Request: Is the state’s primary system of selecting candidates for election an unconstitutional infringement on the freedom of association guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution? May candidates nominated by a political party skip the primary election and be put directly onto the election ballot?
Conclusion: The primary method of selecting candidates set forth in North Dakota law is presumed constitutional until declared otherwise by a court. If the primary method of choosing a candidate as set out in state law is no longer desirable, it may be addressed legislatively. Until then, there is no method for a political party to forego the statutory requirement of a primary election.