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What you need to know about Minnesota’s presidential primary — and how it came to be such a privacy mess

The Minneapolis Early Vote Center on Hennepin Avenue opened Friday morning.
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
As early voting got under way for the March 3, 2020 election, complaints about voter privacy have begun to surface.
Any account of the origins of the 2020 Minnesota presidential primary and the recent backlash over voter privacy must begin with the evening of March 1, 2016, when there wasn’t a lot of voter privacy to be had.

That night, Republicans and DFLers held precinct caucuses in a year when both parties’ contests for president were open and contested. High interest led to meetings that were overcrowded and chaotic, with some voters giving up and going home rather than wait hours to participate.

The response was the creation of the Minnesota Presidential Nominating Primary, the state’s first presidential primary in three decades and part of a national trend away from caucuses.

But recently, as early voting got under way for the March 3, 2020 election, complaints about voter privacy have begun to surface — specifically about the fact that the state’s major political parties will not only get a list of every voter who takes part in the voting — but which party primary they took part in.

So how did we get here? How bad were the 2016 caucuses?

There were an estimated 207,000 Democrats and 114,000 Republicans who officially participated in Minnesota’s 2016 caucuses: signing in to the gatherings with their name, address and a pledge that they adhered to what the party stood for. Bernie Sanders won the most support among Democrats, and Marco Rubio prevailed among Republicans.


But some of the caucus gatherings were so unpleasant, and the publicity so bad, that the chairs of the state’s two dominant parties — Ken Martin for the DFL and Keith Downey for the GOP — were ready to make the shift to a presidential primary. 

Lawmakers from both parties were also on board. “If we try and continue to operate a system where our capacity to encourage people to participate is blown away by the people eager to participate, it seems to me we end up discouraging people,” said sponsor Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope.

2016 DFL caucus check-in
MinnPost file photo by Bill Kelley
There were an estimated 207,000 Democrats and 114,000 Republicans who officially participated in Minnesota’s 2016 caucuses: signing in to the gatherings with their name, address and a pledge that they adhered to what the party stood for.
The bill to create the new election passed easily and was signed by then-Gov. Mark Dayton on May 22, 2016 — less than three months after what would be, for now, the last presidential nominating caucuses in Minnesota.

So how did it get to be that voters’ party preference isn’t private? 

Secretary of State Steve Simon has been answering that question since 2016, but the explanation still hasn’t sunk in with many voters. 

As a nominating process run by two private entities — the national Democratic and Republican parties — it’s an election unlike what most Minnesota voters are used to, said Simon. As such, the parties insist on controls over the process to ensure that only Democrats take part in the Democratic nomination process and only Republicans take part in the Republican nomination. The parties also get to decide which candidates appear on the ballot, whether write-ins are allowed, and whether voters can opt to send uncommitted delegates to the national conventions.

To participate, voters will sign in and request the ballot of one party or the other. Signage will tell them that their choice will be communicated to the parties, which can use that data to assess whether there was organized mischief (such as known Republicans crossing over to try to nominate a weak Democrat). 


Martin said last week that he doesn’t believe in the existence of crossover voting. “The ability for a party to orchestrate a wholesale attempt to influence someone else’s party is next to nil,” Martin said. 

Still, both national parties have rules that demand that states provide some way of knowing who voted in which primary, a requirement dubbed “recordation.” No lists, no presidential primary. 

Simon said the Legislature agreed to that demand and to pay the $11.9 million cost of the primary because the state has an interest in an orderly process to nominate the president of the United States.

So why do Democrats get the GOP list and why do Republicans get the DFL list?

The 2016 bill authorizing the primary made the party preference lists public. Prior to the 2019 legislative session, however, Simon proposed a change that would exempt the lists from the state Data Practices Act and make it so that the lists only went to their respective parties: the Democratic list would go to Democrats, the Republican list to Republicans. 

Ken Martin
Ken Martin
But when the election omnibus bill was in conference committee, Simon’s proposal was changed in two significant ways. First, all major parties, including the two new marijuana legalization parties — the Legal Marijuana Now Party and the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party (neither of which will be participating in the presidential primary) — would get both the DFL and GOP lists. Second, whoever possessed the lists could use them any way they wanted, including making the information public or posting it online.

Now the lists, both their existence and what use might be made of the information, are making some voters leery of taking part, though not unwilling to complain to Simon, legislators, the parties themselves and to local newspapers about it. 

How valuable are those lists, anyway?

Very. Parties create voter lists based on contributions, attendance at party events and caucuses, and information provided to canvassers. Such lists are provided to endorsed candidates, and are one of the main rewards of winning a party’s endorsement. 

Because the turnout for a primary is expected to far exceed that of caucuses, the number of voters on the presidential primary list will be far larger than it would be otherwise. More voters means better data.


“In any organization or corporation you work in you make decisions based on data,” the GOP’s current chair, Jennifer Carnahan, told MinnPost last spring. That data can identify demographic shifts over time and help decide where party resources should be targeted. “Having visibility of all the data can help both political parties in understanding opportunities in areas that have shifted,” Carnahan said.

Jennifer Carnahan
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Jennifer Carnahan
Martin said that the party spends time and money trying to get party preference information on the state’s voters, but estimates that he has no information on between 30 percent and 40 percent of voters. The presidential primary list, like caucus sign-in sheets, “will be used by our local units to recruit people to volunteer and run for office and become active members of our party,” he said. “Caucuses in the past and now primaries, in addition to being a nominating process, they’re also a party building exercise. It gives us a new list of people to approach to be volunteers and become activists.”

The 2019 changes, however, mean that data will also go to political rivals who could use it against the DFL and its candidates, Martin said. That possibility led Martin to first complain to Simon about the secretary of state’s interpretation of the new law — and then to consider litigation to block the state from giving the information to the marijuana parties. 

Martin ended up deciding against suing Simon, but he said he wants to see changes made for the 2024 election.

Are there efforts to change the way lists are used before in-person voting begins?

Yes. 

Will they happen? Probably not.

The 2020 legislative session begins Feb. 11, the election is March 3 (though early voting has been available since Jan. 17), and voter lists are due no later than 10 weeks later. If a change is meant to reassure voters, lawmakers don’t have much time. 

Even so, Simon has been shopping a plan asking lawmakers to quickly pass a bill that would further restrict how voter data is used by the political parties this election. Under the plan, data would go not to the state parties but directly to their national organizations. There, data-driven assessments can be made to look for signs of crossover voting. The proposal would also allow voters to opt out of having their data shared.

“Our office is hearing from a lot of people in the business community, the nonprofit community, the clergy and those in local government, that they are concerned about every major political party getting their party preference information,” Simon wrote in a Jan. 14 letter to Carnahan and Martin.

“People fear that this information may be leaked, or will otherwise surface in a way that reveals their private political preferences,” Simon wrote. “They fear that such a breach could compromise their ability to do their jobs effectively.”

Said Martin of voter backlash: “It didn’t catch me by surprise, but it’s been loud.”

While Martin was amenable to Simon’s proposal, Carnahan was not. Martin claimed she canceled a meeting with Simon and the other party chairs and did not respond to his letters asking for agreement on the plan.

Instead, the Republican chair sent out a press statement condemning the attempt to change the law. While Martin said the Simon proposal was meant to encourage otherwise reluctant voters to take part in the primary, Carnahan accused him of the opposite.

Secretary of State Steve Simon
MinnPost photo by Greta Kaul
Secretary of State Steve Simon
“Voting is one of the greatest rights and civic duties we are afforded by living in the United States of America,” Carnahan stated in the press release. “Yet the DFL is actively working to dissuade Minnesotans from participating in the March 3rd Presidential Primary, for which voting is already open.”

Carnahan said she opposed changing the rules of the primary in the middle of the election. She also said that her party took voter privacy seriously and that there was no evidence from other states misusing voter lists.

Martin said he was disappointed that Carnahan wouldn’t even meet with Simon and the other chairs. “Instead of responding to me and instead of engaging in this process in any meaningful way, Jennifer Carnahan decided to lob partisan bombs that completely misrepresented the DFL position and cast aspersions on the concerns of Minnesota voters,” Martin said.

But time isn’t the only problem with Simon’s plan. Though two GOP House members  — Rep. Peggy Scott of Andover and Rep. Pat Garofalo of Farmington — were set to announce a bill “to protect voter privacy,” Mary Kiffmeyer, the Big Lake Republican who is the GOP lead on election and state government issues, has said she opposes making any changes this year. (UPDATE: The Scott bill would stop collection of any party preference information, a move already rejected by Martin and Kiffmeyer)

Unless GOP senators are feeling enough heat from voters, nothing will pass in time for the 2020 presidential primary.

Martin said this week that if Kiffmeyer refuses to take up the issue he will likely make a solo pledge to send the voter data to the national party for a statistical assessment on participation and not use it for any other purpose.

“If it’s just us, so be it,” he said. “We won’t use the data.”

Comments (42)

  1. Submitted by Dan Landherr on 01/29/2020 - 11:33 am.

    I don’t buy the “statistical assessment” argument. If they want to do statistics they can just count votes by precinct, no need for names and addresses. The parties also know that cross-party voting is also negligible. I think the #1 thing they do with the data is develop mailing lists for advertising and soliciting donations. Elections run on donations and the parties are eager to have a much larger pool of people to bother than they did with just caucus-goers.

    I also agree that this will discourage civil service government employees from participating in primary elections. People will have a fear of being “outed” and at risk of job repercussions if the other party gains power. Carnahan’s hyper-partisan press statement makes that fear seem very legitimate.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/30/2020 - 10:36 am.

      Agreed, this isn’t about statistics, why didn’t they colletct that when we had caucases?

      • Submitted by Alan Straka on 02/03/2020 - 12:14 pm.

        If you went to a caucus, they collected your personal information to make sure you legitimately belonged there. That information went to the party and they used it however they wished. If you did not want the party to have your information you did not go to the caucus. The only difference is that now all parties get the information and that does seem wrong. I am hoping that the other parties will decide I am not worth bothering and I will only be contacted by the one whose primary I voted in but that is probably wishful thinking.

  2. Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 01/29/2020 - 11:37 am.

    This needs to be fixed. Voting is private.

    To summarize the article, our two major political parties care about raising funds through voter lists, not the voter.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/29/2020 - 03:21 pm.

      And of course one wouldn’t think it is possible that those lists could end up in the wrong hands, and as divided a country as we have today, Of course lets create lists of the blue hats and the red hats, that will make everything better! So much for the independent rationale minded.

    • Submitted by Mike Hindin on 02/02/2020 - 08:02 am.

      Both primary and election votes ARE Private. Primaries are a party function to select their candidates. Many states have closed primaries. Party registration is required to participate and get a party ballot.

  3. Submitted by Brian Mann on 01/29/2020 - 12:03 pm.

    Voting is a public event, by definition. The voter’s information, however, should be private. Thank you Secretary Simon for trying to referee the squabbling partisan parties trying to get a leg up on each other.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/29/2020 - 12:35 pm.

    Ms. Carnahan and Mr. Martin (not to mention their bosses at the national level) appear never to have heard of the “secret ballot,” which is more or less essential to a genuine democracy. It’s the business of exactly NO ONE who I might vote for, in ANY election, primary or otherwise. There’s no such thing as a secret ballot, and no such thing as voter privacy, if the political parties not only know how you voted, but can then sell that information to any candidate or private entity that wants to pay them for it. Trying to fulfill one’s civic duty then becomes a money-making scheme for the two major political parties. Partisan lawmakers (and party chairs on both sides) have apparently suppressed any tendency they might have learned as children to be ashamed of inexcusable behavior, but this is one of those instances when being ashamed is well-justified.

    I speak from experience when I endorse Dan Landherr’s comment. The only time in my life I ever registered as a party member to vote in a primary – because state law required it, much like the new Minnesota statute – was in Colorado. It was a terrible experience, and I’ll never voluntarily repeat it. Parties were / are always interested in foot-soldiers to knock on doors and try to persuade voters to choose their candidate(s), but even more than that, they want lists of voters for fundraising purposes. Minnesota primary voters can now count on fundraising calls and mailings, several times a year, year after year, once their names are in the party’s database, and no matter how loudly they complain, it will still take years of sustained effort on their part to get their name(s) OFF that list.

    Beyond the concern about civil service employees’ party preference being “outed,” validly raised by Landherr in his comment’s second paragraph, Mr. Simon’s concern about reduced primary participation seems equally valid, especially among Independent voters who don’t belong to a political party, usually by choice. Minnesota seems more divided along strict party lines than my former home. In Colorado, where voters were – and may still be – roughly equally divided among Democrats, Republicans and Independents. I’ve not done any research to find out how Minnesota’s voter population is divided, but if it’s anywhere near those proportions, having to declare a party preference could (I’d argue that it likely will) significantly suppress voter turnout among Independent voters. As one of those Independents, I know it will keep me away from the primary polls.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/03/2020 - 05:48 pm.

      I don’t care if independents don’t vote in primaries. If you are not a member of a party, you should not get to decide.

      i don’t get to decide who the officers of the Moose Lodge are, because I’m ot a member. This is not different.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/07/2020 - 10:59 am.

        Problem is, probably the majority of us are left with the crazy nominee on the far left or the crazy nominee on the far right, by definition the parties are dominated by the radicals, hell of a way to run a railroad!

  5. Submitted by Carl Brookins on 01/29/2020 - 12:39 pm.

    If Democrat, Republican and other party leaders at the state and national level really cared about the privacy of voters and cared about enhancing the rights of voters, they would be moving heaven and earth to correct the local mess. At the national level they would work to secure their mailing lists. None of that appears to be happening. I am deeply disappointed in our local political leadership, but not surprised. Nor am I surprised at the incompetence displayed by the national parties in this matter, not to mention the obvious lack of defense against foreign interference in our elections.

  6. Submitted by Curt Johnson on 01/29/2020 - 12:59 pm.

    Peter, Perhaps I missed it, but did you find out what other states that are conducting primaries are doing? Are they conforming to the national party demands? Are those states making the data available to all the parties? These answers would be interesting. As things stand, I know nearly no one who’s going to vote in this primary. Too bad.

    Curt

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 01/30/2020 - 04:50 pm.

      There is no reason at all for Republicans to vote in the primary: There’s only one candidate. Trump will be the nominee, by the Republican Party’s decision in Minnesota.

      So, no one need know who is a Republican, right? If you don’t vote for Trump, no one cares and no one knows whether that’s because you can’t stand him or you just are a lazy voter. But you can’t cross over andvote for the weakest Democrat you can pick out, because you’d have to swear you were a Democrat to vote in that party’s primary. Makes sense to me.

      The fear–and we’re talking about fear of retribution, punishment for political affiliation–is by people who want to vote democratic in the primary. The fear is that being a Democrat, in some sections of the state, will hurt your job, your career, your work relationships.

      That’s the effect of Trumpism in our society. It’s voter suppression by legitimizing the demonization of being a Democrat or having political opinions that are not pro-Trump. How sad for us all.

      Vote anyway, folks! They won’t know if you voted for Bernie or Elizabeth or Amy or Pete or Joe! Your vote is still secret, and you can be proud to not be in Trump’s camp.

    • Submitted by Thom Roethke on 02/07/2020 - 03:30 pm.

      In most states voters register as a member of a party and only registered members of a party are allowed to vote in that party’s primary. The voter registration lists are public info.

  7. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/29/2020 - 01:48 pm.

    “Voting is one of the greatest rights and civic duties we are afforded by living in the United States of America,” Carnahan stated in the press release. “Yet the DFL is actively working to dissuade Minnesotans from participating in the March 3rd Presidential Primary, for which voting is already open.”
    I agree, so much for the big tent. Looks more like a Nazi oath to party loyalty vs the country and the constitution. What a great strategy to drive independents away form the DFL and into the Trump camp!

  8. Submitted by Stan Hooper on 01/29/2020 - 03:49 pm.

    And here I was thinking that the real purpose for voter identification in a primary election was so that better gerrymandered districts could be laid out if/when we change the number of representatives after the census.

  9. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 01/29/2020 - 03:59 pm.

    Another sign that both parties are top-down authoritarian and do not believe in Democracy.

    I am voting in the Dem primary, but it would be a lie to say that I have any loyalty to the Dem party, or any party. Do I agree with Dem values and principals? Does the party even have any? Other than keeping big money happy?

    If my choice gets sold down the river by party elite like last time, I will be voting for my choice in the general no matter if he is the nominee.

    Get bent, authoritarians….

    • Submitted by Mike Schumann on 02/02/2020 - 07:48 am.

      Both parties only have ONE principle and value. To get elected. If the parties want to control the rules for their own primaries they should organize and pay for them themselves.

      • Submitted by Gordon Everest on 02/03/2020 - 09:59 am.

        More broadly to stay in power. So where does that leave all parties other than the two major parties. They are effectively shut out. We desperately need rank choice voting.

  10. Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 01/29/2020 - 04:08 pm.

    How is what the parties can do with voter information from the primary election the same or different from what the parties could do with information they collected on caucus-goers?

  11. Submitted by Mike Schumann on 01/29/2020 - 04:33 pm.

    The data should either be private, or public and available to everyone. We shouldn’t let the political parties dictate how we run our elections. If they want to control the elections, they can organize and pay for their own private elections.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 01/30/2020 - 04:53 pm.

      The political parties have every right to control who votes in their primary. It’s their party’s nominee we’re talking about. Not the general election’s favorite.

      Get a grip.

      • Submitted by Blake Peterson on 02/05/2020 - 01:55 pm.

        If it’s their primary, then why are Independents paying for it?
        Why do the Republican and Democratic parties get to choose who’s invited to the presidential debates? They also choose the questions, locations, audiences, etc. The Bi-Partisan Commission for Presidential Debates changed the rules to keep 3rd parties out after Ross Perot received 19% of the popular vote in ’92.
        Elections are supposed to benefit the people, not the parties. Yet independents, who make up roughly 45% of the population, are denied full electoral rights.

  12. Submitted by Doug Duwenhoegger on 01/29/2020 - 05:14 pm.

    So wait. Who exactly changed Simon’s proposal? Seriously why even write this without that information?

  13. Submitted by Barry Peterson on 01/29/2020 - 06:30 pm.

    I have a son who lives in Ghana, West Africa. While that nation was the home and birthplace of two-time U.S. Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kofi Annan, with footprints in Minnesota among institutions and Ghanaians living here, Ghana is a bad democracy.

    My son told me that when one party is in power, either by tribal or tribal/governmental power, those who are not from the dominant party lose in business and access to being government employees — including serving in the military, which is a good source of education for mostly young men.

    This nonsense which was cooked up in 2016, will be the downfall of many people, and we have DFL Chairman Ken Martin and others to blame for this grave and moronic error in judgment.

    I do not want my name, address, and other contact information being sold to the highest bidders so that political parties which I no longer or never endorsed can enrich themselves and have a strong role in creating state policies and laws.

    Mr. Martin is a keen fundraiser, and has ordained a monument at the headquarters with the names of donors on each brick, bench, and wall associated with his fundraising efforts. As a high school student, he seemed to be a fine leader for his age. He has a B.A. in political science and history from an out of state public university.

    However, with the knowledge that he and other senior leaders of the party have gotten rid of their former state disability caucus chair (who is a current Democratic National Committee associate vice chair and the current DNC Direcotr of the Midwestern District Disability Council), violating the party’s by-laws to do so, after the double-doctorate and educator had well-served the party for nearly forty years in responsible capacities, I no longer have faith in the current leadership of the DFL and nor do I care to make my contact information a matter of public record.

    Hence, I will be sitting out this very important election year due to the mis-steps of Mr. Ken Martin and other political hacks in this state. We need voters to vote in privacy and not to the known awareness of people who can either financially capitalize on their knowledge of our names and contact information, or who will do the same thing that has happened in Ghana, where businesses close down if a competing political party comes into power and dismantles opportunities for individuals to serve in small and large capacities in commerce and government.

    Thanks, Ken. You’re a real brain.

    • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 01/29/2020 - 06:36 pm.

      In my effort to review and edit my comment, I neglected to correct an error in noting Kofi Annan’s title. He was not “U.S. Secretary General,” but U.N. Secretary General for two terms. One of my friends went to school with Kofi for thirteen years in the mountains of Ghana, and remained friends with him through his death a few years ago. Both men are and were superb leaders and statesmen. Kofi graduated from Macalester College in 1961, where I also attended for one year and have served as an alumnus over the years.

  14. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 01/29/2020 - 10:05 pm.

    Obviously we can thank Governor Dayton for signing the bill into law, but what if we name all of the legislators who voted for this bill, just for the record. Privacy isn’t a concern as it is part of the public record. Perhaps MinnPost could do us all a favor and publish the list, as a public service. What say ye?

  15. Submitted by William Geddes on 01/29/2020 - 10:24 pm.

    Let’s be honest about this. The Republicans have fixed their ballot so it’s just Trump on it, preventing other Republicans running for President from appearing on it in Minnesota, and now want to try and influence the Democratic candidate without anyone being able to tell that they did so.

  16. Submitted by George Chalmers on 01/30/2020 - 12:09 am.

    NO, I WILL NOT VOTE, THE BASIC PRINCIPLE IS VOTING SHOULD BE PRIVATE. AM 74 AND VOTED IN MANY ELECTIONS!!!

  17. Submitted by Solly Johnson on 01/30/2020 - 02:15 am.

    “a nominating process run by two private entities,” but publicly funded.
    Meanwhile, at the DNC Tom Perez has loaded up the platform and other committees with lobbyists, corporate hacks, and other influence peddlers.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/30/2020 - 05:52 pm.

      No, that’s completely false. The people Perez has nominated are longtime active Democrats. Even though all the perceived slights of Sanders didn’t change the fact he lost by millions of votes, the DNC made changes anyway, which he signed off on.

      • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 02/04/2020 - 07:58 am.

        Wasserman-Schultz scheduled only a few debates at times very few people would watch, and later was forced to resign. Brazile furnished Clinton questions in advance, and 200,000 were kicked off the voting lists in Brooklyn. Independent analysts concurred that the process was rigged in favor of Clinton and the establishment Democrats.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/04/2020 - 01:29 pm.

          “Independent analysts concurred” And this can be supported with what? A google search comes up fuzzy to empty.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/06/2020 - 12:59 pm.

          Yes, and the Sanders campaign snooped on Clinton’s private voter data.

          What nonsense. Clinton won by millions of votes. You would have to be a complete crackpot to think the election was rigged. The only rigging was the voter suppressing caucuses which benefitted Sanders, but weren’t his doing.

  18. Submitted by P Eaves on 01/30/2020 - 09:12 am.

    Public Finance reports have many personal details about donors to particular campaigns. Does anyone know to what extent those are extracted and how they are used or sold? It would not take a very complicated algorithm to determine what party you more or less support. A more complicated algorithm may even try to discern the issues significant to a candidate you donated to . Of course the folks that donate to campaigns are the low-hanging fruit. The parties and other interested entities, I imagine are looking for persuadables. Thoughts?

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/30/2020 - 10:42 am.

    Our legislators simply caved into the their national Parties here, and now they’re paying the price of decreased credibility and voter hostility.

    Like voter ID this does nothing to prevent malicious crossover voting because people can lie when they get their ballot and it’s not illegal to do so.

    We need this ballots to return to private status like all our other votes, Party bosses don’t need our names and addresses.

  20. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 01/30/2020 - 12:00 pm.

    I agree that the voter preference should remain private and confidential. Somehow, the party leadership of both parties manage to get voter patterns anyway which they have used in past redistricting to gerrymander legislative and Congressional districts to protect incumbents and maintain political power.

    This has to change. Information about voter’s voting patterns should not be available to draw legislative or Congressional district maps whether that information is obtained by a voter’s declaration to vote in a primary or by teasing it out of other data. The legislature is being presented with a bipartisan proposal this session for the creation of a redistricting commission that establishes the principles for redistricting and disqualifies the use voting preference information. Both parties in the legislature need to get behind this important reform.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 01/30/2020 - 05:02 pm.

      Curious use of the passive voice: “changes were made. . . .” My guess is that, since it’s the Republican Party that’s resisting Simon’s suggested legislative modifications to correct problems here, it was Republicans who were the agents of this permissive usage stuff.

      Maybe, once the parties get my primary voting data the GOP will stop sending me Trump propaganda, once they realize that my driver’s license information doesn’t really tell them–despite some demographics–that I’m a fervent, life-long progressive Democrat. It would be great not to get Trump’s junk mail and not to get their phone calls.

  21. Submitted by Robert Moore on 02/02/2020 - 10:56 am.

    I did not participate in caucuses because of the party identification concern and I will be sitting out this election for the same reason. If taxpayers are footing the bill for this election, it should be an open primary.

  22. Submitted by Gordon Everest on 02/03/2020 - 10:09 am.

    I think it is the people running for an election that are more important than the parties. Why can’t we have a single primary where each person can vote for their best candidate, regardless of ANY party affiliation? And the top two or three might be from the same party. This way we can get the best PERSON for the job, not necessarily the party. Under our current system the two major parties have a complete stranglehold on the process.
    And I would go a step further to have Ranked choice voting where voters would give their first, second, third, etc. choices if they desired.

  23. Submitted by Rosemary Schaffer on 02/03/2020 - 06:27 pm.

    Thank You for this article. I was struggling today to figure our HOW we got here in this confusing mess, just today. Now I have printed it out to keep my information straight. Trying to explain this to other folks when I did not have it clear myself, was driving me up the wall! I am going to put a Resolution in at mine to eliminate the Caucasus by the next State or National Elections. As far as I can figure, the Primary Voting negates the necessity of them, since our County Conventions come AFTER the Primary, and County Business can be done at that time. Though I surely maybe wrong.

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