MN GOP Convention in Chaos
The Minnesota Republican Party State Convention has barely gotten off the ground and it is already descended into a spectacle of conflict and chaos. Below are just a few of the myriad of problems Republicans face heading into day 1 of their convention.
Electronic vs Paper Ballots
One controversy looming over the convention is how endorsement votes will even be cast. State Republican Party leaders are pushing for electronic voting in the interest of time, because:
- Each round of paper balloting could take 2 hours to tally
- There are multiple, fiercely-contested endorsement contests
- The Minnesota Republican Party has to leave the convention center by 6:00 PM on Saturday since they failed to book the venue for Sunday
The election conspiracy theories spread by Republican Party leaders have trained their activists to distrust electronic voting. However, Republicans do have good reasons to doubt their party’s competence to manage electronic voting. During Thursday’s State Central Committee meeting, voting clickers were distributed to delegates and alternates alike, forcing the Republican Party to recall them. Furthermore, convention delegates likely remember the difficulties with electronic voting software that disrupted the Minnesota Republican Party’s 2020 and 2018 State Conventions.
It’s very possible that technical incompetence, conspiracy theories, and distrust between Republican leaders and activists will result in the party failing to endorse candidates in key races.
Given their time crunch, it was vital that the Republican convention gavel in at their planned time of 10:00 AM. That did not happen. Photos of long registration lines and reports of delays have been shared across social media throughout the morning. Multiple Republican elected officials even took to Twitter to complain about the lines and delays. A lack of computers available was apparently partially to blame for the delay.
Instead of working to ensure registration went smoothly, the Minnesota Republican Party spent their time brainstorming a list of items to ban at their convention, which included: “Large Sign (Specify Size)” – “Hoards of Insects” – “Blimps/Dirigibles” – “Excessive Amounts of Zip-Ties” and more.
Decertification of Affiliates
At a State Central Committee meeting Thursday evening, the Minnesota Republican Party took the unprecedented step of failing to certify any of their affiliate organizations. A list of the affiliate organizations that are now not part of the Minnesota Republican Party can be found here.
Not only does this send a signal that LGBT Minnesotans, veterans, seniors, students, and women are not welcome within the Party, but it also unseats the delegates allotted to each of those affiliate organizations.
Some have promised to propose recertifying these affiliates when the convention gavels in. This will likely provoke a debate, as there was a push to specifically remove the Log Cabin Republicans because they oppose conversion therapy.
An addition to the convention agenda to recertify affiliate organizations would only further the delays already caused by long registration lines and significantly hamper the Minnesota Republicans’ ability to make endorsements. However, failing to do so would unseat delegates who are attending the convention to represent the voices of veterans, women, young people, and more.
DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin released the following statement:
“It is clear that the Minnesota Republican Party could not organize their way out of a wet paper bag even if they had a year and a map. If the Minnesota Republican Party is too incompetent to organize a simple convention, why should voters trust them to govern our state? The chaos on display in Rochester should be deeply concerning to any voters that care about having a government that is run well and delivers for Minnesotans.”