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Rochester City Council’s Big Pay Raise Leads to Big Campaign Issue

The big pay increase the Rochester City Council bestowed on itself and Mayor Kim Norton last winter raised eyebrows even in prosperous Med City. The council's initial proposal to double the mayor's salary and bump their own paychecks 140 percent led to a backlash against city hall just before Christmas. In its wisdom city council members scaled back to more modest high double-digit percentage raises for themselves ($21,712 to $39,420), the city council president ($27,743 to $47,300) and mayor ($37,657 to $65,700). Problem solved? Not exactly. The clumsy way in which the council awarded themselves quantum pay raises their constituents could...

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Voters Alliance Sues Minneapolis Over State Law to Protect Absentee Ballots

With some 561,000 absentee ballots tallied in 2018, there's no flattening of the curve when it comes to the number of Minnesotans expected to vote absentee this fall.  By all accounts, the number of residents likely to make their choice via absentee ballot will increase significantly again, due to concerns over voting in person because of COVID-19. So it will be more critical than ever to have the proper procedures in place to oversee the security and integrity of hundreds of thousands or more absentee ballots in November. Nowhere more so than in Minneapolis, the biggest city in the state. Yet a...

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Could Cities’ Extended Emergency Orders for Coronavirus Undermine 2020 Elections?

Minnetrista City Councilor Shannon Bruce poses a timely question on her personal blog. Why does a small suburb of the Twin Cities need to continue to invoke emergency powers authority because of the coronavirus, particularly with the state winding down restrictions? Head scratcher? Not really. Are you wondering why, as we all are, Minnetrista has an “indefinite” emergency order (it never expires) when the city has had no staff or first responders test positive for COVID19, has taken no measures since implementing the order in March that would have required an emergency order, nor had any significant expenses for federal reimbursement...

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DFL Incumbents Suddenly Raise Red Flag About Online Voting After Losing Endorsement

Now they tell us. Three incumbent DFL state legislators who each recently lost the nod for their party's endorsement suddenly sound more like conservative critics when it comes to allowing online voting for elections. In Minneapolis, two longtime liberal legislators have left open the option of challenging the outcome of the endorsement process due to concerns over its integrity in the wake of virtual procedures put in place due to to the coronavirus, according to the Star Tribune. Sen. Jeff Hayden and Rep. Raymond Dehn, both Democrats from Minneapolis, criticized how online votes were conducted after the two fell short against...

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Federal Court Strikes Down Minneapolis and St. Paul Voter Registration Requirement for Landlords

Apparently the Minnesota Voters Alliance hasn't grown tired of all the winning yet. The MVA has compiled an impressive list of legal victories in its mission of insuring the integrity of Minnesota elections--and just added another notch to its holster in federal court. In 2018 a case brought by the MVA resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court overturning a state law regulating political apparel at the polls. In addition, MVA has prevailed at the district and appeals court levels in a case Secretary of State Steve Simon has appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in a desperate attempt to prevent release...

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MN Secretary of State Links to Pro-Warren Website for Super Tuesday Poll Finder

Minnesota Secretary Steve Simon regularly lectures legislators over the online vulnerability of Minnesota's election system, but it turns out the only threat so far has come from Simon himself. In the first key test of the system in the 2020 presidential year  election cycle, the poll finder on the Secretary of State's home page apparently imploded "due to heavy demand" this morning with requests from Minnesotans looking for their polling place. Then to make matters worse, someone in Simon's office linked the state website to a pro-Elizabeth Warren website that provides polling place information. The Star Tribune and other media pounced...

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Resurfaced: Bloomberg’s past comments compare civil liberties, teachers’ union to NRA

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has not been shy about his mission to take on the National Rifle Association, but remarks he made in 2013 comparing the organization to two Democratic-aligned groups may complicate some of his key liberal relationships....

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Ex-Senator Enjoys Good Life with Leftover Campaign Funds

Former Democratic US Senator Heidi Heitkamp was soundly booted from office by her North  Dakota constituents back in 2018.  But she still has some $4.5 million in campaign contributions left on the table most likely largely from out-of-state liberal big-spenders, whose dream of regaining Democratic control of the Senate died with Heitkamp's defeat by Republican Kevin Cramer. Fargo Forum political columnist and blogger Rob Port blasted the expensive tastes revealed in Heitkamp's most recent required federal election commission  report. How has Heitkamp been spending her campaign money over the last year? Booze, fine dining, and luxury travel make up a big chunk...

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