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Minnesota’s presidential primary: Everything you need to know

By Cody Nelson

Minnesota is joining Super Tuesday this year — joining 13 other states, including Texas and California, in perhaps the most consequential day of the presidential primary season.

It can be a confusing political ritual for some, and it’s new in Minnesota. It’s our first presidential primary since 1992 and only the fourth in state history. Here are some of the basic rules.

You can vote in the primary no matter your party affiliation. However, you will have to select one major party in whose primary you’ll vote. Minnesota has four major parties: the Democratic-Farmer-Laborer, Republican, Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis and Legal Marijuana Now parties. Only the DFL and GOP will host presidential primaries in 2020; the weed parties are sitting out this year.

How you vote will be secret, sort of … But not really. Only the candidate you vote for will be secret — the chair of all four major parties will get a list of who voted in the primary and the party with which they voted.

Same-day registration is still OK for primaries. While early registration has closed for the primaries, voters may register on March 3.

You must be 18 years old on primary day to vote. That differs from the rules of Minnesota’s old presidential caucuses, which allowed 17 year olds to vote if they’d be 18 by Election Day.

Only presidential candidates will be on the ballot. Primaries for other races are in August.

Republicans will have one candidate to choose from. That would be President Trump.

DFLers have many more choices. Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Marrianne Williamson, Andrew Yang and a space for uncommitted voters will all be on the primary ballot. Yes, many of those candidates’ campaigns have called it quits, but they still exist on paper in Minnesota.

You can still vote early. For in-person early voting, your local elections office is the spot through March 2. You may also vote early by mail, but your local elections office must have your ballot by 3 p.m. on primary day for it to count.

More than a third of Democrats’ pledged delegates are at stake on Super Tuesday. And 75 of them will come from Minnesota. Plus, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and American Samoa host their primaries on Super Tuesday.

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