Primary election likely to move to Augustby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he supports moving up Minnesota's primary elections next year in response to a new federal mandate.
A defense spending bill signed into law by President Obama this week includes a requirement that U.S. military personnel and other overseas voters get at least 45 days to receive and return their absentee ballots for the general election. Minnesota's September primary currently allows only 30 days.
Pawlenty said today he'll support legislation next session to move the primary date from September to August. But the Republican governor doesn't want it lumped in with other election reforms.
"We don't want to get it entangled in other things that may be controversial," said Pawlenty. "So, I would ask the Legislature just pass it as a free-standing item, or put it in a bill with other non-controversial items."
DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie also recommends quick passage of the primary change next session.