MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Democrats are asking the state’s Supreme Court to remove Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump from the ballot.
The state party filed a petition Thursday asking Minnesota’s secretary of state to drop Trump and running mate Mike Pence from the general election ballot, arguing the Republican Party of Minnesota erred in how it submitted Trump’s name.
State law requires political parties to select electors — the people who cast Electoral College ballots following the popular vote — and their alternates at conventions as part of putting a nominee on the ballot.
Democrats argue the GOP didn’t choose its alternates at its convention but that party leaders chose them last month to meet a looming deadline. They say that invalidates the GOP’s ballot submission and that Secretary of State Steve Simon should have rejected it.
Minnesota Republican Party chairman Keith Downey said Friday that the Democrats’ petition is “baseless and politically corrupt.”
Downey said the party completed its requirements five days before the August 29th filing deadline and in compliance with state law and party rules, submitting nominees for president and vice president along with nominees for elector and alternate elector. The ballot filing was certified by the secretary of state, he added.
“Donald Trump got on our ballot fair and square, and it is outrageous that the Democrat Party would actually try to rig the election this way,” Downey said.
Downey has previously acknowledged that the party forgot to vote for alternates at its convention in May.
The Democrats’ effort to remove Trump from the ballot will force the GOP to expend precious time and resources on a legal battle rather than the fight for control of the Legislature. Minnesota’s Republican Party is still carrying roughly $1 million in debt from the 2010 elections.
Democrats brought on a pair of veteran election attorneys to make their case to the Supreme Court: Marc Elias and David Zoll, who both helped in the recounts that eventually elected Democrats Al Franken to the U.S. Senate in 2008 and Mark Dayton in the 2010 gubernatorial election.
The clock is ticking for a resolution. Early voting in Minnesota begins Sept. 23, and the secretary of state’s office said in a court filing Friday that it would need direction by Monday to correct ballots.