Great public schools begin at the ballot box

Elections for state and federal offices take place every even numbered year. The election season is a critical time for elected officials and candidates to travel throughout their districts to listen to the concerns and priorities of their constituents.

This is one of the few occasions when citizens
are able to solicit solid commitments from candidates
and incumbents if they are elected into office.

If public education is going to be an important issue on state agendas, there must be a strong base of people willing to learn about candidates, share information, and, most importantly:

VOTE on Election Day
All 201 Minnesota legislators are up for election on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
Legislative retirements: The List
(Minnesota Public Radio, April 14, 2012) 

Candidates for Constitutional Office
Registered with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board

Candidate Filings
Find candidate filings for upcoming elections
Minnesota Secretary of State

Political lean of new legislative districts
MinnPost analyzed the political leaning of each district based on the three most recent House elections.

There are four important dates in an election year:

  • Precinct Caucuses—February 7, 2012
    Community members come together at precinct caucuses to build an agenda of the issues and to support candidates to run for elected office.
  • State Conventions—May & June
    May 4-5 – MN GOP State Convention
    June 2-3 – MN DFL State Convention
  • Primary Elections—August 14, 2012
    Primary elections narrow the field of candidates to one per political party for the November general election.
  • Voter Registration Deadline—October
    You need to register to vote if you’ve never voted before, if you’ve moved since the last election, or if you haven’t voted in 4 years.  The deadline for pre-registration is twenty days before Election Day.  NOTE:  Minnesota allows citizens to register at the polls.  The Secretary of State provides Voter Registration information in multiple languages.
  • General Elections—November 6, 2012
    The general election is when voters choose who will represent them at the federal, state and local levels.  It’s held every two years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
If great public schools begin at the ballot box
…what happens when barriers are erected to block access to the polls for voters of color?Defending Democracy: Confronting Modern Barriers to Voting Rights in America – The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and the NAACP have been tracking the rising tide of legislative measures designed to block access to the polls for voters of color. What our research has uncovered is a cause for grave concern: a coordinated and comprehensive assault has been launched against our voting rights, December 2011.

The heart of the modern block the vote campaign is a wave of restrictive government-issued photo identification requirements. In a coordinated effort, legislators in thirty-four states introduced bills imposing such requirements. Many of these bills were modeled on legislation drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—a conservative advocacy group whose founder explained: “our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

…Photo ID laws were also passed in Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, and North Carolina, but were ultimately vetoed by each state’s governor. A number of other states have photo ID bills that are still pending (e.g., Ohio, Pennsylvania), while voters are initiating voter ID requirements through ballot measures in Massachusetts.

These efforts are highly coordinated. Many of these proposals take their inspiration from model voter photo ID legislation developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an advocacy group that brings together state legislators and private interests,and enables “a consistent pipeline of special interest legislation [to be] funneled into state capitols.”

Learn more about ALEC’s Education Agenda in Minnesota.

Additional Resources

The Election 2012 AppThe Election 2012 App
A one-stop destination for the latest political news — from The New York Times and other top sources.

More information on the rules guiding the election and advocacy activities of 501(c)3 organizations, Parents United.

Vote (2010)Download and print to take to your next parent group meeting, Parents United  (MS Word).

Voting and Election Information – Provided by the League of Women Voters.

House Election Statistics – Minnesota House of Representatives.