Supreme Court dismisses petition, Trump to remain on MN ballot

A challenge by the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party failed in the Minnesota Supreme Court.

- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence will remain on the Minnesota ballot after a challenge by the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party failed in the Minnesota Supreme Court Monday.

DFL chairman Ken Martin filed a petition with the Supreme Court last Thursday to remove Trump and Pence from the ballot, claiming Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon should not have accepted the Republican Party’s “certificate of nomination” last month because they did not follow proper procedure when alternate electors were nominated.

The Supreme Court order on the ballot challenge focused on whether it came too late, not on whether the GOP messed up. The secretary of state had notified the court that a decision needed to be made by Sept. 12 in order to “ensure proper and timely printing of ballots” prior to the first day of early voting on Sept. 23.

An affidavit filed by the secretary of state’s legal advisor said 83 of Minnesota’s 87 counties use the same vendor for ballot printing, and at least one million ballots had already been printed for the general election when the petition was filed.

Statement from Minnesota DFL chairman Ken Martin

“We are disappointed with the result today but respect the Supreme Court’s decision. We believe that we are on strong legal ground and that if this case were heard we would prevail upon the merits, but certainly understand the tight timeline issues addressed by the Court.

This lawsuit was about the rule of law.  Although the Republican Party and its standard bearer, Donald Trump, frequently talk about the rule of law, they consistently apply a double standard – making clear that everyone else should follow the rules but not them. 

Despite very clear statutory guidance and frequent communication from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, the Republicans failed to properly follow the law which required them to elect both electors and alternate electors. It should not have been a surprise to either Donald Trump’s campaign nor the Minnesota Republican Party the steps they needed to take to ensure ballot access. If they can't competently follow the rules and steps to properly get on the ballot, how does anyone expect them to run the country. 

The remedy under the law is not ideal.  However, it was the only relief we could seek to hold the Republican Party and Donald Trump accountable for their failure to follow the clear requirements for accessing the ballot. The Minnesota DFL, our elected officials, and candidates have always stood for expanding access to the ballot box and we will continue to do so.

To emphasize, this lawsuit was not so much about the Presidential contest or the other races in Minnesota.  This lawsuit was about holding candidates accountable to follow the laws. Whether it is residency requirements or getting a candidate’s name on the ballot, laws matter.”

Republican Party of Minnesota statement

Chairman Keith Downey: "We are pleased the Court struck down this blatant Democrat attempt to rig the Minnesota election for Hillary Clinton and disenfranchise Minnesota voters.  Our legally filed ballot of Donald Trump and Mike Pence and our electors and alternate electors were properly certified by the Secretary of State.”

Rick Morgan, counsel for the Republican Party of Minnesota:  "We are pleased the Minnesota Supreme Court made the right decision.  On Friday, we filed a brief pointing out how the DFL's petition was factually inaccurate and contrary to applicable law.  Granting the petition would have marked a significant departure from bedrock election law  going back more than a century---that in this country the voters have the right to choose their elected representatives and the courts must use extreme caution not to tread on that right.  The Minnesota Supreme Court recognized and upheld that right."

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