The Republican Party of Minnesota finds itself in a pickle.
It's their fault.
Earlier this year at the state Republican convention in Duluth, the party picked its 10 electoral college voters. The state party was also supposed to choose 10 alternate electoral college names. It didn't.
Therein lies the problem.
What could've been an in-house mess went public yesterday, when blogger and former Republican Party of Minnesota official Michael Brodkorb noticed that something didn't look right about the Secretary of State's sample ballot. Donald Trump wasn't on it.
"The sample ballot online will generally lead to what's on the general election ballot," Brodkorb tells City Pages. "The reason Trump's name wasn't coming up on the Minnesota Secretary of State website was because the Republican Party of Minnesota had not submitted this paperwork, which is due Monday."
By August 29, both major political parties must submit the requisite paperwork to the Minnesota Secretary of State's office so that their respective presidential candidates appear on the ballot. This information by law must include the presidential candidate's name as well as that of the vice president, the names of the party's 10 Minnesota presidential electors, and the 10-person list of alternates.
According to the RPM bylaws, all 20 electors must be chosen at a state party convention. The thing that happened back in May.
The state's Republicans are now scrambling, after realizing they hadn't picked and therefore submitted the 10 alternate electoral voters.
The party has attempted to piecemeal a solution, appointing alternate electors in a hastily called meeting Wednesday night, according to Brodkorb. (State GOP officials could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.) That solution defied party protocol, which calls for a 10-day notice for any on-the-fly party convention.
"So they have a problem now," says Brodkorb. "Their only recourse to fix it in this timetable was to appoint alternate presidential electors. But the problem with that is, there's no procedure within the party for that to happen. The only way they could've done was at the state convention."
According to Pioneer Press reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger, the state GOP filed the proper papers Thursday, and the Trump/Mike Pence team should appear on the sample ballot soon.
But Brodkorb suggests that by circumventing the process, the Republican Party exposed itself to possible legal challenges that would keep Trump's name off the ballot. Party leaders should "hope and pray" their last-minute appointment doesn't bother any party members.
"My assumption is, they think what they did last night is a fix," Brodkorb said. "But this is politics, where people fight over the shape of a table being round or square. This is just ripe for problems. There could be nothing more 2016 than this."
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