Election 2020: Minnesota Primaries

So hey, for those who started following this blog because I’m a science fiction writer, just a heads up for you, I also write an election guide for my local elections. My vague apologies to those who were not expecting to be inundated with Minneapolis and Saint Paul election stuff.

Anyway. Primary elections in Minnesota will be held August 11th. The presidential primary was back in March; these are the primaries for everything else. Information on voting by mail can be found on the Minnesota Secretary of State site.

A note on how the primary elections work: everyone gets the same ballot. The front of the ballot is divided down the middle. On one side are the Republican primaries; on the other are the DFL primaries. You pick one party. If you cast votes on both sides, you’ll spoil your ballot and none of your votes will be counted, in any race. You will spoil your ballot even if you stick to one party for each race (like if you vote in the Republican primary for US Senate, the Democratic primary for US House). Pick one. You only get to vote in one party’s primaries. Edited to add: And then, if you’re in Minneapolis, you’ll also have a nonpartisan race on the back of the ballot. You can vote in that one regardless. (Someone pointed out that “vote on only one side!” was actually a bad way to phrase this and they were right. You can vote both front and back! You can’t vote both DFL and GOP, though.)

If you’re voting in person, and try to vote in both party primaries, the machine will reject your ballot, and you can trade it in for a fresh ballot and try again. If you’re voting by mail … I am not sure if there’s any mechanism to notify you that you fucked up your ballot but my guess would be no.

Primary races happening this year:

US Senate. Incumbent Senator Tina Smith is running for a six-year term as Senator. She has opponents in the primary. There’s also a Republican primary. Unless something very strange happens, it’s going to be Tina Smith vs. Jason “Unfamiliar With the Concept of Animal Control” Lewis in November.

US House. In MN-04, Betty McCollum has four opponents challenging her for the nomination; there are also two Republicans running for the opportunity to lose in November. In MN-05, Ilhan Omar has four opponents in the primary (at least one of whom, Antone Melton-Meaux, is being taken seriously and supported by people I know). Three Republicans are running for the opportunity to lose in November, one of whom has been banned from Twitter and has an active arrest warrant for felony shoplifting, or did back in February, anyway.

Minnesota Senate. Every seat in the State Senate will be up for election in November. In August, Senator Bobby Joe Champion (MN-59) is being challenged by Suielman Isse; Jeff Hayden (MN-62) is being challenged by Omar Fateh; and Sandy Pappas (MN-65) is being challenged by Laverne McCartney Knighton. (You can see the full rundown of challenges in this very helpful MPR article.)

Minnesota House. Every seat in the State House will be up for election in November. In August, Rep Raymond Dehn (MN-59B) is being challenged by Isaiah Whitmore and Esther Agbaje; Rep Jim Davnie (MN-63A) is being challenged by April Kane; and Rep. John Lesch (MN-66B) is being challenged by Athena Hollins.

Also, in House District 63B, Rep Jean Wagenius is retiring and Emma Greenman, Husniyah Dent Bradle, and Jerome T Evans are running in the primary to fill her seat; In House District 67A, Rep Tim Mahoney is retiring and John Thompson and Hoang Murphy are running to fill his seat.

(For the full rundown, including a list of legislative candidates who will have no opponent in either the primary or the general election, see the MPR article here.)

Minneapolis School Board. Minneapolis is also electing several school board members. The at-large race will appear on the Primary ballot; you can vote for one of the five people running. (The incumbent is Kim Ellison.) In District 2, incumbent Kerry Jo Felder has one opponent, which I think means this race won’t show up on the primary ballot. In District 4, Bob Walser is not running again, and there are three people running, which I think means the race will show up on the primary ballot (for people in District 4.)

I think that’s it for the primary races, but if you live in Minneapolis or St. Paul and I missed a race you see on your primary ballot, please drop me a comment and let me know.

And don’t forget that Minnesota makes it easy to vote by mail!


10 thoughts on “Election 2020: Minnesota Primaries

  1. My understanding is that Hoang Murphy has suspended his campaign. But he may well still be on the ballot…

  2. Are you planning on writing in more detail about 63B or do you not get to that level of detail? Greenman and Evans seem identical in terms off positions so I’m curious if there’s any strong reason to support one or the other.

    • I am going to try to write about this race, but I have a novel revision deadline and that’s put me way behind on the political writing. I’m going to prioritize getting the novel done, then see what I can do with the time remaining before the primary.

  3. Minneapolis ballots include two methods for attempting to fix a ‘spoiled’ ballot — voting for more than one party (or misvoting): 1) ‘If time allows, ask for a new ballot from your election office…. ‘ 2) ‘Completely cross out the name of the candidate you accidentally marked and then mark your ballot for the candidate you prefer (do not initial your corrections).’

    Of these choices, I would recommend #1 over #2. The unmentioned #3) Just go vote as long as you do not send in your ballot.

    The non-partisan back of the ballot in Minneapolis is counted even if you spoil the partisan side.

  4. Hey there! Looking for insight on the School Board races. On my ballot I have the At-Large, but also District 1, which includes Adriana Cerrillo, Ken Shain, and Christa Mims. Any thoughts on their positions/an upcoming post? Most importantly, how they’re addressing COVID and re-opening, etc.?

    Love your work, greatly appreciate everything you do!

    • I started researching this last night and all I’ve got at this point is that since it’s a primary, I would like people to carefully divide up their votes between Christa Mims and Adriana Cerillo in the hopes that Ken Shain doesn’t make it to the final ballot. He’s a white guy who writes endlessly about racism but from a really odd “the REAL problem is that we talk about race at ALL” perspective.

      I’ll try to write about it later today.

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