Resignations Prompts Call for Expanded Voting Rights

Thirty-five votes … that’s all it may take to determine who the winner of the Special Election in House District 19-A which is required due to the resignation of Terry Morrow (DFL- St. Peter).

It is rather interesting as the area has previously been served by Republicans such as Glen Taylor who was a Minnesota State Senator from 1981 to 1990 and Marcel “Sal” Frederick, who served four terms in the state House of Representatives but recently by DFLers such as Representative Ruth Johnson and Don Ostrom. The seat has been competitive as illustrated by Don Ostrom’s margin of victory over Sal Frederick was just 39 votes (as determined by an automatic recount.)

Terry Morrow has represented the district for a while but has had his fair share of challenges … including a $30,000 campaign against him by the TakeBack Minnesota group in 2010 but in 2012, the GOP did not even field a challenger.

Now Representative Morrow has resigned leaving the field open … and eight people thus far has formally indicated that they would like the seat … from the MN-GOP (Allen Quist, Joel Brinker and Jim Golgart), Independence Party (Tim Gieseke) and DFLers (Tim Strand, Clark Johnson, Karl Johnson and Robin Courrier).

The MN-GOP delegates have made their endorsement (and unless someone decides to challenge in a primary), Allen Quist will represent the party on the ballot while Tim Gieseke has received the IP endorsement.

Let’s look at the process … focusing on the MN-GOP contest where 90 delegates who could have participated in the convention — but only 41 showed up. Joel Brinker received four votes, Jim Golgart got two votes and Allen Quist received 35 and the endorsement.

The Special Election is Tuesday, February 12th for 19-A as well as one in 14-A. The question is : will the voters participate ?

Because of Minnesota’s antiquated election rules which prohibit “no excuse early voting”, those citizens that “brave the elements” will determine the winner. With the lack of major news coverage promoting participation in the election, the likelihood is that a very small number of eligible voters will cast votes.

Heck, IF less than half of the MN-GOP eligible delegates bothered to participate in their caucus meeting, the odds of a strong Election Day turnout is not good. But because of those 35, that could be the key to Allen Quist returning to the state legislature.

That’s crazy … Minnesota needs to reform its election laws and allow no excuse early voting … especially for Special Elections.

IF a group such as TakeBack Minnesota was willing to shell out $30,000 to attack Terry Morrow when the election was being held during November, how will such groups be involved with targetting “their” voters in hopes of tilting the election toward “their” candidate ?
An election should not be determined by which special interest group can better mobilize its voters, but instead by increasing the “people“‘s participation.

Whomever is “elected” in 14-A and 19-A will have technically represent a lot of people, but if people are limited in when they can vote, the “elected” replacements may represent more of the special interests than the people they should represent.

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