Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Carlson v. Ritchie

Supreme Court of Minnesota

May 22, 2013

Stephen W. Carlson, an individual, eligible, registered voter and nominee for U.S. House of Representatives, CD4-MN on Nov. 6, 2012 ballot, Petitioner,
v.
Mark Ritchie, an individual and in his official capacity as Minnesota Secretary of State, Elena L. Ostby, an individual and in her official capacity as Ramsey County District Court Judge, Mary Jurek, an individual and in her official capacity as Ramsey County Deputy Court Administrator, Minnesota State Canvassing Board, Minnesota DFL Party, Betty McCollum, Minnesota DFL candidate and nominee for CD4U.S. House of Representatives, Respondents.

Original Jurisdiction Office of Appellate Courts

Stephen W. Carlson, Saint Paul, Minnesota, petitioner pro se.

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Nathan J. Hartshorn, Assistant Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for respondent Mark Ritchie.

Charles N. Nauen, David J. Zoll, Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P., Minneapolis, Minnesota, for respondent Minnesota DFL Party.

Alan W. Weinblatt, Weinblatt & Gaylord, PLC, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for respondent Betty McCollum.

Took no part, Anderson, Paul H., Dietzen, and Stras, JJ. Halbrooks, Jill, Acting Justice [1]

SYLLABUS

1. Laches bars claims that petitioner was aware of before the 2012 general election but failed to assert until after that election.

2. A claim that the district court wrongfully refused to accept an election contest does not fall within the scope of Minn. Stat. § 204B.44 (2012).

OPINION

PER CURIAM

On December 21, 2012, Stephen W. Carlson, the Independence Party candidate in the 2012 election for United States House of Representatives for Minnesota's Fourth Congressional District, filed a petition pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 204B.44 (2012), seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Carlson asserts three claims in his petition. First, Carlson alleges that Minn. Stat. § 202A.16, subd. 2 (2012), which identifies those who can participate in and vote at a precinct caucus, violates his First Amendment rights. Second, he alleges that the Secretary of State improperly withheld from him the e-mail addresses of registered voters in the Fourth Congressional District, thus violating the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, Minn. Stat. ch. 13 (2012), and burdening his First Amendment rights to political association and speech. Third, he alleges that the district court's refusal to accept his election contest for filing infringed on his First Amendment right of access to the courts. Because laches bars Carlson's first two claims and his third claim falls outside the scope of Minn. Stat. § 204B.44, we dismiss the petition.

We begin with a discussion of the facts and allegations at issue in each of Carlson's claims. In his first claim, Carlson challenges the statutory eligibility requirements for participation in and voting at a precinct caucus. In every state general election year, Minnesota holds "party" caucuses in each election precinct. Minn. Stat. § 202A.14, subd. 1 (2012). The voting in each political party's caucus is restricted to "[o]nly those persons who are in agreement with the principles of the party as stated in the party's constitution, and who either voted or affiliated with the party at the last state general election or intend to vote or affiliate with the party at the next state general election." Minn. Stat. § 202A.16, subd. 2. Carlson asserts that he does not support certain DFL party principles that he believes promote gender discrimination.[2] Given the eligibility restrictions of section 202A.16, subdivision 2, Carlson alleges that he is unable to associate with DFL voters at DFL precinct caucuses, cannot speak against DFL party principles at those caucuses, and cannot vote at a DFL precinct caucus. Because the statute prohibits such participation, Carlson alleges that Minn. Stat. § 202A.16, subd. 2, violates the First Amendment.

Carlson's second claim is based on data that voters submitted to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State maintains a statewide voter registration list based on information gathered from registered voters. See Minn. Stat. § 201.021 (2012) (describing the "computerized statewide voter registration list [that] constitutes the official list of every legally registered voter in the state"); Minn. Stat. § 201.071, subd. 1 (2012) (requiring voters, when registering, to provide a name, address, date of birth, residence and identification information, and optionally, a telephone number and e-mail address). A "master list, " which includes all information provided by voters, is available to "public officials for purposes related to election administration, jury selection, and in response to [certain] law enforcement inquir[ies]." Minn. Stat. § 201.091, subd. 1 (2012). A separate "public information list, " which includes only voters' names, addresses, year of birth, voting history, and if provided, a telephone number, is available for a fee. Minn. Stat. § 201.091, subds. 4-5 (2012).

In mid-October 2012, Carlson bought the public information list for registered voters in his congressional district from the Secretary of State. Before the end of October, Carlson realized that the list he bought did not include e-mail addresses that might have been provided by any of the estimated 380, 000 registered voters in that district. Carlson contacted the Secretary's office, which confirmed that optionally disclosed voter e-mail addresses are not part of the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.