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A federal judge has rejected the method for determining ballot order in Minnesota elections, instead ordering a lottery.

Lottery will assign ballot order in Minnesota, federal judge rules

A lottery should assign partisan billing on Minnesota ballots this year, a federal judge has decided.

The rules of probability say the decision will be a victory for Democratic candidates, who would be listed below the Republicans under the current system.

Challenges to the arcane rules of ballot design have become a feature of the multifaceted campaign of Democratic voting rights lawsuits this year. They're also being watched by good government advocates, who favor getting rid of any election rule written by the party in power to preserve its influence at the expense of old-fashioned electoral competition.

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Broward County superintendent of elections

The governor's party is listed first on every ballot in Florida.

Ballot spot primacy for Florida GOP upheld by federal appeals court

Republicans may hang on to the top spot on Florida ballots, a federal appeals court has decided — a significant boost for the GOP in the biggest purple state, and also perhaps the biggest defeat yet for Democrats counting on winning a wave of lawsuits that boost their prospects this fall.

The ruling Wednesday was mainly on technical grounds but nonetheless nullified a lower court decision. Last November a federal trial judge declared unconstitutional a Florida law awarding the most prominent place on every ballot to the governor's party. That design feature guarantees an artificial boost in the vote of candidates from the benefiting party.

Such laws are a feature of a system assuring the major parties can box out worthy insurgent and independent candidates, democracy reformers lament. The parties listed second view such measures as arbitrary and discriminatory, arguments the Democrats have made in challenging first-on-the-page laws the past year not only in Florida but also in Texas, Georgia and Arizona.

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Putnam County Supervisor of Elections

Florida's ballots currently list every candidate from the governor's party first.

Florida given 8 weeks to abandon ballots struck down as discriminatory

Florida has eight weeks to come up with ballots for November that abandon a central feature of the past seven decades: the candidates from the governor's political party getting listed first in every contest.

That system was held unconstitutional five months ago, a federal judge ruling it "imposes a discriminatory burden on plaintiffs' voting rights." On Friday that judge, Mark Walker of Tallahassee, said he was tired of watching the state slow-walk plans for an alternative while waiting for its appeal to play out.

Since Republicans have held the governorship since 1999, they've had the top ballot line for 10 elections in a row in the nation's most populous political battleground. Democrats think their shot at the state's 29 electoral votes will go up if the ballot design is changed by November.

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Putnam County Supervisor of Elections

Florida law requires that candidates who share party identification with the governor get listed first in every race on the ballot.

Judge in ‘donkey vote' case says party in power can’t cling to ballot's top line

This story was updated Nov. 19 with additional information.

Democratic candidates should get a shot at the most prominent spot on the ballot even in reliably red states, a federal judge has ruled in a setback for Republican efforts to hold on to that advantage in bellwether states across the country next year.

The decision came in a challenge to a Florida law mandating that candidates of the same party as the governor get listed first on the ballot.

That suit was among the first filed by Democrats as part of a campaign to challenge proposed 2020 election procedures in red states that have been trending toward purplish blue. Two weeks ago the party's national campaign organizations filed suits against similar ballot-primacy laws in Arizona, Georgia and Texas.

Those cases could be influenced by the precedent set down by federal Judge Mark Walker of Tallahassee, who held Florida's law unconstitutional on Friday.

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