Monday, November 05, 2012

Lauren's Super-Special St. Paul Voting Guide

Guys, it's been a long time since I last told you how to vote. But since this is kind of an important election and I am pumped to be back in Minnesota in a Democratic-heavy area, I'm a-gonna make sure you know how you should vote. If you live in my area. But SRSLY, there is an Obama campaign office a couple blocks down the street, and I have been GOTV canvassed multiple times by nice middle-aged white ladies. I feel good about making their jobs a bit easier by answering the door and agreeing with them and taking their election reminder materials. But anyway, here's my very own voter guide for all my neighbors, starting with the most important and exciting races:

Judicial Branch
The Minnesota Second Judicial District Court (Ramsey County). There are a total of 29 judges in our district, and eleven seats are up for election this year. Each of these eleven judges is running unopposed. Unless you have some personal beef against one of them or a hilarious write-in candidate, you should probably just vote for them all.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals. Judges Jill Flaskamp Halbrooks and Renee L. Worke are running for reelection. Both are unopposed. This should not be a difficult decision.

The Minnesota Supreme Court. Chief Justice Lorie "Super-Scandinavian Maiden Name" Gildea is running for reelection. She seems like a good choice to me since the guy she's running against, Dan Griffith, has lots of feelings about individual rights and says that "Ayn Rand was right" on the front page of his campaign website. So he is clearly a douche. Do not vote for him.

Associate Justice Barry Anderson is running for reelection. He seems largely inoffensive, plus he's a national judge for the We the People competition, which we totally had to do as part of our AP Government class in high school. His opponent is Dean Barkley, whose biggest claims to political fame appear to involve taking part in Jesse Ventura's gubernatorial administration and serving as a interim U.S. senator for several weeks following the death of Paul Wellstone in 2002.  Barkley may or may not be a drunk who enjoys hot tub snorkeling.

Associate Justice David Stras is also running for reelection. His opponent Tim "Fear God" Tingelstad is really committed to spreading the "Light of [God's] Truth" through judgments or something. If Justice Stras has strong feelings about Jesus, he has tactfully refrained from crowing about them on his campaign website, so he clearly wins my vote.

School District
School District Question #1 ("Strong Schools, Strong Communities Referendum"). Vote yes to renew the school levy. I don't really pay property taxes, so I don't care if they go up, but if I did, I would vote yes anyway. FOR THE CHILDREN.

Ramsey Conservation District
Three Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor positions are up for election this year. Each seat is voted on at-large in Ramsey County, but the candidates must live within the district they are running to supervise. I'm going to vote for all the incumbents running: Gwen Willems (District 2), Mara Humphrey (District 3, unopposed), and Margaret Behrens (District 5).

State Constitutional Amendments
Now we're getting to the good stuff (sorry, MN Supreme Court).

Proposed Amendment 1 would super-double-emphasize that only one dude and one lady are allowed to marry each other in Minnesota (it's already the law). Vote NO, duh. The amendment is homophobic. The Sexy Gay Jesus will quit speaking to you if you support this amendment.

Proposed Amendment 2 would require state-issued photo identification to vote in Minnesota. Minnesota is currently one of the easiest states to vote in, same-day registration is allowed if somebody already registered in your district vouches for you (especially important for college students, who have out-of-state permanent addresses, and/or people who have recently relocated), and is the national leader in voter turnout. Voter ID laws disproportionately affect youth, the elderly, the poor, and people of color. Don't let anyone tell you that this is about preventing "voter fraud," which is basically nonexistent in the U.S. Requiring the acquisition of photo ID to vote constitutes a poll tax; this is illegal and unconstitutional. Vote NO. Obvs. Otherwise the Democracy Fairy will cry.

State Legislature
State Representative Rena Moran for District 65A is running for reelection as the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) candidate. DFL State Senator Sandy Pappas is also running for reelection in Senate District 65. Vote for both of them.

Federal Office
Badass U.S. Representative Betty McCollum (DFL) is running for reelection in Congressional District 4. There is something wrong with you if you do not vote for her. Also, you hate women. The also awesome U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL) is running for reelection. If you don't vote for her, you probably have no heart. So many fabulous Minnesotan lady candidates! Do not pay attention to this one.

While we'd all love to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, since we actually agree with her, we have a two-party winner-takes-all system.* Because I fear an Oven Mitt Romney presidency far more than I fear living with Barack Obama's moderate views, I will vote to reelect the President.** Also, he is great with kids. Just think what he could do with a Democratic Congress!

Consult your local League of Women Voters website. Go the fuck to the polls tomorrow, if you haven't voted already. And especially if you live in Ohio.


P.S. Ann Friedman has gotten together some silly gifs to remind you of the best parts of this election season.

*Go watch this video about how a two-party system is an inevitable result of our political structure.
**You're welcome for that $25 dollars I have donated to you over the course of the campaign. That's only like a 99.98% failure rate for your fundraising emails. 

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