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2020 Election Comes to West St. Paul: Caucus & Primary

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The flurry of the 2020 election is finally coming to West St. Paul with the 2020 caucuses and presidential primary. Yes, two separate events—a caucus to support party issues and endorse candidates and a primary to vote on the party’s presidential nominee.

It can be a little confusing, so let’s sort it out.

Precinct Caucuses: February 25

After the 2016 election, Minnesota did away with the caucus system for nominating the president. But we didn’t entirely get rid of the caucus. It’s still used for selecting party delegates, introducing and supporting issues for party platforms, and endorsing candidates for state/Congressional offices.

If you want a say in how political parties are run, the issues they support, and the candidates who run, you should attend the Precinct Caucuses.

It all starts with the Precinct Caucuses on Tuesday, February 25.

Caucuses are party specific, so you attend the caucus of the party you want to support. Caucuses start at 7 p.m., with registration opening earlier.

Caucus Locations:

  • DFL: Heritage E-STEM Magnet Middle School
  • Republican: Garlough Environmental Magnet School
  • For other party caucuses, use the Secretary of State’s Caucus Finder or visit the party websites.

(Note: The Secretary of State’s Caucus Finder says the Republican caucus is at Oltman Middle School in Cottage Grove, while the HD52A site says Garlough. I assume Garlough is correct, but haven’t been able to confirm that.)

You can get more information on local party caucuses from their respective sites—DFL SD52 and GOP HD52A.

Presidential Primary: March 3

After over-crowded polling sites and long lines at the 2016 caucus, Minnesota switched to a Presidential Primary for 2020. So instead of potentially committing your entire evening to support your preferred presidential candidate, you can just vote on a traditional ballot.

And you can vote on primary day, March 3, or any time before thanks to early voting (you can do it in-person or by mail). If you’re not registered, be sure to register to vote.

Where to Vote?

You can find polling locations from the City of West St. Paul or the Secretary of State’s polling place finder.

Who to Vote For?

You’ll have to choose which party to vote for—DFL or Republican (other parties opted not to participate in the primary)—and you’ll be given the appropriate ballot. The DFL ballot includes 15 candidates (many of whom have dropped out) and an “uncommitted” option. The Republican ballot has just President Donald Trump and the “write-in” option.

The Minnesota Secretary of State notes that, “Your choice of party is private, except it is available to the chair of each major political party.” We’ll have to wait and see if the legislature addresses that ‘private except’ issue.

Fun Fact

The last time Minnesota had a Presidential Primary was 1992. You can find West St. Paul’s Harold Stassen, former Minnesota governor and perennial presidential candidate, on the Republican ballot (he only got 3% of the vote). 1992 was his ninth and final run for president. He passed away on March 4, 2001.

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