St. Paul, MN (December 17, 2019) -- Last Friday, a Minnesota voter and a presidential candidate petitioned the state Supreme Court (file number A19-1994) to correct the upcoming March 3, 2020, presidential primary election. James Martin, a Lake Elmo voter, says the Minnesota Statutes are preventing him from voting for presidential hopeful Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente of California.
“We’re doing this to give Minnesotans a choice,” says De La Fuente, “Parties cannot monopolize the ballots.” De La Fuente, who has appeared on Minnesota’s ballots in previous federal elections, will be appearing on Republican ballots in other states across the country. But, Minnesota law empowers GOP chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan and DFL chairman Ken Martin (no relation to James Martin) to decide for whom Minnesotans may vote. As first reported on October 31, 2019, by Patrick Condon of the Star Tribune (MN), Carnahan decided that only Trump’s name would appear Minnesota’s Republican primary ballot.
The newly filed petition asserts Minnesota Statutes prevent Martin from voting for the fully qualified Republican candidate De La Fuente because his name will not be printed on Martin’s ballot. Due to the nature of Martin’s employment, he believes that he must vote early and intends to request a Republican absentee primary ballot to vote for De La Fuente. Although Martin might be able to write-in De La Fuente’s name, Martin contends such a write-in vote might not be counted. This is because the chairpersons are not required to decide what names may be written-in by voters until about a month after Martin submits his ballot. The petition seeks to correct the wrong-doing by printing De La Fuente’s name on all Republican ballots to ensure votes for him will actually be counted.
Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Gildea ordered today the petition be served on the Minnesota Secretary Of State Steve Simon, the Minnesota Republican Party, and United States President Trump no later than December 20, 2019. Secretary Simon has until December 31, 2019, to respond to Martin and De La Fuente’s petition. The Minnesota Supreme Court further invited the DFL and GOP to participate in the case as amicus curiae: if they do, they must notify the court on or before Christmas Eve and file their briefs no later than New Year’s Eve. The high court will hold oral arguments on Thursday, January 9, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. in the State Capitol Courtroom.
Martin, who sought election to the Minnesota House in 2010, first learned his vote would not be counted about November 3, 2019. On that date, he reactivated his old campaign website, votejimmartin.com, and published an open letter on it. He then drafted and sent a bill to Minnesota’s Governor and select DFL Representatives and GOP Senators to correct the Minnesota Statutes before publishing it online. Martin then retained prominent Minneapolis attorney and former state GOP secretary and treasurer Erick
G. Kaardal, solicited De La Fuente to join him, and petitioned the state’s highest court. Shortly before the petition was filed, Martin e-published a second letter on December 7, 2019, explaining the severity of the situation.
“Now, in a national embarrassment, Minnesota’s election laws fail our ordinary citizens again,” says Kaardal, “So, Mr. De La Fuente and Mr. Martin must file a Minnesota Supreme Court petition to fix the unconstitutional statutes. The statutes creating the Presidential primary violate Minnesota’s Article XII which prohibit individuals such as political party chairs to have such powers over a Presidential primary.” As first reported on December 14, 2019, by Stephen Montemayor of the Star Tribune (MN), Kaardal continues his advisement, “Here, the state legislature has unconstitutionally granted the political party chairs the exclusive privilege to name the candidates on a taxpayer-funded Presidential primary ballot. It’s unconstitutional. It’s nationally embarrassing.”
Martin explains this is not a partisan or inter-party fight, “This reminds me of Bloody Kansas. Jennifer Carnahan and Ken Martin get to choose which ballots to throw in the fireplace and which ballots to leave in the box. But, the State is ultimately responsible for starting the fire and sitting them down in front of it. It just so happens the GOP got the jump on the DFL in the lighting of this arson. The chairs have the authority to include (or exclude) any name they want on the primary ballots; whether it be Trump’s name, my name, or even your name. In other words, Mrs. Carnahan could have chosen to put only Bill Clinton’s name on the ballot and exclude Trump’s name. This would all but require Minnesota Republicans to nominate Clinton for President. Though the DFL has not yet exercised this power, Ken Martin is required to do by the end of the year and I think Minnesota Democrats are going to be harmed just as ridiculously.”
As reported on November 20, 2019, by Peter Callaghan of MinnPost (MN), Carnahan says she did not put any other names on the ballot because those she excluded did not reach out to her. She made the decision of whose names will be printed over two months before she was required to do so. Her decision can’t be changed. “Those excluded candidates still have time to ‘reach out’ to her, but she chose not to give them that time. Even so, there is no requirement for anyone to ‘reach out’ in order for a name
to be placed on the ballot,” Martin says. “Unless by ‘reach out,’ Jenifer Carnahan means give her fifty-grand to conspire in efforts to suppress voter intent. In that case then, yeah, Trump is the only one who ‘reached out.’” Trump filtered over $50,000 from his campaign to the Republican Party Of Minnesota just weeks before Carnahan excluded Trump’s competition from the ballot. Martin continues, “The legislature intended for the chairs to name all qualified candidates on our ballots and empowered them in this way because they are in the best position to know who is running for President. Jenifer Carnahan and Ken Martin know exactly who is seeking the Presidency, without anyone having to ‘reach out’ to them. But in practice, they are forcing all Minnesotans drink their Kool-Aid.”
Martin explains his motivation: “The ultimate price has already been paid by women and men, and many others who continue to lay down their lives. But, for what? These patriots don’t even know my name or that I exist, but yet they continue to gift this republic to all of us without any condition or reservation. We must honor them, and all who have and continue to serve Minnesota, by protecting this precious gifted ability to choose from among us who will govern. Any person that knowingly excludes a qualified candidate from Minnesota’s ballots advances only totalitarianism because their willful actions destroy our fragile gifted democracy.”
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