A primer for voting in the Aug. 9 Primary

On Aug. 9, Minnesotans will vote in the primary elections. But what is a primary election?

A Primary Election determines who will be on the ballot in November during the General Election. Each ballot consists of two sides; the partisan side and the nonpartisan side of the ballot.

Partisan Side

At the state and federal levels, voters will be required to vote for one of the four major parties in Minnesota. The four major parties are the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party, the Legal Marijuana Now Party, and the Republican Party of Minnesota.

Although Minnesota doesn’t have political party registration, voters during the Primary Election can only vote for candidates from one political party. For example, if a person votes for a DFL gubernatorial candidate in the primary they would have to vote for DFL candidates for senate, secretary of state, attorney general, etc.

What happens if a person votes for DFL for Governor but choose a Republican candidate for attorney general? According to the Secretary of State’s website, “If you vote for candidates from more than one political party, your votes will not count.”

Nonpartisan Side

On the other side of the ballot, voters will find all of the nonpartisan (offices that are not required to declare an affiliation to a political party) elections. For local nonpartisan races such as county commissioner, city council, or county sheriff; the top two vote-getters will move on to the general election in November.

What if a voter voted for two parties on the partisan side, thus voiding the ballot; would the nonpartisan votes still be counted in the primary? A quick phone call to the Secretary of State’s office confirmed that the nonpartisan votes in the Primary would still be counted even if the partisan votes would not.

Voting in the primary is as important as voting in the general election. It is a voter’s responsibility to ensure their voice is heard by stepping into their polling place and casting their vote. Read through the County Star’s candidate profiles from our July 28 edition, or on our website countystar.com, and vote on Aug. 9.


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