BEMIDJI -- For both major political parties, spring convention business still has to be done. But because of the coronavirus situation, what normally would be in-person meetings are now being moved to a digital format.
The Democratic-Farmer-Labor and Republican Parties of Minnesota are both planning to conduct conventions online. For the DFL, the conventions will be conducted through an online balloting system to elect delegates, confirm endorsements and pass resolutions.
The online balloting system will be administered by DFL staff who will be responsible for reporting results back to the local units. Local parties, meanwhile, will collect a roster of delegates and certify the content of the ballot.
Those rosters must be reported to the DFL headquarters by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 17.
Balloting for endorsements will then occur over a 10-day period from Saturday, April 25 through Monday, May 4. The contested endorsements will be decided by rank choice vote.
"One of the things we wanted to ensure was grassroots activists still have an ability to make their voices heard, and that includes the endorsements of candidates," said DFL Chair Ken Martin. "For endorsing, we'll use an electronic ballot, and for those who don't have access at all, we can also have a ballot mailed to them as well."
According to Martin, once the ballots are tallied after May 4, the endorsements will be awarded. Following state endorsements, the party will use a similar format in May for congressional district conventions.
The Minnesota Republican party also moved its conventions to a remote, teleconference format. According to the GOP's website, congressional district conventions remain scheduled for later this month and in May.
"During these trying and ever-changing times, it is important that we continue moving forward and complete party business required of us to endorse candidates, elect presidential electors and have a voice at our national convention in August," said Jennifer Carnahan, Minnesota Republican party chairwoman. "But, it is crucial that while conducting party and political business, we do our part to keep our delegates, candidates, activists, and the general public safe."