Election 2018: Ballot Roundup

Here are my recommendations for allllllllllll the races I’ve written about in 2018. Links lead back to my post about the race.


Statewide

US Senator (term expiring January 3, 2025): Amy Klobuchar

US Senator (Special Election for term expiring January 3, 2021): Tina Smith

Governor: Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan

Secretary of State: Steve Simon

State Auditor: Julie Blaha

Attorney General: Keith Ellison


Statewide Judicial

Supreme Court, Associate Justice 2: Margaret Chutich

Court of Appeals, Judge 2: Lucinda Ellen Jesson


Minneapolis and Hennepin County Races

US Representative, District 5: Ilhan Omar

State Representative 63A: Jim Davnie
(I didn’t research any other State Rep races. Just vote for the DFLer. This is a better state when the Democrats are running things.)

Hennepin County Commissioner, District 2: Irene Fernando

Hennepin County Commissioner, District 3: Marion Greene

Hennepin County Commissioner, District 4: Angela Conley

Hennepin County Sheriff: Dave Hutch

Hennepin County Attorney: Mark Haase

Minneapolis City Question regarding liquor licenses: Yes

Minneapolis School Board At-Large (vote for 2): Kimberly Caprini and Josh Pauly

Minneapolis School District Questions: Yes (to both)

Note regarding judicial races: all the Hennepin County district judges are running unopposed. It kind of doesn’t matter much whether you fill in the dots or not. I usually vote for all the unopposed incumbents unless I’m running short of time, but as you may have noticed, I’m overly thorough about anything election-related.


Saint Paul and Ramsey County Races

US Representative, District 4: Betty McCollum

State Representative 64B: Dave Pinto
(I didn’t research any other State Rep races. Just vote for the DFLer. This is a better state when the Democrats are running things.)

Ramsey County Commissioner, District 3: Trista MatasCastillo

Ramsey County Commissioner, District 5: Rafael Ortega (post is from the primary season; Charles Barklind is no longer on the ballot, everything else applies.)

Ramsey County Sheriff: Jack Serier

Ramsey County Attorney: John Choi

Saint Paul School District Question: Yes

2nd District Court, Judge 2: DeAnne Hilgers

2nd District Court, Judge 11: Leaning toward Scott Flaherty for my own vote, but both candidates are excellent.

2nd District Court, Judge 14: Robyn Millenacker

2nd District Court, Judge 20: Probably Tony Atwal, despite his DUI.

2nd District Court, Judge 28: Elena Ostby

I think that’s all of them. If you have some spare time this weekend, CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING.

Edited to add: if you’re looking for more perspectives, or information on races outside Minneapolis and St. Paul, this tool also has some information on downticket races: https://inthearenaonline.com/mycandidates/

I’ve been asked about a tip jar, and for various reasons I don’t have one. You can buy one of my books (online if that’s easiest, but local bookstores Dreamhaven and Uncle Hugo’s usually have Cat Pictures Please & Other Stories, my short story collection, and might have my novels). You can also stay tuned to pre-order my new novel Catfishing on Catnet (coming November 2019 from Tor Teen!) once there’s a pre-ordering page. Finally, you can donate to the not-yet-fully-funded Donors Choose fundraiser I linked to back on the post about the Minneapolis School Board race: a trip to Wolf Ridge Learning Center for 5th graders at Green Central Park Community School.

 

Election 2018: Hi, my name is Naomi, and I’d like to talk to you today about volunteering

In 2012, I was walking from my parking lot into the State Fair when someone with a clipboard stopped me to talk about the VOTE NO campaign. I assured her that I was absolutely, positively voting no. She said, “we’re actually out today looking for people to volunteer!” I hesitated, because I really didn’t want the constitutional amendment to pass, but I don’t like calling people up or knocking on doors. “We really need volunteers,” she said. “If the election were held today, we would lose. We really need volunteers.”

So, I signed up, and I did persuasion phone calling once a week until we switched over to GOTV at the end of October. It was hard but not impossible, and some days were incredibly satisfying, like the time I spoke with an older man who was a committed “yes” voter, but when I started to end the call interrupted me and asked how I was voting, and why. And as I talked to him about the people I love and care about, his voice got softer and less angry and confrontational. I could hear his mind opening and the sunlight coming in. It really felt pretty miraculous, frankly.

And not only did we defeat both the evil constitutional amendments that year (there was also a proposed Voter ID law on the ballot), we turned both the Minnesota House and the Minnesota Senate blue.

And I haven’t volunteered since, because I hate phone banking. But this year I signed up to do it, because … I feel kind of superstitious. In 2016, I assumed that everyone would be as motivated to get out and vote as I was, based just on how self-evidently horrifying Trump was, and I was clearly wrong.

So this year I’m volunteering. I went today to Take Action Minnesota’s office on Raymond Avenue and did phone banking from noon to three. (Well, 12:30 to 2:45. There was training, and then there was debriefing.) And I signed up to do more shifts of either phone banking or door knocking this week and next weekend.

It wasn’t terrible: lots of people thanked me for volunteering, even as they assured me that they would crawl over ground glass if they had to, to get to the polls. (Also, I spent a lot of time dialing and then getting people’s voicemail. That was super easy.) One woman said her mother would need a ride to the polls, and Take Action will set her up. I chatted with a really delightful student from Macalester who’s voting for the very first time.

Here I am with the group I phonebanked with:

If you’re interested in volunteering, there’s a website that appears to be sort of the ActBlue for Campaign Volunteering, MobilizeAmerica. Plug in your city and you’ll get a whole list of times and places to volunteer, with all sorts of options: door knocking, phone banking, text banking.

Here’s a list for Minneapolis.

Here’s a list for Saint Paul.

The TakeAction MN events are here, and that’s where I volunteered today. I liked them: they’re right on the Green Line (seriously, less than a five-minute walk from the Raymond Ave stop) or, if you want to drive (I drove) on-street parking is abundant and easy to find. It’s wheelchair accessible, they have snacks, and it’s set up to be a reasonably comfortable and well-organized office.

You can also sign up through individual candidates’ sites.

The blue wave will only happen if we make it happen. If you can find time, spoons, and emotional energy to volunteer, please consider doing so. (And if you get six calls from volunteers at two different organizations and four different campaigns, please consider not biting off the heads of caller #5 and #6 to be a contribution of emotional energy to a Democratic victory? I, too, wish there were better coordination! Ed and I have now been door-knocked twice. Once today, from Take Action MN, an hour after I got home from phone banking at Take Action MN! I told the canvasser as much and he laughed ruefully and said, “well, I guess … I don’t really need to worry about who you’re voting for and whether you’re committed to voting?”)

(If you hate the idea of calling people but desperately want to be useful, you could also look to see where the GOTV locations are and bring them all snacks. There’s also text banking, I’m pretty sure there are data entry volunteers at Take Action, there was someone who was checking everyone else in, there are volunteers who just call people who’ve committed to do a volunteer shift to remind them to come… there are a lot of options, some of which do not require talking to anyone.)

Election 2018: Hennepin County Commissioner, District 2

(By request.)

The incumbent commissioner, Linda Higgins, is not running for re-election. District 2 includes North and Northeast Minneapolis but also Golden Valley, Medicine Lake, Plymouth, and St. Anthony. (You can find a map of all the districts here.)

On the ballot:

Blong Yang
Irene Fernando (DFL-endorsed)

Continue reading

Election 2018: Hennepin County Sheriff

I wrote about this race in the primary, but I emphasized what an absolute asshole Rich Stanek is, so I wanted to briefly revisit this race and talk a little about what makes Dave Hutch so cool.

Rich Stanek (who’s an asshole) is a Trump supporter and an ICE lackey. Dave Hutch wants to make sure that anyone, regardless of where they were born, can come to law enforcement if they’re a victim of or witness to a crime, and if they’re suspected of a crime, he wants them treated like anyone else.

(Here’s a really excellent article that talks in more detail about the Sheriff’s role in immigration policy enforcement, and how Dave Hutch will be different from Rich Stanek.)

Hutch wants to require training on mental health crises and de-escalation. He wants transparency in government (Stanek is openly contemptuous of FOIA requests.) He would be the first openly gay Sheriff in Minnesota. He has decades of experience in law enforcement and is also the son of a police officer, so if you’re looking at all this thinking “yes, but can he do the actual job here,” the answer is definitely.

If you live in Hennepin County, please vote for Dave Hutch and talk to your friends about this race. Hennepin is an overwhelmingly DFL county, but a lot of people don’t know a ton about the Sheriff’s office or Rich Stanek. Make sure they know why they should vote for Dave Hutch!

EDITED 10/20 TO ADD: a Facebook Live video of a Stanek fundraiser (which he’s at). He poses with “MAGA-Woman,” there are two people cosplaying Trump, it’s really … something.

Election 2018: School Funding

Both Minneapolis and Saint Paul are running a school funding levy referendum this year.

In Minneapolis, there are two questions:

Approval of School District Referendum Revenue Authorization

The Board of Special School District No. 1 (Minneapolis Public Schools) has proposed to increase its general education revenue by $490.00 per pupil. The proposed referendum revenue authorization would increase each year by the rate of inflation and be applicable for seven years beginning with taxes payable in 2019, unless otherwise revoked or reduced as provided by law.

Shall the increase in the revenue proposed by the board of Special School District No. 1 be approved?

AND:

Approval of School District Capital Project Levy Authorization

The Board of Special School District No. 1 (Minneapolis Public Schools) has proposed a capital project levy authorization in the amount of 2.249% times the net tax capacity of the school district to provide funds for the purchase, installation, and maintenance of software applications and technology equipment, and for training and directly related personnel costs. The proposed capital project levy authorization will raise approximately $12,000,000 for taxes payable in 2019, the first year it is to be levied, and would be authorized for seven years. The estimated total cost of the projects to be funded over that time period is approximately $84,000,000.

Shall the increase in the revenue proposed by the board of Special School District No. 1 be approved?

In St. Paul, there is one question:

Revoking Existing Operating Referendum Revenue Authorization; Approving New Authorization

The school board of Independent School District No. 625, Saint Paul Public Schools, has proposed to revoke the school district’s existing operating referendum revenue authorization of $704.52 per pupil and to replace that authorization with a new authorization of $1179.52 per pupil. The proposed referendum revenue authorization would increase each year by the rate of inflation and be applicable for ten years, beginning with taxes payable in 2019, unless otherwise revoked or reduced as provided by law.

Shall the school district’s existing operating referendum revenue authorization be revoked and the increase in revenue proposed by the school board of Independent School District No. 625, Saint Paul Public Schools, be approved?

Saint Paul has a Vote Yes site.

Minneapolis has a Vote Yes Twice site.

There does not appear to be any organized opposition to either initiative.

Continue reading

Election 2018: Minnesota Secretary of State

JESUS H. CHRIST, PEOPLE, WHY WOULD ANY OF YOU TRUST A REPUBLICAN FOR EVEN FIVE GODDAMN MINUTES WITH A BALLOT?

(This whole thing was written in all-caps but it started to get kind of long and difficult to read. But please imagine me shouting this whole post.)

The entire Republican party, nationwide, has made it absolutely goddamn motherfucking clear that they will deny the vote to any person they judge likely to be a Democrat if they can come up with even the barest pretext that allows them to do it. They will purge voter registrations based on race and zip code. They will require people to get a government-issued photo ID, and then close down every office that would supply those IDs if they’re reachable by people in poor city neighborhoods or mostly-black small towns. They will, in a state where the local reservations have never gotten around to assigning street addresses, announce with less than a month before the election that you’ll need a street address to vote. They will reject online voter registrations. And while insisting that this is all to ensure the integrity of our elections (WHICH IS A LIE) they will refuse to fix systems that can literally be hacked.

Republicans are the minority in this country. Even with our fucked-up system that lets Presidents win when they lost the popular vote, that lets Senators who represent 44% of the US population approve a Supreme Court Justice for life, even with the structural unfairness that gives Republicans a disproportionate voice in running this country, they know, they know that they cannot win if they do not cheat.

Steve Simon is a perfectly fine Secretary of State and to my knowledge, he’s an upstanding citizen of excellent character. Right now, though? Right now, I would vote for him if he were a literal yellow dog.

We have a Republican guy named John Howe running who wants you to believe that the real problem here is “voter fraud” (IT IS NOT) and a guy named William Denney who’s apparently the last Jessecrat standing who wants you to believe that it would be better to have someone from a third party running elections (it’s possible he has a point but it doesn’t matter; he’s not going to win).

Vote for Steve Simon.