Minnesota Citizens for Clean Elections (Clean Elections MN) 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”?
We consider a clean election to be fair, transparent, secure, accessible and convincing. The outcome of a clean election credibly reflects the will of informed voters. This means voting must be promoted in a non-partisan fashion by the government and the media. Voters must have access to clear, factual information about the views, experience and character of the candidates. In a clean election, eligible voters have easy access to secret ballots and are not discouraged or actively blocked from voting by means that include, among others, long lines at the polls, inaccessible polling stations, hard-to-obtain identity requirements, intimidation, and fraudulent claims about lack of eligibility. Perhaps most important of all, at this historical moment, clean elections are financed in such a way that lack of wealth does not prevent qualified candidates from seeking and holding office, nor does excess spending by special interests overwhelm the flow of information to the public. Money will always talk, but it must not speak louder than the voice of the people. The public must have justifiable faith that the results of an election are those intended by voters and verifiable.
In several states “clean elections” are associated with public financing of elections. Our work to make elections in Minnesota clean elections certainly includes support for public financing of campaigns as well as working to maintain an independent Campaign Finance Board. A fair approach to redistricting and protecting voter rights that make voting as accessible and easy as possible are also elements of our vision for Clean Elections Minnesota. Education of citizens about the undue impact of money on politics is a critical strategy for making clean elections a reality in Minnesota.
Clean elections are fair, transparent, and reflect the will of all citizens rather than the desires of a moneyed minority.
In achieving our mission, Minnesota Citizens for Clean Elections 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.
In 2021 a fair redistricting process will lead to an equitable new alignment of legislative districts.
- Track redistricting legislation to be sure that it promotes a fair process for redistricting
- Attend legislative hearings and testify about redistricting
- Include redistricting information in our education offerings and create ‘calls to action’ to mobilize MnCCE members and others to affect legislation
- Center on rallying cry, “We choose legislators; they don’t choose their voters
- Research other states’ approaches to redistricting
Public financing of campaigns:
- Introduce voucher system (cf. Seattle model) in Minneapolis
- Maintain public campaign subsidies (check off on tax forms)
- Maintain the $50 political contribution rebate
Protect voting rights:
- Promote automatic voting registration legislation at the state level
- Support pre-age 18 registration
- Support efforts to install ranked choice voting
- Fight against legislation that would restrict voting, e.g. voter ID, disenfranchisement of felons on probation or parole
- Support early voting
- Generate or reprint educational materials related to clean elections
- Distribute information and analysis on our website and in social media
- Generate Op Ed pieces and letters to the editor for print media and other media outlets e.g. MinnPost
- Host events at various venues including programs with allies
- Attend town hall and neighborhood meetings
- Create an OLLI class on election issues
- Voters Guides ranking candidates on clean elections criteria
- Rating System
Government officials (mostly elected) and regulatory heads becoming lobbyists (sometimes in a very short time after they leave their government position)
- Support legislation that will close or limit the revolving door
- Work to overturn Citizens United
- Support constitutional amendment movements specified solely to repeal of Citizens United
- Oppose Article 5 constitutional convention strategies
- Identify who receives “dark money” and who is giving it. Disclose this information in educational efforts and public statements.
- Support legislation closing the loophole in MN law that allows dark money to influence elections
- Raise the public profile of MnCCE
- Grow membership
- Raise sustaining funds for MnCCE via grant proposals, donors and other means
- Build out communication structure including social media e.g. Facebook as well as a website
- Expand the committee structure
Who Are We?
The Clean Elections Board of Directors includes the following members:
- George Beck, Chair. A retired administrative law judge, George has also served as board member and chair of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. George earned his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.
- 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.
- 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.
- Jim Herrick, Treasurer. Jim is a retired hospital and health care executive with expertise in pharmaceuticals, managed care, and pharmacy systems. He earned a BS in Pharmacy and an MSc and residency from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
- Sherrie Marcy. Sherrie is a retired teacher, a WCCO Good Neighbor, and a lifelong learner. She earned education degrees from Macalester College and Bethel University.
- David Miller. David has been a writer, editor, and business training developer. He has a PhD from the University of Minnesota in American studies. David chairs the Communications Team.
- Paul Rosenblatt. Paul is a retired University of Minnesota faculty member and a board member of Common Cause Minnesota.
- Lonni Skrentner, Education Team Leader. Lonni is a retired Social studies teacher, former school board member, and past president of the League of Women Voters, Edina.
- Norrie Thomas, PhD is a retired healthcare executive and adjunct professor at the Center for Leading Healthcare Change at the University of Minnesota. She has been active in bringing people together to advance ideas that protect democratic values. She studied at the U of M and the London School of Economics.