In attack on democracy, DFL moves to block smaller parties from the ballot

On May 5, Gov. Walz signed the “Democracy for the People Act” into law, which implements automatic voter registration, allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, creates a permanent absentee voter list that will automatically send people who sign up a ballot each election, requires voting materials and sample ballots to be in languages other than English, and prohibits voter intimidation at the polls, among other provisions.

“Today is a great day for Democracy,” the governor said, “The ballot is the most powerful thing we have. Your voice is in your ballot. And if you don’t have access to that or it’s made more difficult, your voice is stifled.”

Sadly, what the DFL gives with one hand it takes with the other. While that bill seeks to get more people to vote, another seeks to restrict who they can vote for.

On Saturday, the House/Senate conference committee passed amendment A92 to the Omnibus Finance bill. This raises the threshold for obtaining Major Party status, which means the automatic ballot access that the DFL and GOP currently have, from “not less than five percent of the total number of individuals who voted in that election” to “not less than eight percent.”

In order to meet the criteria to be considered a “Major party,” you will now be required to have congressional district conventions in all congressional districts and have local conventions in at least 45 counties or legislative districts. Each major party must also have an executive committee for every congressional district and at least 45 counties or legislative districts.

A recent survey by Gallup found that more than half — 56% of Americans — believe the current main parties do such a poor job that a third major party is needed. The DFL’s new law will effectively prevent any third party from ever becoming a major party in Minnesota and deny Minnesotans the chance to vote for it; this from a party that has made so much in the last couple of years about standing up for democracy. Voting is great, it seems, as long as you vote for the right people.