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Want to predict the future political pulse of American voters? Look at Canada.

Among the obligations of being married to a politically-astute former Canadian is to stay informed about the political trends of our neighbors to the north. While I normally resist the temptation to share my Canadian punditry (you’re welcome!), there is a startling movement in the Great White North that deserves our attention. Let’s start with Alberta. Before its 2015 provincial election, Alberta’s voters showed a partisan orientation that was reliably conservative and pro-growth. They had elected center-right majority governments for eight straight decades. But in 2015, the liberal New Democrats, led by Rachel Notley, exploited a rift between conservative factions to...

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Widespread Campaign Finance Violations in Suburb of Minnetrista

Campaign finance laws serve to regulate the amount of donations flowing to political candidates for office from groups and individuals. Media attention usually  focuses on the horse race for contributions between candidates for higher office. But campaign finance limits also apply to candidates running for city council and mayor in local elections. Yet you'd never know it from numerous violations recently uncovered in the Twin Cities suburb of Minnetrista, where three of the five current city council members were found to have violated Minnesota's Fair Campaign Practices Act. A panel of Office of Administrative Law judges has ruled against the city's mayor,...

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MN Secretary of State Stonewalls Court-Ordered Release of Voter Data

Secretary of State Steve Simon claims to be all about protecting the integrity of Minnesota's elections. He says so on his official website. Minnesota is committed to protecting and strengthening the security and fairness of our elections process. So why does Simon, a Democrat, continue to stonewall a court order directing him to turn over state voting information to a group committed to doing just that? The Minnesota Court of Appeals just upheld a lower court ruling that voter data being sought by the Minnesota Voters Alliance is indeed public information. But rather than comply, Simon appears inclined to prolong a new two-year...

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Send Illegal Aliens to Sanctuary Cities? Be careful what you wish for.

Given Minnesota’s leadership in the metro and the governor’s mansion, if you are cheering on the idea of punishing sanctuary cities, be careful what you wish for. Minnesota’s already overburdened welfare state would grow if the administration carried out this policy. And imagine, given Minnesota’s free-for-all at the voting booth and loose absentee ballot laws, how voter fraud could change the state forever....

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Suburban Campaign Finance Controversy Heats Up

[caption id="attachment_14230" align="alignleft" width="224"] Shannon Bruce[/caption] Perhaps it's premature to call it Minnetristagate. But the campaign contribution controversy in the Twin Cities suburb of Minnetrista that American Experiment first exposed in January appears to be warming up faster than the weather. The complaint before the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) alleges a variety of campaign finance and reporting violations in the 2014 and 2018 Minnetrista municipal elections. Minnetrista City Councilor Shannon Bruce filed the Fair Campaign Practices Act complaints against  sitting Minnetrista Mayor Lisa Whalen, two current and one former Minnetrista city councilor and two individuals with a group called Our Minnetrista. (OAH case# 71-0325-35774) The...

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U of M Political Pundit Rips Sanders in National Media

Bernie Sanders may be a socialist at heart. But questions swirling around the candidate's abrupt shutdown of his family's foundation indicate he has a ways to go in practice. Local Bernie supporters will be dismayed to see the Associated Press featured a Minnesota political pundit as the chief critic of the Vermont senator in a story making headlines nationally recently. The lack of transparency and the family ties have drawn criticism from good-government advocates. “For a politician who runs on fairness and socialist principles, this looks like the old political games,” said Lawrence R. Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of...

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DFL Bill Disenfranchises Voters on Expiring School Referendums

When it comes to voting on school district referendums, the deck is already largely stacked against local taxpayers. "Vote Yes" committees operate increasingly sophisticated and expensive campaigns with insider help. While districts cannot directly ask voters for support, schools lay the groundwork with informational newsletters and emails to parents.  School board members and district staff are free to campaign on their personal time, while teachers unions promote passage of ballot questions, according to the Minnesota School Boards Association website. No wonder school districts won 69 percent of the 90 bond and capital project levy referendum ballot questions up in 2018, according to MSBA. But...

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The Community Virtues of Voting in Person

This post appeared at MinnPost on February 13, 2019. There has been no shortage of books over the last decade about how Americans are in centrifugal flight from one other. Journalist Bill Bishop, for instance, in 2009, addressed “why the clustering of like-minded America is tearing us apart,” in The Big Sort. The title of Charles Murray’s Coming Apart, in 2012, needs no embellishment. Robert Putnam’s Our Kids, in 2015, is often viewed as the left-of-center counterweight to Murray’s right-of-center analysis. A year later, in 2016, Yuval Levin’s The Fractured Republic, aimed at “renewing america’s social sontract in the age of individualism.” And most recently, Nebraska Sen....

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Elections Should Be Held One Week After Tax Day

DFL State Senators have introduced legislation that would make voter registration automatic, and on Tuesday, newly-elected Congressman Dean Phillips (DFL) from Minnesota's 3rd Congressional district introduced legislation that would make voting day a holiday. I don't spend an awful lot of time thinking about elections and voting patterns, but I do think it's practically a crime that most elections are held in November, when taxes are due in April. A 2007 article from Kristina Rasmussen at the National Taxpayer's Union agrees: “Time heals all wounds” is usually offered as soothing advice to heart-broken lovers, but many spendthrift politicians have also embraced this axiom as...

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Hundreds of DFL Voters Disenfranchised in Senate District 11 Primary

What if the very system so-called voting rights activists instituted to take the inconvenience out of voting in person at the polls in fact ended up disenfranchising hundreds of voters instead? That's one potential take-away from the fiasco that resulted in the disenfranchisement of hundreds of voters who mailed in ballots in the recent DFL special Senate primary, only to discover their votes didn't count. The ballots arrived too late to be included in the tally, according to the Duluth News Tribune. More than 400 mail-in ballots went uncounted in the special election primary in Senate District 11 earlier this month. The...

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