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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

August 9th Primary - Lots Of Underlying Issues Surface

Category: Voting
Posted: 08/04/16 16:03, Edited: 08/04/16 18:48

by Dave Mindeman

Next Tuesday is our Minnesota Primary. There are a number of interesting races going on and MinnPost outlines a few of them.

Kurt Daudt has one that has been high profile. I think he should win fairly easily, but if the margin is at all close, it might affect negotiations for a special session.

Daudt looks like a guy who wants to run for governor. And in order to do that he has to placate a Tea Party base that is looking for fights. The Trump phenomena also complicates these elections. If Daudt is feeling even the slightest bit uncomfortable with all that, we could see some obstruction on how we get things done at the Capitol.

Senator Sean Nienow has a bit of a similar problem. His disastrous financial disclosure led a loss of his endorsement from his Senate district and the need to win in a primary. That is kind of an unknown a present.

Rep. Tom Hackbarth, on the other side of Daudt's district, also lost his endorsement to some rowdy local activists and after serving for years, needs to run in a primary as well.

In the Democratic Party there are some primary races that indicate a surge in racial representation. Phyllis Kahn is in the race of her life against two very good Somali-American opponents. Rep. Rena Moran is being challenged by a Black Lives Matter activist who feels she has not been forceful enough in her representation. Billy Joe Champion has received a similar challenge for the same reason, although the challenger didn't come out of BLM.

There are a lot of things roiling under the surface. Next Tuesday we will start to sort them out.


P.S. Remember to vote for Natalie Hudson on the Judges ballot.
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Renters Getting Registration Forms Is "Heavyhanded"?

Category: Voting
Posted: 07/14/15 20:53, Edited: 07/14/15 20:54

by Dave Mindeman

Minneapolis city councilman Jacob Frey recently made a proposal. The idea is that landlords should be required to hand out a voter registration form to each new apartment occupant.

Attorney and former candidate Cam Winton (that name is so "Frasier";) thought this was a bad idea....

The proposal is a bad idea, for two reasons -- one practical, one philosophical. The practical reason: We need more affordable rental housing in Minneapolis, but putting additional requirements on apartment owners makes it less appealing for them to build and operate apartments here.....philosophical reason: So far in his first term in office, Frey -- a friendly, hardworking person, to be sure -- has demonstrated a troubling tendency to use the force of law to require action that he deems good.

Both of those "objections" are pretty absurd.

First, handing a new apartment renter one more piece of paper is hardly a big "imposition" on the landlord. Winton even insinuates that this "might" stop them from building a complex altogether. Whew...that's a stretch. But let me add that this idea seem pretty great to me. When doing political canvassing in multi-unit housing, the voter engagement is low. And many who end up wanting to vote fail to know that they must change their address on their registration. Too often they go to the polls on election day and are denied because they haven't been placed on their new residence voter list. And though they can still vote by proving their residency with maybe a utility bill, they more than likely will go away without casting their ballot. Reminding the apartment dweller with a registration form seems more of a courtesy than an inconvenience.

Secondly, in regards to Winton's "philosophical reasoning. Mandating the simple inclusion of a voter registration form (among the myriad of documents that the renter will get anyway) doesn't seem like some "heavyhanded" force of law as Winton suggests. Doing a good thing, in this case is simply doing a good thing.

Winton's complaint seems to be just another Republican objection to attempts to make voting easier and not harder.

And there lies the real motive for this little diatribe. Getting renters to vote seems much to "democratic".
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Myth Of America Part II - Voting Rights

Category: Voting
Posted: 03/22/15 00:41, Edited: 03/22/15 00:53

by Dave Mindeman

Oregon has moved the bar on voting...

Under the new law, every adult citizen in Oregon who has interacted with the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division since 2013 but hasn't registered to vote will receive a ballot in the mail at least 20 days before the next statewide election.

Since everyone over 18 years of age is an eligible voter, this seems like a pretty natural move toward more voter participation.

But nearly every news story that talked about this move by Oregon brought up Minnesota.....

Minnesota nearly implemented automatic voter registration in 2009 but the plan was vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who said "registering to vote should be a voluntary, intentional act."

I tried to understand Pawlenty's reasoning at the time. What he seems to be saying is that voting isn't an automatic right. And registering to vote needs to have a process that requires citizen voters to fill out forms and go through a process for an act that should be guaranteed to every citizen.

Since we already go through this "voluntary" act of making ourselves known to the state as a citizen via our driver's license or state ID, why can't we automatically register a person to vote at the same time?

It is the same information....the same verification....the same process. Yet, in 2009, Governor Pawlenty wanted us to repeat that process in order to vote.

We spend far too much time figuring out ways to complicate voting registration. Far too much time. But we all know it is not about making voting a "voluntary, intentional act". No, it is about suppressing certain voters. Keeping voters away from the polls when possible. And making voting a selective process.

The Supreme Court struck down an important part of the Voting Rights Act which guaranteed that states could be held accountable if they tried to use voting laws to alter the electorate. They said that such accountability was no longer needed. Yet, as soon as the ruling came down, southern states began adding new layers of restriction to their citizens' right to vote.

We purport to be the example of democracy to the world. Yet, we seem to want voting manipulation as much as any non-democracy uses to propagandize its support from the people.

This country manipulates the make-up of voting districts. It puts obstacles in the path of registration. It allows states to have different regulations for voting rights.

One person - one vote. What happened to that concept?
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