St. Louis County Auditor and the Minnesota Secretary of State, place Erik Simonson's name on the ballot for the 2012 general election as the candidate for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party for the office of State Representative for House District 7B. Petitioners contended that the County Auditor erred by refusing to accept the affidavit of withdrawal submitted by DFL-nominated candidate Kerry Gauthier and affidavit of candidacy submitted by newly nominated DFL candidate Simonson for the general election in District 7B. The Supreme Court concluded that Minnesota law required Simonson's name to be placed on the November 2012 ballot by order filed in September 2012, with this opinion to follow, holding (1) a major political party has statutory authority to fill a vacancy in nomination for a partisan office that was caused by the withdrawal of its originally nominated candidate after the primary, as long as the originally nominated candidate complied with the procedures for filing an affidavit of withdrawal; and (2) the County Auditor erred when he rejected the affidavit of withdrawal that Gauthier attempted to file and the certificate of nomination listing Simonson as the DFL-nominated candidate that the DFL attempted to file. View "Martin v. Dicklich" on Justia Law

by
In Martin v. Dicklich, the Supreme Court ordered the Saint Louis County Auditor to replace the name of Kerry Gauthier with the name of Erik Simonson as the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (FL) endorsed candidate for state representative, House District 7B, on the November 2012 general election ballot. Jay Fosle, who had previously declared his write-in candidacy for state representative, District 7B, was not served with a copy of the Martin petition. Fosle subsequently filed a petition with the Supreme Court, asking the Court to order that his name also be placed on the November 2012 ballot either as the "Independent candidate" or without party affiliation. The Supreme Court denied Fosle's petition by order filed in October 2012, with this opinion to follow, holding that there was no statutory or other basis on which to grant the relief Fosle sought here. View "Fosle v. Ritchie" on Justia Law