Template:Mnpoliticalpartyprocess

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DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: 2013 Minnesota Statutes, "Section 200.02"

Minnesota recognizes two classes of political parties: major parties and minor parties.

Qualifying as a major party

A party may qualify as a major political party via one of the methods described below:[1]

1.) Fielding one candidate who wins five percent of the total vote cast in the election

The party must have fielded at least one candidate for election to the office of:[1]

a.) Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor or Attorney General at the last preceding state general election for those offices; or
b.) Presidential electors or United States Senator at the last preceding state general election for presidential electors.

The candidate must have received votes in each county in that election. In total, the candidate must have received votes equaling at least five percent of the total number of individuals who voted in that election.[1] For example, 2,123,369 individuals voted in 2010, meaning that a party's candidate would need to win at least 106,169 votes in order for the party to qualify for major party status.[2]

A party whose candidate meets these requirements becomes a major party as of January 1 following that election and retains such status for at least two consecutive general elections, even if the party fields a candidate who does not win the requisite votes. If the party fails in each of two consecutive general elections to field a candidate who meets these requirements, however, the party will lose major party status as of December 31 following the latter of the two elections.[1]

2.) Fielding a full slate of candidates

The party must have fielded at least 45 candidates for election as state representatives, 23 candidates for election as state senators, four candidates for election as congressional representatives, and one candidate for election to each of the following offices: Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Auditor at the last preceding state general election for those offices -- a total of 76 offices.[1]

A party who fields this slate of candidates becomes a major party as of January 1 following that election and retains such status for at least two consecutive general elections, even if the party fails to field the requisite slate of candidates. If the party does not field the necessary slate of candidates for two consecutive general elections, however, the party will lose major party status as of December 31 following the latter of the two consecutive elections.[1]

3.) Petitioning the Secretary of State for recognition

The party must present to the Secretary of State a petition for a place on the state partisan primary ballot.[1]

a.) The petition must contain signatures equal to at least five percent of the total number of individuals who voted in the preceding state general election. For example, 2,123,369 individuals voted in 2010, meaning that a party would need to collect at least 106,169 signatures in order for the party to qualify for major party status.[2]
b.) The petition must be submitted before the close of the filing period for the state partisan primary ballot.

Upon qualifying for a place on the primary ballot, the party must field candidates via one of the two methods above.[1]

Qualifying as a minor party

A party may qualify as a minor political party via one of the methods described below:[1]

1.) Fielding one candidate who wins at least one percent of the vote in the election

The party must have fielded at least one candidate for election to the office of:[1]

a.) Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor or Attorney General at the last preceding state general election for those offices; or
b.) Presidential electors or United States Senator at the preceding state general election for presidential electors.

The candidate must have received votes in each county. In total, the candidate must have received votes equaling at least one percent of the total number of individuals who voted in the election.[1] For example, 2,123,369 individuals voted in 2010, meaning that a party's candidate would need to win at least 21,234 votes in order for the party to qualify for minor party status.[2]

A party whose candidate meets these requirements becomes a minor party as of January 1 following that election and retains such status for at least two consecutive general elections, even if the party fields a candidate who does not win the requisite votes. If the party fails in each of two consecutive general elections to field a candidate who meets these requirements, however, the party will lose minor party status as of December 31 following the latter of the two elections.[1]

2.) Petitioning the Secretary of State for recognition

The party must present to the Secretary of State a petition for a place on the general election ballot.[1]

a.) The petition must contain signatures equal to at least one percent of the total number of individuals who voted in the preceding state general election. For example, 2,123,369 individuals voted in 2010, meaning that a party would need to collect at least 21,234 signatures in order to qualify for minor party status.[2]
b.) The petition must be submitted before the close of the filing period for the state partisan primary ballot.

Upon qualifying for a place on the general election ballot, the party must field candidates in the method described above to maintain status.[1]

To be considered a minor party in an election in a state legislative district, the party must have fielded a candidate for legislative office in that district who won at least 10 percent of the total number of votes cast for that office, or the party must present the Secretary of State with a petition containing signatures equaling at least 10 percent of the total number of individuals who voted in the preceding state general election for that office.[1]

Procedural requirements

The relevant statutes stipulate that a major political party must maintain a party organization in the state in accordance with the following requirements:[1][3]

  • The final authority over the affairs of each major party is vested in the party's state convention, which must be held at least once every general election.
  • Subject to the control of the state convention, the general management of party affairs is vested in the state central committee.
  • The state executive committee of a party is responsible for the administration of the party's affairs, subject to the direction of the state convention and state central committee.
  • The chair of the state central committee of each party must file a copy of the party's constitution with the Secretary of State as soon as they are enacted.

Similarly, a minor party must submit a certification to the Secretary of State by December 31 each general election year demonstrating that it has adopted a state constitution, designated a state party chair, and held a state convention in the last two years.[1]

Major parties must nominate their candidates for office by primary election. Minor parties are not entitled to participate in primary elections and instead must field candidates via nominating petitions (see "Process to become a candidate" below for more information).[4]