The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) has implemented new COVID protocols for precinct caucuses on Feb. 1.
In an “emergency declaration” issued last Wednesday, the DFL’s State Executive Committee spelled out the procedures for both regular and “contactless” precinct caucuses. Local party units will have the option of conducting contactless caucuses.
Those who participate in the in-person caucuses will be required to show proof of COVID vaccination (or a negative test). In addition, participants must wear a “well-fitting” mask, even while speaking, and “socially distance to the extent possible.”
“Organizing Units which do not comply with these safety procedures will not be provided liability insurance coverage by the State DFL for their upcoming Organizing Unit convention,” the declaration says.
In a Thursday morning tweet, DFL Chair Ken Martin took credit for proposing the “contactless” precinct caucuses as an alternative way to “keep people safe.”
“It was extremely important for me and our Party Leadership that we figured out a way to empower the voices of the grassroots in the endorsement of our candidates, the shaping of our Party platform, and the election of Party leaders while also keeping people safe during covid,” he said.
The irony of the protocols is not lost on one Twitter user, who pointed out that Democrats believe requiring ID to vote is a form of “voter suppression” yet requiring masks and a vaccine to participate in a caucus isn’t.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, Asians are the only demographic with a higher vaccination rate than whites. Nearly 40% of African Americans and almost 70% of multiracial Minnesotans are unvaccinated.
Responding to the Douglas County DFL’s announcement that masks and proof of vaccination would be required for their caucus, state Rep. Mary Franson, a Republican from Alexandria, blasted the move as “disgusting.”
“I am legitimately shocked — If you are a Democrat in Douglas County and want to participate in the political process, the Douglas County DFL party says you have to show proof of vaccination. This is disgusting to me,” she wrote on Facebook. “What’s next … are they going to push for vaccinated only to be allowed to vote? This is crazy.”
“Every candidate running for the Democrat endorsement had best denounce this action. History will not be kind to those who participate in this virtue signaling segregation,” she added.