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THE VOTER BLOG

  • 26 Feb 2016 10:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We received a great question in the email this morning, and wanted to provide our answer to everyone who might be asking the same question.

    Can an individual participate in a caucus if she will not be eligible to vote by Election Day (e.g., not a citizen, disenfranchised by felony conviction, or under 18)?

    Yes!

    As far as we are aware, non-voting observers are allowed at all party caucuses. While they may not vote, they may still observe the caucus or even help run it. Party representatives often encourage observers because observers tend to become active voters in later years when they become eligible to vote. The parties also might need observers to assist with running the caucuses as well, although that is not required. Being an observer at a caucus is an excellent way to introduce oneself to the democratic process and grassroots politics!

    You can watch a video by the League of Women Voters Minnesota, "Caucus: Power Up Your Vote," to hear interviews with DFL and GOP representatives about the caucus process at this link.  (They specifically discuss and extend invitations to observers at the 6:20 mark.)

    For more information on the caucuses, including contact information for the parties (including minor parties), you can use this link.

    You should contact the party of your preference to confirm if any procedures are required to be an observer at your caucus.

  • 13 Feb 2016 12:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Reprinted from an editorial in the Rochester Post-Bulletin

    The State's youngest voters should be watching the mail.

    The Minnesota secretary of state's office sent out thousands of birthday reminders last month to 18-year-olds who will be eligible to cast their first votes in the Aug. 9 primary elections or the Nov. 8 general election, not to mention participate in the March statewide presidential caucuses.

    Within nine months, the office expects to mail nearly 100,000 unregistered voters to encourage them to sign up. While most will be 18-year-olds who recently have earned the privilege, the program also will send notices to anyone voting age who receives a state driver's license or identification card with information that doesn't match voting records.

    "I strongly believe we should be doing everything we can to get good habits started early with young Minnesotans, and this outreach effort is an important step in that direction," Secretary of State Steve Simon said.

    It's an important and worthwhile message to send.

    In addition to showing Minnesota's newest voters the importance of joining the state's 3.1 million registered voters, it also aims to alleviate potential problems at the polls.

    While Election Day registration is available at the polls for unregistered voters, taking care of the paperwork early will help speed the process for the individual voter and decrease the potential of lines during peak hours. With a presidential race heating up and contests possible in all state Senate and House races, we expect the number of voters to be high in November.

    Simon noted that the effort goes beyond reducing lines and wait times, however. "By contacting voters on an ongoing basis, we can help ease the volume of voter registration applications received by counties in the last few weeks leading up to the election," he said.

    While much has been said about young voices weighing in on the presidential election in the national media, not enough has been done about encouraging those voices to make their marks on November ballots. While most would assume the two thoughts go hand in hand, too often the follow-through is left out of the picture.

    That's part of the reason Minnesota became an official Electronic Registration Information Center member through 2014 legislation, joining Washington D.C., and 12 other states in a consortium aimed at improving accuracy of state voter rolls and increasing outreach to unregistered voters. It's that membership that provides the data driving the new young voter recruitment effort.

    Ultimately, it's all key to making sure every vote counts and every potential voter has the opportunity to be heard.

  • 01 Feb 2016 2:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On January 20, several members met to discuss the consensus questions for the LWV US Money In Politics Review. The following answers were adopted by consensus at that meeting and approved by the Board at their January meeting. ("__" indicates a possible answer was not selected; "X" indicates the selected answer.)

    PART I QUESTIONS: Democratic Values and Interests with Respect to Financing Political Campaigns

    1.    What should be the goals and purposes of campaign finance regulation? 
    (Please respond to each item in Question 1.)

    a.  Seek political equality for all citizens.
                X  Agree     __  Disagree     __  No consensus

    b.  Protect representative democracy from being distorted by big spending in election campaigns.
                X  Agree     __  Disagree     __  No consensus

    c.  Enable candidates to compete equitably for public office.
                X  Agree     __  Disagree     __  No consensus

    d.  Ensure that candidates have sufficient funds to communicate their messages to the public.
                X  Agree     __  Disagree     __  No consensus

    e.  Ensure that economic and corporate interests are part of election dialogue.
                __  Agree     __  Disagree     X  No consensus

    f.  Provide voters sufficient information about candidates and campaign issues to make informed choices.
                X  Agree     __  Disagree     __  No consensus

    g.  Ensure the public’s right to know who is using money to influence elections.  
                X  Agree     __  Disagree     __  No consensus

    h.  Combat corruption and undue influence in government.
                X  Agree     __  Disagree     __  No consensus

    2. Evaluate whether the following activities are types of political corruption:
    (Please respond to each item in Question 2.)

    a.    A candidate or officeholder agrees to vote or work in favor of a donor’s interests in exchange for a campaign contribution.
            X  Agree     __  Disagree     __  No consensus

    b.   An officeholder or her/his staff gives greater access to donors.
                __  Agree     __  Disagree     X  No consensus

    c.   An officeholder votes or works to support policies that reflect the preferences of individuals or organizations in order to attract contributions from them.
                X  Agree     __  Disagree     __  No consensus

    d.  An office holder seeks political contributions implying that there will be retribution unless a donation is given.
                X  Agree     __  Disagree     __  No consensus

    e.   The results of the political process consistently favor the interests of significant campaign contributors.
                __  Agree     __  Disagree     X  No consensus

    OPTIONAL COMMENTS (250 word limit):

    Question 1: Economic and corporate interests are two different things, and they should not dominate other interests such as social, labor, and environmental interests.

    Question 2: Activities (b) and (e) can be or could indicate political corruption, but it depends on the particular facts.

    PART II QUESTIONS:  First Amendment Protections for Speakers and Activities in Political Campaigns

    1.    Many different individuals and organizations use a variety of methods to communicate their views to voters in candidate elections.  Should spending to influence an election by any of the following be limited? (Please respond to each item in Question 1.)

    a.  Individual citizens, including wealthy individuals like George Soros and the Koch     Brothers.
        __ Spending banned    __ Some spending limits    __ Unlimited spending     X No consensus

    b.  Political Action Committees, sponsored by an organization, such as the League of Conservation Voters, Chevron, the American Bankers Association, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), whose campaign spending comes from contributions by individuals associated with the sponsoring organization, such as employees, stockholders, members and volunteers.
        __ Spending banned    X Some spending limits    __ Unlimited spending     __ No consensus

    c.  For-profit organizations, like Exxon, Ben and Jerry’s, General Motors, and Starbucks, from their corporate treasury funds.
        __ Spending banned    X Some spending limits    __ Unlimited spending     __ No consensus

    d.  Trade associations, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Wind Energy Association, and the American Petroleum Institute, from the association’s general treasury funds.
        __ Spending banned    X Some spending limits    __ Unlimited spending     __ No consensus

    e.  Labor unions, like the United Autoworkers and Service Employees International, from the union’s general treasury funds.
        __ Spending banned    X Some spending limits    __ Unlimited spending     __ No consensus

    f.  Non-profit organizations, like the Sierra Club, Wisconsin Right to Life, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, American Crossroads, and Priorities USA, from the organization’s general treasury funds.
        __ Spending banned    X Some spending limits    __ Unlimited spending     __ No consensus

    g.  Non-partisan voter registration and GOTV (get out the vote) organizations and activities, like the LWV and Nonprofit Vote.
        __ Spending banned    __ Some spending limits    X Unlimited spending     __ No consensus

    h.  Political parties, like the Republicans, Libertarians, and Democrats.
        __ Spending banned    __ Some spending limits    X Unlimited spending     __ No consensus

    i.  Candidates for public office spending money the candidate has raised from contributors.
        __ Spending banned    __ Some spending limits    X Unlimited spending     __ No consensus

    j.  Candidates for public office spending their own money.
        __ Spending banned    __ Some spending limits    __ Unlimited spending     X No consensus

    2.  The press plays a major role in candidate elections through editorial endorsements, news coverage, and other communications directly to the public that are often important to the outcome.  Should such spending to influence an election by any of the following be limited?
    (Please respond to each item in Question 2.)

    a.  Newspapers, like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
        __ Spending banned    X Some spending limits    __ Unlimited spending     __ No consensus

    b.   Television and other electronic media, like Fox News, CNN. MSNBC and CBS.
        __ Spending banned    X Some spending limits    __ Unlimited spending     __ No consensus

    c.   Internet communications, like Huffington Post, Breitbart, Daily Kos, and individual bloggers.
        __ Spending banned    X Some spending limits    __ Unlimited spending    __ No consensus

    OPTIONAL COMMENTS (250 word limit):

    Question 1(i): We assume this concerns candidates spending from their own campaign fund for their own campaign, not for another candidate’s.

    PART III QUESTIONS:  Methods for Regulating Campaign Finance to Protect the Democratic Process

    1.    In order to achieve the goals for campaign finance regulation, should the League support? (Please respond to each item in Question 1 a and b.)

    a.   Abolishing SuperPACs and spending coordinated or directed by candidates, other than a candidate’s own single campaign committee.
                    X  Agree     __  Disagree     __  No consensus

    b.   Restrictions on direct donations and bundling by lobbyists? (Restrictions may include monetary limits as well as other regulations.)
                    X  Agree     __  Disagree     __  No consensus

    c.   Public funding for candidates?   Should the League support:
    (You may respond to more than one item in Question 1 c.)

    i.   Voluntary public financing of elections where candidates who choose to participate must also abide by reasonable spending limits?
                    X  Agree     __  Disagree     __  No consensus

    ii.   Mandatory public financing of elections where candidates must participate and abide by reasonable spending limits?
                    __  Agree     __  Disagree     X  No consensus

    iii.   Public financing without spending limits on candidates? 
                    __  Agree     X  Disagree     __  No consensus

    2.    How should campaign finance regulations be administered and enforced?
        (You may choose more than one response for Question 2.)

    __ a.  By an even-numbered commission with equal representation by the two major political     parties to ensure partisan fairness (current Federal Election Commission [FEC] structure)?

    X b.  By an odd-numbered commission with at least one independent or nonpartisan commissioner to ensure decisions can be made in case of partisan deadlock?

    X c. By structural and budget changes to the FEC (e.g., commission appointments, staffing, security, budget, decision making process) that would allow the agency to function effectively and meet its legislative and regulatory mandates.

    __ d.  No consensus.

    OPTIONAL COMMENTS (250 word limit):

    Question 2: We would prefer more than one nonpartisan, independent Commissioner.

  • 24 Jan 2016 8:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With the presidential election coming up, we have a number of opportunities to help engage others in the political process, to discover voter registration needs, and to learn about the electoral process.

    Help Register Young Voters

    In April and May, we are looking for volunteers to conduct voter registration and education programs for eligible students in St. Paul high schools. We are also planning to partner with the Minnesota Justice Foundation to run a program called Street Law in area charter and alternative schools. In the program, law students will be conducting classes and League volunteers are needed to help register voters in classes for senior students.

    We'd love to welcome our returning volunteers as well as new volunteers to these upcoming opportunities. Please email mail@lwvsp.org or call 651-789-0118 if you'd like to learn more or to be notified of our upcoming voter registration plans.

    Learn More About The Elections

    To prepare for registering voters and learn more about the need for support this election cycle, we're encouraging our volunteers and members to attend Secretary of State Steve Simon's address on the state of the elections and corresponding workshops:

    • What happens at a precinct caucus? Join representatives from the two major parties to learn how to participate in each party’s precinct caucus process on Tuesday, March 1.
    • Building the next generation of poll workers. Learn how you can be involved with recruiting new people to serve as poll workers, with a special emphasis on bilingual citizens, youth, and people of color.

    The event takes place on Thursday, February 25 from 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. You can register here.

  • 01 Nov 2015 10:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Questions about the candidates? Check out the televised City Council debates in Wards 2, 4 5 and 6 and the School Board election at this link!

  • 04 Oct 2015 5:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CMAL, the Council of Metropolitan Area Leagues, is made up of representatives of the 15 or 16 local Leagues of Women Voters in the metropolitan area.  Its function is to monitor regional issues such as transportation and involves keeping an eye on the Metropolitan Council, in particular.  They have four meetings each year.  As with every League meeting, CMAL's meetings are free and open to the public and are a means of helping to educate citizens on issues important to the well-being of our entire area.

    Your city in 2027: Planning future metro development 

    Saturday, October 17, 2015 

    10:30 a.m.—12:00 p.m. (10:00 check-in)

    Edina Library, 5280 Grandview Square

    Speaker: Lisa Barajas, Local Planning Assistance Manager, Metropolitan Council

    CMAL Board Members

    This year, the CMAL Board Members include: Karen Schaffer (Roseville/Maplewood/Falcon Heights), Susan Anderson (Anoka/Blaine/Coon Rapids), Liz Lauder (White Bear Lake Area), Lynn Gitelis (Golden Valley), Lynne Markus (Woodbury/Cottage Grove), and Geneva MacMillan (Minnetonka/Eden Prairie/Hopkins). 

    An Opportunity for a Saint Paul League Member

    We are looking for a League member who is interested in acting as our representative at these events. This person must attend all four CMAL meetings in various metro locations or send a substitute. After the events, the representative must provide a report meeting to the St. Paul League Board (via email is acceptable). Contact Mary Vik (shack194849@gmail.com) if you are interested. 

  • 28 Sep 2015 9:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In June, a number of our delegates attended the State Convention. Conversations surrounded the theme, “Innovation and Inclusion.” A highlight of the event was the keynote address from MayKao Hang. 

    We’d like to highlight a few items to our members at the local level:

    Need for Policy Education & Outreach Volunteers

    LWV Minnesota no longer has a Policy Education & Outreach individual due to funding cuts. If you want to see that changed, please share your voice. Ask the LWV Minnesota to include funding for this role in the next budgetvoting takes place at the 2017 convention. This budget cut means that policy outreach and action work will land almost exclusively on volunteers. It may be easier for members of our chapter to get involved because we are close tot he capitol. If you would like to help in this capacity, please let us know. This is a great opportunity for our League to stand out and show our dedication!

    Slight Increase in Membership Fees Expected

    Second, due to budget concerns, per-member payments to LWV Minnesota will likely rise after next year by a few dollars. Per-Member Payments (PMPs) are essentially the state portion of the dues you pay.  Our local chapter will most likely raise our dues to cover this increase.

    Learn More About Campaign Finance Reform

    Finally, LWV Minnesota is doing a program update on campaign finance that we hope you will attend. “Campaign finance” includes issues about how candidate campaigns are funded and how money in politics affects law and policy.To learn more about campaign finance, check out the resources available on the LWV Minnesota site.


  • 22 May 2015 9:11 AM | Anonymous

    Check out this St. Paul Dispatch article about the League of Women Voters St. Paul from 1949!! The article was found in a wall during a renovation.


  • 22 May 2015 7:06 AM | Anonymous

    Thanks to everyone who attended the League of Women Voters St. Paul's 95th Annual Meeting on Monday. Special thanks to this year's outgoing board of directors. And congratulations to this year's board, Nicole Mickelson as recipient of the Sunrise Award, and Marge Anderson as recipient of the Faye Lyksett Award!!

    Joan Newmark welcomes Sally Patterson.


    Special guests Fiona and Seda presenting as Carrie Chapman Catt and Maud Wood Park.


    Marge Anderson accepting the Faye Lyksett Award as presented by Judy Screaton.


    Marge and her family. Congrats Marge!!


  • 14 Nov 2014 5:16 PM | Anonymous

    Photos from 65A Candidate Forum held on Oct. 29, 2014.


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