Minnesota’s March 1 presidential caucus was marred by long lines and other issues that often crop up with caucuses, like the disenfranchisement of people who have to work or are sick. Those problems motivated lawmakers to introduce a bill to shift the state to a primary, and that legislation has now been signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton (D).
In short, in 2020, Minnesota will hold a presidential primary for the first time since 1992. Unregistered voters will be able to register the day of the primary and participate. Voters don’t have to be registered with a specific party to cast a ballot in that party’s primary, but at their polling place they must state: “I am in general agreement with the principles of the party for whose candidate I intend to vote.”
America Is Supposed To Be A Democracy. So Why Do We Still Have Caucuses?Politics by CREDIT: AP Photo/Brennan Linsley Keane Schwartz, a Bernie Sanders supporter, was the lone Democratic voter…thinkprogress.orgThe change is being praised on both sides of the aisle, with Ken Martin, chair of the Minnesota’s Democratic Farmer Labor Party, saying in a statement that the most recent caucus made it “clear that the Presidential nominating process in Minnesota needed to be reformed.”
Earlier this year, Steven Schier, professor of political science at Minnesota’s Carleton College, told ThinkProgress, “If you want to encourage people to have a voice in your party process, the last system you want to design is caucuses… It disadvantages working people, parents with children, and the disabled.”
According to a Pioneer Press report, Minnesota’s move away from presidential caucuses means only 14 states still use some form of that system. Minnesota is the first state to move away from presidential caucuses this year, though problems also marred recent presidential caucuses in places like Iowa and Nevada.