Senate rejects June primary bill

The Minnesota Senate rejected an elections bill today that would have created an earlier primary date in Minnesota.

The Senate voted 35-30 to send the bill back to conference committee for further negotiations. The move doesn’t kill the bill for the session, but it sends a signal that the Senate was not in favor of a June primary. Several senators, including Sen. Dick Cohen, DFL-St. Paul and Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, said the June primary would create longer election seasons in Minnesota.

“What I hear when people discuss elections is that people find the length of elections tiresome,” Cohen said.

Supporters say a June primary would increase voter turnout. They complained that the current August primary comes at a time when many people are vacationing.

“We all know that there’s a tradition of vacationing in August,” said Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka. “A June primary allows more people to participate in the process.”

Bonoff also mentioned that the leaders in the DFL and Republican Parties supported the move to an earlier primary.

Today’s Senate action comes several weeks after the House voted to move the primary to June. The conference committee will have to meet again to determine whether it should keep the June primary in the bill that includes several other elections issues.

Gov. Mark Dayton said he supports a June primary.

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