On September 11, the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected the Green Party’s attempt to retain its ability to receive state public funding. However, the rejection is based on procedure, and the Court said the party is free to re-file its lawsuit in a lower court, using a different approach. The decision is Begin v Ritchie, A13-1002.
For ballot access purposes, Minnesota defines a qualified party as one that got at least 5% for a statewide race in either of the last two elections. But for purposes of participating in the state’s public funding program for parties, the state has a much easier threshold. Parties can receive public funding if they polled at least 1% for any statewide race in either of the last two elections. The Minnesota Green Party polled over 1% in 2010, so it should have been able to retain public funding status for the period 2011-2014.
Unfortunately, the law requires parties to file paperwork every two years to retain public funding status. This paperwork includes a statement that the party has elected a Chair, adopted a party constitution, and held membership meetings. The party was late with the paperwork that should have been filed by December 31, 2012. The party submitted the paperwork late, but the Secretary of State would not forgive missing the deadline. The party then asked the Supreme Court to restore its public funding status, but the Supreme Court said the party had filed the lawsuit under a section of the election law that only relates to ballot access. The Court said the party is free to use a different section of the law to file a new claim.