Will Minnesotans vote for Donald Trump in November? Perhaps … if they can find him on the ballot. At least as of this morning, Trump’s name does not appear as one of the confirmed ballot choices in the state — and that has state Republican officials scrambling ahead of Monday’s deadline:
It’s kind of a nice touch to have the Legal Marijuana Now party locked in three weeks of the Democrats, especially with the Republicans nowhere to be found. The Libertarians got their act together early, too, as did the Socialist Workers Party. (Don’t ask me what the American Delta Party is — maybe it’s the political arm of the Animal House frat?)
Evan McMullin managed to make the ballot before Trump did, which has to be a first:
Earlier in the month, McMullin was endorsed by the executive committee of the Independence Party of Minnesota. That endorsement meant the party would help McMullin get the 2,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot in the state. McMullin will appear as the Independence Party’s candidate on the Minnesota ballot.
The “Independence Party [candidate] has been certified and will be on the ballot,” said Ryan Furlong, communications director for the Minnesota Secretary of State.
Though there was no official count, McMullin submitted “well over the 2,000 required minimum,” Furlong added.
Don’t blame this mess on Donald Trump or his campaign, to the extent that it is a mess, which I’ll get to in a moment. This falls squarely on the Minnesota Republican Party, which has to perform the certification step itself after its state convention. My old Northern Alliance colleague Michael Brodkorb began unfolding this story on Twitter last night, and continued it into today (via RedState):
Well, the state GOP has had its issues over the past few years, and this looks like just more of the same. They’re attempting to solve this by calling a meeting of the state committee to certify the electors, which isn’t exactly Hoyle in regard to the party’s constitution, as Brodkorb points out. Presumably, though, that process will allow them to make the ballot access deadline.
Will the conflict with internal rules mean that Trump won’t be on the Minnesota ballot? That’s extremely doubtful. Courts have given political parties an incredible amount of leeway to deal with ballot issues, even extending past state ballot deadlines. In one memorable case, a federal court allowed New Jersey Democrats to replace scandal-plagued Robert Torricelli with Frank Lautenberg after the ballot deadline had passed. Courts will almost always err on the side of enfranchising voters — and while Trump won’t win Minnesota, there are millions here who will vote for him. Assuming the state committee gets its act together and files the paperwork by Monday, they will almost certainly accept it. Anyone who sues over the process will find themselves wasting a lot of time and money in court.
Update: Crisis over? The spokesman for Minnesota’s Secretary of State expects a quick resolution, according to an update from Politico:
“We just received the last item,” said Ryan Furlong, communications director for the Minnesota Secretary of State, about Trump’s paperwork. “We were waiting for a pledge from one of the alternate electors. The filing is complete and the Republican ticket should be listed on our site shortly.”