May 1 is the deadline for the state party to submit names of those who are willing to be Election judges for the August primary and November general elections.
Election judges are the backbone of our election system. Any individual who is eligible to vote in this state is qualified to be appointed as an election judge. Election judges are paid officials who staff local polling places, absentee ballot boards, and all early voting venues, to ensure that the ballots and rights of voters are protected.
Minnesota Voters Alliance has been publicizing that election judges in even-numbered years are hired/assigned differently than in years when non-partisan elections are held. In order to maximize your chances of being selected as an election judge (or a poll challenger) in your precinct, it is absolutely critical that you sign up through your political party in 2020, even if you’ve recently served as an election judge.
Why do I need to sign up through my political party?
The Minnesota Legislature has created a system for selecting election judges in even years, such as 2020, that is different from the one used for “odd year” municipal elections.
In even years, in which we have “partisan elections”, the law requires that election judges be selected from the lists submitted to the Secretary of State by the political parties. Minnesota Statute 204B.21 requires that in a year in which there is an election for partisan political office, such as 2020, “each major political party shall prepare a list of eligible voters to act as election judges in EACH precinct”, and submit to the Secretary of State by May 1st.
The law also requires appointing authorities to select election judges from the lists received from the political parties first, before appointing others. This means that if a person signs up through the Secretary of State’s office, or at their local election office, their chances of being selected for 2020 are limited or eliminated.
In addition, failing to sign up through your political party also negatively impacts your party’s ability to verify whether or not the Secretary of State is complying with the “Party Balance Requirement’ for election judges found in 204B.19, Subd 5.
Poll Challengers: this is an unpaid, volunteer role. The Secretary of State site describes the limitations here. Training will be provided by MN GOP. You must be on the list submitted by your party before election day to be a poll challenger.
Political parties are vital instruments in our democratic political process. Vibrant local parties ensure that you have a choice when you vote in city, county, and state elections. A local political party, however, is only as vibrant as the supporters who come out every two years and attend their local precinct caucuses.
The caucuses coming up on Tuesday evening, February 25, are your opportunity to get engaged in identifying and supporting candidates that share your values and your passions. Caucuses are the first critical step you need to take to become a delegate to the conventions that will be held this year to hear from and endorse candidates.
Republican caucuses are more than a process for selecting candidates. They are also the means of refreshing our party’s leadership and objectives. Meetings of conservative-minded neighbors elect local leaders from among their number to represent them at party meetings. These meetings also give you the opportunity to identify what issues are important to you through resolutions to amend the party’s platform.
Should you attend your precinct caucus on February 25? Do you feel that local, county, and state governments have their priorities straight? Are they spending your taxes wisely and efficiently? Is your local representative listening and responding to your concerns? Do you want to help field candidates that are more closely aligned to your values? The people leading your party today need your help and support. Don’t assume that they will always be there.
Where will the caucuses be held? When available on the MN Secretary of State’s website, you will be able to find your caucus location at this link . Here are the locations for SD49, SD50 and Eden Prairie.
- If you live in Bloomington, they will be held at Jefferson High School, 4001 W. 102nd St., Bloomington
- If you live in Edina, they will be held at Edina’s South View Middle School, 4725 South View Lane., Edina
- If you live in an Eden Prairie or Minnetonka neighborhood northeast of I-494, they will be held at Edina’s South View Middle School, 4725 South View Lane, Edina
- If you live in an Eden Prairie neighborhood outside of I-494, they will be held at the Eden Prairie Central Middle School, 8025 School Rd, Eden Prairie.
When will they start on February 25? Doors will open at 6:15 pm. The caucuses will officially kick off at 7:00 pm. Expect that they will last about 90 minutes.
Will I need to register to attend? You will need to sign in and affirm that you believe in the principles of the Republican Party.
Is there a cost to attend? The caucuses are free, but contributions to help defray the cost of holding the caucuses will be requested and would be appreciated.
Please, be sure to mark February 25th on your calendar.
Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan released the following statement on January 23 regarding the Minnesota DFL’s attempts to change Minnesota’s Presidential Primary law regarding data:
“Voting is one of the greatest rights and civic duties we are afforded by living in the United States of America. Yet, the Minnesota DFL is actively working to dissuade Minnesotans from participating in the March 3rd Presidential Primary, for which voting is already open. Changing the rules in the middle of the game is something that the majority of Americans would be against whether we are talking about the Superbowl or an election.
“The legislation surrounding the Presidential Primary was passed in a bipartisan manner and should be allowed to move forward without the DFL impeding due to baseless concerns. In fact, MN DFL Party Chair Ken Martin was Chair of the DFL when these measures were adopted while I walked into a previously adopted situation. Further, none of the 40+ states that provide partisan primary data as a standard voter file has ever been accused of misusing voter data. What is more likely, is that the Minnesota DFL is frightened by the two new major parties receiving data that would siphon off votes from the DFL gathering; than misuse of the data as a whole.
“The Republican Party of Minnesota takes voter privacy and data security very seriously and will continue to work to ensure necessary security measures just as we do with the voter information we have used for years.
“Just as we are seeing in Washington D.C. and around the nation, Democrats are afraid of President Trump and are willing to do anything they can to prevent another four years. It is disappointing that the Minnesota DFL has chosen to start 2020 with scare tactics and misinformation to suppress voters. Minnesota voters deserve better.”
Chairwoman Carnahan repeated this message Jan 31 when she and the DFL Chair were interviewed on the televised show, TPT Almanac (starts about minute 7).
A year ago, eco-terrorists vandalized several pieces of heavy equipment owned by Scheff Logging & Trucking, Inc. and harassed its employees on a worksite near Cloquett, MN. Now, the company has filed a lawsuit against those individuals, citing over $100,000 in damages The lawsuit names Defendant Shawn Etsitty and his co-conspirators, as well as the organizations that trained them and funded their activities.
The incident is the latest in a string of violent criminal protests by extremists who believe they are justified in breaking the law as a form of environmental-political activism.
The criminals tore out wiring, stole keys, cut hydraulic lines causing oil to drain into the ground, poured sand, glue and water into Scheff’s equipment, cut and pulled out wiring and damaged dashboards, drive trains and oil reservoirs, causing more than $100,000 of malicious and intentional damage to the equipment of this small family logging company working under contract for St. Louis County.
“This is not an isolated incident, unfortunately,” added Scott Dane, Executive Director of Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota. “Many small businesses in Minnesota have experienced similar disruptions and vandalism, and it needs to stop. The victims here are our families, our friends, and our neighbors – their livelihoods are on the line.”
The MN Legislature reconvenes Tuesday, February 11.
Our January 28 dinner speaker Rep. Drazkowski provided some predictions on what will happen this session.
He also briefly discussed a possible way the MN legislature could begin to deal with the millions of dollars of misspent funding by the Department of Human Services: create a separate Inspector General division outside of DHS's tainted administrative structure.
And he gave us a quick forecast of what will happen to our money in the 2020 legislative session. The funds on-hand already exceed what's needed for the 2-year budget bill that was approved in 2019. The DFL majority will want to spend the 2.4 Billion in excess tax-collections already in the state's treasury, as well as the forecast 1.3 Billion excess that will accrue by 2021. Expect to see a "Supplemental Budget Bill" filled with pet-projects from every district.
Plus: Gov. Walz will propose a 2.6 Billion bonding (borrowing) plan, 2-times larger than any previously approved.
A portion of SD49 is within MN US Congressional District 5, currently represented by Ilhan Omar (D). Dinner attendees expressed surprise January 28 to learn the extent of unethical, possibly criminal, actions that Omar has committed.
Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) was the featured speaker at the January 28 dinner program hosted by Senate District 49 Republicans. He has been one of the strongest advocates for an investigation of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN5).
Drazkowski served in the Minnesota House of Representatives with Omar before she was elected to Congress. He noted that she filed a required Minnesota Campaign Finance report several months late, despite reminders from the Campaign Finance Board. She finally filed after she had secured the DFL endorsement for her candidacy in the 5th Congressional District.
In looking into the report she filed, Drazkowski noted expenditures that did not appear to be true campaign expenses. An investigation by the Campaign Finance Board essentially agreed and fined her campaign. During this period, other investigative journalists such as David Steinberg, Praya Samsunder, and Scott Johnson reported on inconsistencies with Omar’s statements about her background as a refuge, her marriages, and her contacts with her brother.
Rep. Steve Drazkowski has pushed the US House Committee on Ethics and the Internal Revenue Service to determine if the allegations that have been raised are valid and constitute illegal activity. He and others have created a new site OmarTruth.com which includes a short video and links to the source-documents that highlight the questionable actions.
Last week, MN Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R- Nisswa) held a press conference to outline his plans for the legislative session that kicks off in February.
“Our 2020 Vision will build on the successes of the 2019 session and Republicans will continue to work with Democrats in the House and Gov. Walz to get things done, even as we fight hard for our principles. Principles like fiscal responsibility, a limited but effective government that takes care of the vulnerable, a market-based economy and strong belief in personal responsibility and liberty.”
The 2020 Vision plan includes initiatives addressing health care, transportation, education, jobs and workforce development, clean energy, the economy and family budgets, clean water, violence prevention, taking care of people, childcare, greater Minnesota, state government, election security, and veterans.
The March 3 Presidential Primary will be our first opportunity to formally register our support for President Trump's re-election. While this is strictly a presidential primary, the number of Republican voters will be measured against the turnout for the highly-contested Democrat Party nomination. It may well be looked at as a reflection of the expected turnout in November for all Republican candidates. So we're encouraging EVERYONE to vote.
For this Presidential Primary, you'll sign an extra oath "I am in general agreement with the principles of the party for whose candidate I intend to vote, and I understand that my choice of a party's ballot will be public information." You'll request a Republican ballot, and only our candidate, plus a write-in line, will be on your ballot.
Early voting by mail-in absentee ballot or in person at your City Hall is available now. On March 3rd, local voting locations will be open for each precinct from 7 AM - 8 PM.
In Edina Precinct 2 has a new voting location. Edina P-02 use Highlands Elementary School, 5505 Doncaster Way, Edina, as their new polling place.
In Bloomington, two precincts have new voting locations:
- The Bloomington Precinct 17 polling place will be at the Westwood Community Church, 6301 Cecilia Circle. This is down in the hollow at the northwest quadrant of the East Bush Lake Road overpass of 494. Voters will be directed to the West Lot where the main building entrance is located. Although easily visible from the freeway, the location's street entrance is a bit tough to find on your first attempt - you may want to preview the drive /walk before March 3.
- The other new polling place will be in Bloomington Precinct 24 where it's been moved to Bloomington Lutheran School, 10600 Bloomington Ferry Road. The main entrance is on the south side of the building.
No surprise to anyone here in the metro area, property taxes are going up. What is surprising is how different constituencies are affected.
Local governments like to report their new tax rates using the median house value in their town or city. For some reason, these local governments feel that these provide a meaningful comparison. This despite significant differences in those median house values.
Here are some statistics to ponder (sourced from the Star Tribune, December 15)
City 2019 Median Value Tax Rate Increase*
Bloomington $283,800 8.7% to 10.3%
Edina $548,500 1.1% to 4.7%
Eden Prairie $396,200 3.0% to 4.6%
Minnetonka $359,800 2.8% to 6.2%
* The differences in rates depends on in which school district the house resides.
The levies approved by the voters in the different school districts clearly have an impact on the property tax rate a home-owner will pay. Yet the tax rate increases above certainly vary significantly. Bloomington argues that its median-value homes had an annual increase in market value of 10.5% compared to the 3.4% annual increase of Edina’s median-value house. Minnetonka and Eden Prairie had 5.2% and 4.4%, respectively.
However, if one tries to judge the fairness and reasonableness of these increases, or even the efficiency with which a city government is operating, it would seem that using the median home value is not a meaningful way to compare. A rate increase on top of a market value increase just further raises the dollars a tax-paying home owner must turn over to the city.
Given the close proximity of cities in the metropolitan area and the similarity in their circumstances, reporting the property tax increase for, say, a $300,000 house would be much more telling. We asked the Bloomington city assessor to provide us that information in early December. We will publish the response when we get it.
The “Mess at the DHS” reinforces the need for stronger efforts to rout out political corruption and bureaucratic mismanagement within our state government. This will come only when our own local representatives demonstrate that they care about how our tax dollars are being spent.
If you are concerned about these developments and are looking for a way to do something about them, running for the state legislature is a meaningful action. If you live in Senate District 49, we want to hear from you.
Campaigns for the Minnesota Senate or House take passion, time, and personal energy. They also take funding, messaging, and support. We are ready to sit down and explore what it will take to run a strong race. We can help if we feel that we are a good fit
The time to decide is rapidly approaching if you want to run this year. Please reach out to us by CLICKING on this link and writing us of your interest. We will respond. We are looking forward to hearing from you