The Minnesota Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon denied a petition to include other Republican candidates other than President Donald Trump on the state’s GOP primary ballot.
After hearing oral arguments in the morning, the court ruled that the petition, which had been filed by by a local small businessman looking to vote for his preferred candidate, “lacked merit” and “denied” the lawsuit. The court didn’t issue a formal opinion in the order, citing the need to quickly render a decision so that early voting preparation could begin.
Jim Martin filed the lawsuit in December over Minnesota’s March 3 primary, objecting to a new state law allowing party chairs to determine who appears on primary ballots.
In October 2019, the state’s Republican chairwoman excluded local resident and Republican presidential nominee hopeful Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente’s name from being printed on Minnesota’s Super Tuesday ballots. She instead preferred that only Trump’s name be on the ballot.
The petition sought to order Secretary of State Steve Simon to print De La Fuente’s name on the ballot, which would allow Martin to be able to cast his vote for De La Fuente, according to court papers.
The case, which was filed back in December was putting Minnesota’s early voting process in jeopardy. That is scheduled to begin on January 17.
In recent weeks, the state’s Democratic Party, alongside Simon, filed briefs supporting the Trump-only GOP ballot and urging a swift decision ahead of early voting, according to Twin Cities Pioneer Press.
State officials had warned the Supreme Court that unless the ballot question was settled “within the first few days of January,” they may not have enough time to print and distribute ballots on time.
The 2020 presidential primary will be the state’s first since 1992, after a law passed three years ago did away with presidential straw polls taken at precinct caucuses. The primary ballots are set to include two of the “major” political parties in Minnesota — Republicans and the Democratic-affiliated Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.