Clean Elections Minnesota is a non-profit, non-partisan group of Minnesotans concerned that the power of Big Money, Dark Money, and Corporate Money is overwhelming the public interest in local, state, and national elections—especially since the Supreme Court's disastrous decision in Citizens United. We're dedicated to educating ourselves and others about ways to maintain and enhance the democratic power of ordinary citizens to resist the rise of oligarchy locally and nationally—and we're committed to putting ideas into action. Although our main energies are devoted to education, we maintain a presence at the legislature when it's in session. We also have a growing presence as panelists and speakers.
To contribute online, click the donate button. To donate by mail, make a check payable to Minnesota Citizens for Clean Elections and mail to MnCCE Treasurer, 1780 Lake St., Lauderdale, Mn 55113.
Wednesday, September 30: In concert with democracy-reform allies, Minnesota Citizens for Clean Elections sponsored a Zoom conversation with Nancy MacLean, Duke University Professor of History and Public Policy and author of the prize-winning book, Democracy in Chains, a meticulously researched study of the radical right’s long-running “stealth attack” on our democracy. She was interviewed by Dave Hage, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter (ret.) for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. MacLean traces the roots of this Koch-funded, radical right movement to 1950s Virginia and white-supremacist reaction against Supreme Court mandated school integration. Enthusiastic, personable, and–given the darkness of her subject–surprisingly optimistic, MacLean believes the energy young people are bringing to politics gives us reason to be hopeful. She advised her audience of nearly 200 participants, “Take stock of your talents and network…. Find 3 people, 5 people, 10 people: encourage them to vote…enlighten them about the threat.” You’ll believe her when she says, “No one wants to live in the world these [right wing “libertarians”] are creating.” Click here to listen to the entire conversation. You’ll also want to buy the book. The event was introduced by Clean Elections chair, George Beck. Cosponsors were Common Cause MN, American Promise, Minnesota Move to Amend, Indivisible MN 03, Plymouth Area Indivisible, Minnesota Peace Project.
Saturday, October 3: MinnPost publishes “If we want our government reformed, we first need elections reformed”: an article about our survey of all 2020 candidates for the Minnesota Senate to learn their support (or lack of it) for five democracy favors we favor. As the subtitle suggests, “If you’re one of the 85% of Americans from all political parties who want fundamental changes in clean elections, check out the Clean Election Grades to inform your vote.” You can do so by visiting www.mnelectiongrades.org. Questions in the survey relate to proposed reforms in campaign finance, reducing the power of big money in politics, and better disclosure of big money contributors. It’s easy to find how candidates in your district responded. Just select a district from the display and you’ll see the answers to the five questions (there’s help in finding your district and candidates)–and a grade from A through F. If your candidate didn’t respond, you’ll see an “F.” We think voters deserve answers. Coauthors of the article: Tom Horner (former Independence Party candidate for governor; George Beck, Clean Elections Chair and former Chair, Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board; and Connie Lewis, Clean Elections board member and former VP, Planned Parenthood MN, ND, SD.
Voting in person this year may well feel less safe. The tradition of voting in person on Election Day is, for many Americans, an almost sacred ritual–or, anyway, the secular equivalent. But, realistically, many of us will choose instead to vote by no-excuse absentee ballot. The first stop is the website of the Secretary of State, which can be reached by clicking www.mnvotes.org to order the ballot to be mailed to your address. After you successfully complete the application, you will receive confirmation on line. The ballot will come to you later in the mail; it may take 7 – 10 days. For previous elections, a witness signature was required; this year, it’s not. When you have completed the ballot, return it as directed. You can drop it off at a designated location for your jurisdiction, or you can mail it in; but keep in mind that it must be postmarked no later than Election Day. (Be sure to follow the instructions.) This is pretty cool – you can track the status of your ballot on the website to confirm that it was received and counted.
If you feel safe voting in person, you can do so at designated locations; you can find yours on the same website. You can go to a polling place early or wait until Nov. 3. All polling places are following strict safety procedures to protect the voters and the poll workers. Be prepared to wear a mask!
Please spread the word about voting this year. Be sure to talk to friends and relatives even if it’s not in person. You can let them know they can also register online and can vote early in person at the county election office, when hopefully there will be fewer people present than on Nov 3. This election could not be more consequential for our nation. But we will need to be a little bit more proactive this year and perhaps not just stroll into the polls to exercise our right to vote.
If you’re dissatisfied with the current method of selecting a president, by which the winner in the Electoral votes sometimes differs from the candidate who wins the national popular vote, there are possible alternatives. Mark Bohnhorst, leader of Clean Elections MN’s presidential elections team, has been researching and promoting alternatives for several years. Here are two–neither of them requires amending the US Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College.
National Choice Ballot
The National Choice Ballot–also known as the Voter’s Choice Ballot– works like this: Each presidential ballot would include an option to vote for your choice among the listed candidates, just like the current system. But there would also be an option to vote for the winner of the national popular vote if your first choice doesn’t win. Sound intriguing? Click here to read Mark’s full explanation, which now includes an April 2020 Supplement with scenarios of how the Ballot might work. Do you have questions? Click here for answer to frequently asked questions, such as “Does this violate one person: one vote rule?” (Spoiler alert: Nope.)
National Popular Vote Interstate Compact
States who adopt the Compact agree that their electoral votes will go to winner of the national popular vote–regardless of who wins the presidential contest in their state. For the Compact to take effect, the states included must control a majority of the Electoral College Votes (270 votes out of 538). To read Mark’s complete explanation of the Compact, click here.