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Who Votes, Who Doesn’t and Why?

Who Votes, Who Doesn’t and Why?

ARTICLE #5 IN A SERIES OF ARTICLES ABOUT THE 2022 MIDTERM ELECTIONS, BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS MINNEAPOLIS. Recent Supreme Court rulings have exposed the reality that government representatives often don’t act in accordance with the will of the people. Polls indicate, for example, that Americans support access to abortion, yet the highest court in the land rescinded that right. So why the disconnect? It’s about voting – who votes, who doesn’t and why. Among the pool of all eligible voters in the U.S., approximately 1 out of 3 did NOT vote in the 2020 Presidential election. The top reasons that these 77 million Americans did not vote were 1) lack of interest in politics 2) they didn’t like the candidates and 3) they didn’t think their votes would matter. Those least likely to vote were under 34, Hispanic, less educated, unmarried and with lower incomes. Difficulty of voting was not identified as a major reason for not voting, but we know there are subgroups, such as those living with a disability or with logistical barriers (childcare, transportation) for whom voting can be challenging if not impossible. Then there are the disenfranchised. Minnesota is one of twenty states in which anyone convicted of a felony is prohibited from voting until they have been discharged from their entire sentence, including any term of probation or supervised release which may include monetary restitution. As a result, 57,000 individuals (1.5% of Minnesota’s voting population) are denied the right to vote. At the federal level, the most significant reason for the mismatch between Americans’ values and those of our elected officials is unequal representation in the Senate that gives smaller and less populous states more political clout. Because there are 2 senators elected per state, the 40 million people who live in the 22 smallest states get 44 senators to represent their interests, while the 40 million people in California get just two. [...]

Vote!

Vote!

Help for Voters Living with Disabilities

Help for Voters Living with Disabilities

The fifth in a series of articles about the 2021 Municipal Elections brought to you by the League of Women Voters Minneapolis. journalistresources.com The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), landmark legislation that prohibits discrimination against individuals living with disabilities, has put the force of law behind mandates for equal access in all areas of civic life, including access for voting. Voting accessibility is essential to ensure that all people have the right and ability to vote, regardless of their mobility or their physical, communication or other limitations. Minnesota has made strides in improving access to voting for all. In addition to the requirement that polling places be physically accessible, here are a few accommodations that may provide individuals living with disabilities better access to the ballot box: ASSISTANCE: You can bring anyone to assist you while you vote, except your employer or union rep, or you can get assistance from election judges. Your assistant can participate in all parts of the voting process, including marking your ballot if you can communicate to them who you want to vote for.ACCESSIBLE VOTING MACHINES: All polling places have a machine that can mark a ballot for you, giving you privacy if you cannot or choose not to vote using a pen. Voting machines display the ballot in large print or with a high-contrast background and can also read the ballot to you through headphones. You can fill out your ballot using a Braille keypad, touchscreen or sip-and-puff device. After you make your choices, the machine prints your completed ballot.CURBSIDE VOTING: If you cannot leave your vehicle, you can ask to have a ballot brought out to you. Two election judges from different major political parties will bring the ballot to your vehicle, wait for you to vote, then take the ballot back inside and place it in the ballot box.AGENT: In some situations, an agent may pick up and return an absentee ballot from your home. To [...]

Vote, Then Take a Hike!

Vote, Then Take a Hike!

Vote, Then Take a Hike Part 3 in a series of articles about the 2021 municipal elections, brought to you by the League of Women Voters of Minneapolis When did you last enjoy a park? Did you have a picnic? Did you watch a little league game or take a knitting class? Minneapolis parks offer any activities a creative mind can imagine. The many facets of the park system are overseen by nine commissioners elected by YOU. One position for each of six park districts and three at-large positions are up for election this fall.  Meeting monthly, these commissioners are responsible for maintaining park properties, developing new sites to equitably serve residents”™ needs, and proposing policies that govern the use and safety of the 180 park properties, 55 miles of parkways, 12 formal gardens, seven golf courses, and 49 recreation centers in our city. They also appoint the superintendent who implements the board policies, overseeing the budget and staff of more than 600 employees.  Perhaps you”™ll want to know about the improvements planned for your neighborhood park, or maybe you want to learn about plans for the Upper Harbor Terminal on the Mississippi, or how the golf courses are operated. Information is available at Minneapolisparks.org. There you can learn about your park commissioners who are hoping to have your vote. Make your voice heard by contacting them and making your plan to vote in November. ANOTHER CHOICE YOU HAVE This fall you will also be able to vote for two members of the Board of Estimate and Taxation. Board members set maximum tax levies for a variety of city and park and recreation funds. The board also reviews some department budgets and participates in the city”™s debt management policy, concerned with interest rates and prudent debt levels. As a citizen, you vote for your representatives on this important oversight board. Your attention and your vote matter. .

Why Should You Care About City Elections?

Why Should You Care About City Elections?

Part 2 in a series of articles about the 2021 Municipal Elections brought to you by the League of Women Voters Minneapolis If you drive a car, walk, bicycle, live in a house or apartment, breathe the air, have a pet, discard trash, flush the toilet, or eat or drink in a restaurant, then, as a resident of Minneapolis, you have a vested interest in who runs our city. If your concern is safety, policing, and civil rights, your interests are even more relevant this year. City council members ”“ one elected from each of Minneapolis”™ 13 wards - make the laws and policies that govern the city. They approve budgets, levy taxes and elect a council president who sets the council”™s agenda and presides over meetings. Council members serve on committees that focus on specific issues like housing & zoning, public health & safety, public works and budgeting. The city council writes the rules that govern nearly every aspect of the city that impacts our daily lives. Read more about City Council Powers and Duties here:  https://www.minneapolismn.gov/government/city-council/about-city-council/powers-and-duties/ Reminder: every city council seat and the mayor will be on the ballot on November 2! The mayor is the only city official elected at-large; that is, by the entire city voting population. Think of the mayor as the city”™s chief executive, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city and cheerleader-in-chief. The mayor is the most recognizable city official and acts as the city”™s figurehead and spokesperson. That enables the mayor to set the city”™s agenda and wield the bully pulpit. Where city council members typically represent their individual communities, mayors have a broader city-wide perspective. In Minneapolis”™ “weak mayor” system, the mayor appoints commissioners and directors of the various city departments and oversees their work. The city [...]

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