Minnesota voters, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee filed a new lawsuit today challenging Minnesota’s unconstitutional ballot order statute because it creates an arbitrary and unconstitutional disadvantage to candidates and voters.
Candidates listed first on the ballot benefit from their placement, a well-documented and widely acknowledged phenomenon known as “position bias.” In fact, Minnesota protects against position bias in primary elections by rotating the candidate name order.
However in the general election, the party that received the most votes in the preceding election is always listed last among the major political parties. This ballot order system puts candidates who belong to major parties that were successful in the earlier elections — as well as voters — at a disadvantage. For example, in 2018, the DFL statewide candidates received an average of more than 1.3 million votes, more than any other major party, and DFL candidates will be listed last on the ballot unless they run unopposed.
“No party should benefit from an unfair advantage or be penalized because of a systemic disadvantage in our elections,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “We’ve already seeing the courts reject these unconstitutional statutes, and we’ll continue to challenge laws like this so all voters have a fair say in our democracy and candidates everywhere can compete on an even playing field.”
“Candidates in Minnesota should never be forced to overcome a partisan disadvantage that has been arbitrarily written into the law,” DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos said. “As the 2020 election approaches, we’re challenging unconstitutional provisions in states across the country because voters have the right to be represented by public servants who were elected for the merits of their ideas. That’s just common sense.”
Read the complaint here.
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