ST. PAUL — Minnesotans will have the chance to hit their precinct caucuses on Tuesday, Feb. 25 -- but not like they used to.
This year will be the first general election cycle in which Minnesotans will select their preferred presidential nominee via primary rather than a caucus, thanks to a bill signed by former-Gov. Mark Dayton in May 2016. Lawmakers decided to make the switch after hearing complaints of overcrowding and long lines at caucuses.
The state parties will still hold caucuses, though the stakes are lower: At Tuesday's caucuses, Minnesotans will be able to elect delegates to send to 2020 party conventions, where they will vote on which candidates the party officially endorses.
Caucuses are also an entry point for Minnesotans to take a shot at changing the parties' official platforms. There they can introduce, debate and vote on platform resolutions, which delegates can debate and vote on at future conventions.
Rather than at caucuses, Minnesotans can vote for their preferred presidential nominee on March 3. The day has been dubbed Super Tuesday, with a whopping 14 states all holding primaries on one day, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia. More delegates are up for grabs on Super Tuesday than on any other single day in the election year.
Minnesotans have already begun voting in the primary thanks to early and absentee voting. According to Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, as of Friday, at least 70,338 total absentee ballots have been requested, 60,503 of which for the Democratic race and 9,811 for the Republican race.