Monday, December 19, 2005

Runaround Sue run out 

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that Sue Ek be removed from the House 15B ballot for failing to meet the residency requirement. The court's order does not say whether she can be replaced. More details if/when I find them.

UPDATE 1: StarTribune runs an AP writer with some information on replacement.

There's some precedent in Minnesota for replacing candidates shortly before an election.

In 2002, after U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash 11 days before the election, former vice president Walter Mondale's name replaced Wellstone's on the DFL side of the ballot. In 1990, Arne Carlson got onto the ballot a week before the gubernatorial election, after endorsed Republican candidate Jon Grunseth withdrew. (The head of Carlson's campaign committee was Paul Anderson, one of the Supreme Court justices who decided the Ek case.)

A state law gives major political parties the authority to replace candidates on the ballot, but says such a nomination must happen at least two weeks before the election. The timeframe is compressed down to as late as four days before the election if the candidate dies or suffers a major catastrophe.

Absentee ballots are a major sticking point, since a number of voters already could have cast votes for the removed candidate.

The court ordered county election officials to remove Ek's name from absentee ballots until replacement ballots are ready, and to give out new absentee ballots to voters who ask for them.

I have not heard anything about whether a replacement has been lined up.

UPDATE 2: The decision. Andy says it's "terrible news for the GOP, and great for the DFL." It's a sign that some folks didn't do their due diligence. The commenters on the St. Cloud Times chat board seem gleeful and don't think Republicans should get to replace Ek. I would be happiest if I could cast a ballot for "none of the above", but I felt that way weeks ago.

UPDATE 3: Gary Miller hopes the state GOP doesn't pursue a legal remedy. If he means don't appeal, well, they can't. But if a legal remedy means putting up a substitute candidate, the decision is crystal clear that it expresses no opinion on the question. In short, if the GOP can get a candidate on the ballot, it appears it may. That none has been offered seems to be a concession that this is "a colossal political CF".