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Nomination vacancy changes

Published (4/29/2011)
By Nick Busse
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When Rep. Tim Sanders (R-Blaine) went to vote in last year’s election, he saw 24 candidates for a single judicial office on the ballot in his precinct. He hopes to prevent that from happening again with HF1408.

The bill would make a number of technical changes to the statute that governs how a nomination for a nonpartisan office vacancy is filled. Nonpartisan offices include judicial and local offices.

Under the provisions, a candidate for a nonpartisan office who is defeated in a primary would not be able to subsequently run as a replacement for a candidate who defeated them but who later withdrew. The bill would also clarify the legal timelines for withdrawal and for filing to fill a vacancy.

Sanders said the bill is a direct response to the situation in his district. He said voters were frustrated knowing that there were

24 candidates on the ballot and “no good place to get information on them.” He said the predicament is unfair to voters.

“That’s a big problem, to have 24 folks interested in filling one seat on a ballot,” he said.

The House Government Operations and Elections Committee approved the bill April 18 and referred it to the House Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee. Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) sponsors the companion, SF1009, which awaits action by the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee.

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