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State primary could move to June

Published (3/23/2012)
By Nick Busse
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In 2010, Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a law moving the state primary from September to August. The September primary date was seen as disadvantageous to military and overseas voters, and the change had overwhelming bipartisan support in the Legislature.

Rep. Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) sponsors HF2704 that would move the date up further — to put Minnesota in closer alignment with neighboring states and potentially help boost voter turnout, he said.

The bill would designate the first Tuesday following the third Monday in June as the date for the state’s primary elections. Currently, primary elections take place on the second Tuesday in August.

The House Government Operations and Elections Committee approved the bill March 16 and sent it to the House floor. Sen. Ray Vandeveer (R-Forest Lake) sponsors the companion, SF2415, which awaits action by the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee.

Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park), who sponsored the House bill making the September-to-August change, said he supports the June change as well. He said it would give voters more time to focus on candidates and issues in the General Election rather than intra-party fights.

Rep. Mike Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park) said he doesn’t oppose the bill, but is concerned that the accelerated time frame might create difficulty for local party units to organize conventions between precinct caucuses and the primary.

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