March 17, 2020 Media

Minnesota DFL Party Moves Conventions to Online Ballot

Last night, an emergency meeting of the Minnesota DFL Party Executive Committee made the decision to move local convention activities away from in-person meetings and tele-conventions, and instead conduct party business via an online balloting system. This decision was made to ensure all DFL Party events are in compliance with advice from public health officials to cease small group gatherings.

No decision has yet been made regarding the Minnesota DFL state convention.

“In light of the recent guidance from the CDC and the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota DFL Party’s State Executive Committee made the decision to have the business of all of our conventions conducted by an online balloting system,” said Ken Martin, Chairman of the Minnesota DFL. “We understand the challenges this poses, but we believe this process preserves the power of grassroots activists to decide who our party supports and what our party stands for while simultaneously protecting the health and well-being of Minnesotans everywhere.”

“Each and every day, state and local governments, businesses, and community leaders across the country are being confronted with extremely difficult decisions on how to combat the spread of coronavirus,” added Martin. “The cancellation of DFL conventions in favor of an online balloting system was not an easy decision to come to, but it is imperative that we all step up and do our part to protect our communities. The Minnesota DFL is committed to being part of the solution to this public health crisis.”

The following changes were adopted by the DFL Party’s Executive Committee last night:

DFL CALL

ALL CONVENTIONS

  • All conventions (SD’s, OU’s and other endorsing conventions) will be conducted through an online balloting system to complete the essential party business of:  electing delegates, conferring endorsements, and passing resolutions.
  • The online balloting system will be administered by the Minnesota DFL party staff who will be responsible for reporting results back to the local unit.
  • Local units will be responsible for collecting a roster of delegates and certifying the content of the ballot. The ballot, certified by a vote of the local unit executive committee, as well as the official delegate roster must be reported to the Minnesota DFL through a provided form no later than Friday, April 17 at 5 PM CST.
  • Units will have the option to send out a mail ballot to those delegates who request one.  Those ballots will need to be reported via an online form to the Minnesota DFL within the allowable balloting timeframe. 
  • Electronic Ballots will be emailed out by the Minnesota DFL directly to delegates who have not requested a mail ballot.  Delegates will be provided a unique password to access their ballot.
  • Balloting will occur over a 10 day period: Saturday, April 25th – Monday, May 4th.
  • Contested endorsements will be decided by rank choice vote.
  • During the balloting period, local unit leadership (Chairs & Vice Chairs) will receive a daily update of which delegates have completed their ballots.  It will be incumbent on the local units to follow up with delegates to ensure ballots are completed within the allotted time frame.
  • Local units may use reasonable means to reach out and help with getting ballots submitted. This can include helping facilitate voting via phone and text messages as long as the local unit is creating a receipt of the conversation for auditing purposes. 
  • Given that we will be conducting conventions via electronic and mail balloting we will not need pre-convention committees for congressional district conventions.
  • Candidates for Congressional District / State Convention delegate must be gender-balanced and will be decided by a plurality vote.
  • We will allow candidates for public office to send a 2-minute video which will be embedded with each electronic ballot. 
  • All alternates elected at precinct caucuses will be automatically upgraded to full voting delegates to the local unit conventions.

ACTION BY LOCAL UNIT

  • Roster of delegates and alternates from each local unit must include the following:
    • Name, Gender Identity, Address, Phone Number, Email where ballot should be sent.
  • Certified ballot must include the following (varies by type of unit):
    • Organizing Units that make endorsements for public office:
      • List of candidates for public office seeking endorsement
      • Nominees for delegates and alternates to CD / State Convention which must include Presidential Preference (candidate name or uncommitted)
      • Resolutions (limited to 100 words)
    • Organizing Units that do not make endorsements for public office:
      • Nominees for delegates and alternates to CD / State Convention which must include Presidential Preference (candidate name or uncommitted)
      • Resolutions (limited to 100 words)
    • Units that only make endorsements for public office
      • List of candidates for public office seeking endorsement 

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

  • All Congressional District conventions will be conducted through an online balloting system to complete the essential party business of:  electing delegates, conferring endorsements, election of pre-convention committee members, and election of Presidential elector.
  • The online balloting system will be administered by the Minnesota DFL party staff who will be responsible for reporting results back to the Congressional District.
  • Congressional Districts will be responsible for collecting a roster of delegates and certifying the content of the ballot. The ballot, certified by a vote of the Congressional District executive committee, as well as the official delegate roster must be reported to the Minnesota DFL through a provided form no later than Monday, May 11th at 5 PM CST.
  • Presidential candidates who have not waived their candidate right of refusal will have the opportunity to review the list of nominees for national delegate and must certify the ballot by Wednesday, May 13th.
  • Congressional Districts will have the option to send out a mail ballot to those delegates who request one. Those ballots will need to be reported via an online form to the Minnesota DFL within the allowable balloting timeframe. 
  • Electronic Ballots will be emailed out by the Minnesota DFL directly to delegates who have not requested a mail ballot.  Delegates will be provided a unique password to access their ballot.
  • Balloting will occur over a 10 day period – Thursday, May 14th – Saturday, May 23rd.
  • Contested endorsements will be decided by rank choice vote.
  • During the balloting period, Congressional District leadership (Chairs & Vice Chairs) will receive a daily update of which delegates have completed their ballots.  It will be incumbent on the local units to follow up with delegates to ensure ballots are completed within the allotted timeframe.
  • Congressional Districts may use reasonable means to reach out and help with getting ballots submitted. This can include helping facilitate voting via phone and text messages as long as the local unit is creating a receipt of the conversation for auditing purposes. 
  • Given that we will be conducting conventions via electronic and mail balloting we will not need pre-convention committees for congressional district conventions.
  • Candidates for National Convention Delegate must be gender-balanced and will be decided by a plurality vote.
  • We will allow candidates for public office, national convention delegate, and Presidential elector to send a 2-minute video which will be embedded with each electronic ballot. 
  • All alternates elected at the local unit level will be automatically upgraded to full voting delegates to the Congressional District Conventions.
  • Nominees for National Delegate will have the opportunity to write a statement of candidacy. They must include gender identity and candidate preference.

ACTION BY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

  • Roster of delegates and alternates from each Congressional District must include the following:
    • Name, Gender Identity, Address, Phone Number, Email where ballot should be sent.
  • Certified ballot must include the following:
    • List of candidates for Congress seeking endorsement
    • Nominees for delegates and alternates to National Convention which must include Presidential Preference (candidate name or uncommitted)
    • Nominees for the following State Convention Pre-Convention Committees:
      • Rules
      • Credentials
      • Nominations
    • Candidates for Presidential Electors which must include Presidential Preference (candidate name only)

STATE CONVENTION

  • At this point the State Convention is still being planned as an in-person event, though we may need to change those plans based on further guidance from federal, state, and local officials and public health agencies.
  • STATE CONVENTION PRE-CONVENTION COMMITTEE MEETINGS:  The in-person State Convention Pre-Convention Meetings scheduled for May 2nd and 3rd will be postponed to Friday, May 29th in Rochester, MN.

RULES & BYLAWS

Given the unforeseen nature of this pandemic, we are recommending the following rules and protocol changes which will allow our party units to conduct important party business while also allowing us to protect party members and the general public. The following rules are temporary and expire at the end of the state convention or June 1, whichever one comes first.

  • Notification requirements for party meetings, conventions, endorsements, etc. shall require 72 hours notice via any means.
  • All conventions, with the exception of the state convention, will be conducted via electronic balloting or as requested by the delegate through mail, phone, or text. 
  • The business of all conventions will be limited only to essential items where applicable:
    • Election of delegates and alternates
    • Election of state pre-convention standing committee members
    • Conferring endorsements for those seeking public office
    • Voting on resolutions
    • Election of Presidential Electors

All other business will be deferred automatically to the next regularly scheduled central committee meeting of that unit.

  • The Minnesota DFL will prohibit any official DFL sponsored event, at all levels in the party, where more than 10 people would gather in person from occurring from March 14th – May 28th.  This includes fundraisers, party meetings, social events, unit central committees, conventions, etc.
    • Meetings below 10 people should be moved to teleconference if possible. If they must be in-person, meetings should be conducted swiftly and limited to essential business only.
    • The Minnesota DFL’s rules will be superseded by those of federal, state, and local public health authorities should those be more stringent than those imposed by the Minnesota DFL.