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Some Minnesota government leaders say they'll 'skip' March presidential primaries

Updated: January 26, 2020 10:58 PM

Minnesota, for the first time in nearly 30 years, will hold presidential primaries in March instead of precinct caucuses, and the change has some government leaders with non-partisan jobs a little concerned.

One of the new requirements to vote in the upcoming primaries is a declaration of party preference, and Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that requirement will keep on the sidelines come voting day.

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"I am not going to vote on primary day because I am not sure it is in the best interest of Stillwater," Kozlowski said.  "I have to work with people on both sides of the aisle to get things done for Stillwater, and I want to keep it that way and avoid partisan politics."

Kozlowski said he works closely with a state representative from Stillwater who is a DFL member, as well as a Republican state senator who represents his city.

"Regardless of the letters that come after their names, I have to work together with these folks," Kozlowski said.  "I think I have done a good job of keeping partisan politics out of Stillwater and I think that has benefited the city."

Chaska Mayor Mark Windschitl told KSTP he agrees with Kozlowski's position and said he is worried the declaration requirement will be not kept private in violation of federal and state laws.

"I am not sure it makes any sense to make people declare their party preference," Windschitl said. "It does not help me do my job better in a non-partisan role, and I am not sure it doesn't violate our right to privacy in terms of how and for whom we vote."

Some journalists have also expressed concern about declaring a political party preference on primary day because they do not want to give any appearance of a conflict of interest.

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Jay Kolls

Copyright 2020 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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