Minnesotans cast ballots in first primary since 1992

Some voters in Winona turned away after declining to declare party affiliation

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT)– Minnesotans voted for who they wanted to be their party’s presidential nominee on Super Tuesday. Instead of the caucus system, voters cast a ballot for either the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party or Republican party.

This is not the first time that Minnesota has had a primary. However, the last time there was a primary was in 1992, when Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush won their party primaries.

In 2016, former Governor Mark Dayton signed off on legislation to establish a presidential primary. The legislation also required people to pick which party they would vote for.

If a voter chose to vote for the Republican Party, they only saw Donald Trump as one of the candidates. The Republican Party of Minnesota decided to only list Trump on the ballot. However, voters could write in Bill Weld, the only other Republican challenger left in the race.

If someone voted for a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate, they would see 15 names and an ‘uncommitted’ option. Though most of the names that appear on the ballot have dropped out, most recently former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. That is because the chair for each party had to notify the state which candidates would appear on the ballot by Dec. 31.

Which party they chose to cast a ballot for, not the specific candidate or personal information, will be shared with the state party. Winona City Clerk Monica Hennessey Mohan said she was aware of a few voters declining to give their party affiliation so they were turned away by poll workers.

Since the caucus and presidential nomination primary system are vastly different, it’s tough for the clerk to say how turnout might be impacted.

“The last time we had a primary in Minnesota was 1992 and the turnout in Winona was only 8 percent. I would anticipate we would exceed the 8 percent but I don’t think that we’ll exceed the 25 percent turnout we had for the August 2018 primary,” Hennessey Mohan said.

News 8 Now will have ongoing coverage of the 2020 presidential election. You can find our reports here.