Mission Statement

Clean Elections Minnesota (formerly Minnesota Citizens for Clean Elections) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that promotes electoral and government policies which reflect the will of the people and not the power of money.

What do we mean by “Clean Elections”?

Clean Elections are fair, transparent, secure, and accessible with a trusted outcome that reflects the will of informed voters, not the desires of moneyed minority interests.

In a clean election, eligible voters have easy access to secret ballots and are not discouraged or blocked from voting by impediments such as long lines at the polls, inaccessible polling stations, hard-to-obtain identity requirements, intimidation, and fraudulent claims about lack of eligibility.

A clean election is financed in such a way that lack of wealth does not prevent qualified candidates from seeking and holding office.  Excessive spending by special interests must not overwhelm the flow of information to the public.

Clean Elections Minnesota supports public financing regulated by an independent Campaign Finance Board and an independent redistricting commission to prevent partisan gerrymandering. We sponsor lectures, discussion groups, and webinars to inform ourselves and all Minnesotans about the danger to our democracy of the undue impact of money on politics.

Money may talk, but it must not be allowed speak louder than a free press or the voice of the people.


In achieving our mission, Clean Elections Minnesota holds the following values to be our core guiding principles:


We dedicate ourselves to fairness and justice.


We willingly take risks in service to democracy.


We use our resources efficiently to achieve results.


We maintain flexibility to take swift action when required.


We base decisions on deep understanding, insight, knowledge and reflection.


We act today with tomorrow in mind.


We take responsibility for protecting the rights of all citizens.

Basic Legal Documents


Mar 12 2020 Revised By-laws

Clean Elections MN Executive Director, Mary Hartnett

Mary brings a wealth of nonprofit leadership experience to Clean Elections MN. Most recently (2000-2019) she was executive director of the Minnesota Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing, a state agency. As a nonprofit leader, Mary has helped organizations grow in size and power; her work has led to the passage of more than 90 pieces of legislation. In cooperation with the MN Council of NonProfits and the Secretary of State, she has planned non-partisan voter education and get-our-the-vote campaigns. She can be reached at [email protected]

Clean Elections MN Board of Directors

  • Connie Lewis. Retired Executive VP for External Affairs, Upper Midwest Planned Parenthood, Connie was from 1996-2002 State Director, Office of Senator Paul Wellstone. She earned an MA from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Contact: [email protected]
  • Todd Otis. Todd served as a representative in the MN House for 12 years. His life-long advocacy in the area of early childhood education has helped improve the lives of children and their families. Todd earned a B.A. in history from Harvard and an MS in journalism from Columbia University; he served in the Peace Corps in Senegal.
  • Lonni Skrentner, Vice Chair. Lonni is a retired Social studies teacher, former school board member, and past president of the League of Women Voters, Edina. Contact: [email protected]
  • Ron Bardal, Secretary. Ron is a retired electrical engineer, quality consultant, and Certified Quality Auditor and Quality Manager. He earned a BSEE from North Dakota State University and an MBA from the University of Minnesota. For membership concerns and Newsletter contributions: [email protected]
  • J.C. Kiser, Treasurer. 
  • George Beck. A retired administrative law judge, George has also served as board member and chair of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. He was CEM's first chair, serving from 2017 to 2021. George earned his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. [email protected]
  • Ruth Cain. Ruth retired from managing a mentoring program for Minneapolis Summer Youth Employment Program participants in 2000, after service on the MN Public Utilities Commission and an active career in MN politics. Contact: [email protected]
  • Zina Fizer. A small business owner, marketing professional, political candidate, and program director of Black Women Rising, , Zina has a B.A. in Communications and a M.A. in Community Organizing and Advocacy Political Leadership. Zina is head of the Clean Elections Legislative Team.
  • Dave Hage. Dave is a retired journalist who spent most of his career at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, where he was a reporter, editor and editorial writer specializing in labor, economics, poverty and health policy. He's the co-author, with Paul Klauda, of “No Retreat, No Surrender: Labor’s War at Hormel’’ and served as editor of Walter Mondale’s memoir, “The Good Fight.’’ He’s a graduate of the Minneapolis Public Schools and Yale College. As reporter and editor, Dave won the Pulitzer Prize once and was a finalist twice.
  • Kathleen JanaszA senior communications professional with more than 30 years of experience in business, non-profit, agency and government sectors, Kathleen’s work experience includes stints with Weber Shandwick, the Minnesota Departments of Labor & Industry and Energy & Economic Development, and Medtronic. Her volunteer and pro bono work includes contributions to Northside Women’s Space, Cornerstone Advocacy, Sheila Wellstone Institute, Minneapolis Public Schools and youth sports. She is an Elder, Deacon and Volunteer at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis.
  • David Miller. A former writer, editor, and business training developer., David has a PhD from the University of Minnesota in American studies.
  • Ken Peterson. Retired MN Commissioner of Labor and Industry, Ken has been Deputy Attorney General for Government Operations and Deputy Commissioner of Utility Regulation in the Department of Public Services. Ken earned a J.D. from George Washington University and an MPA from Harvard. Contact: [email protected]

Our Vision