MN Fringe Festival – Brave New Workshop Student Union – Thursday Aug 9 – 10 PM
Guest: Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Secretary of State
Purchase your tickets via our Fringe Festival webpage. Don’t wait; once they’re sold out, they’re sold out!
On election night 2004, newsman Sam Donaldson watched vote returns come in from across the country and made special note of Minnesota. He knighted us the “civic” state for having a near record-setting voter turnout. That year, Minnesota had more citizens vote per capita than any state since 1960. Just two years earlier, Minnesota had the highest voter turnout in any non-presidential year ever. Suffice to say, the Donaldson’s title for the state was well deserved.
Minnesota’s Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie is a ferocious champion of voter enfranchisement; just try and find anyone in elective office more dedicated to proving the importance and safety of voting. And his job hasn’t been easy these past five years. Two statewide recounts (including one decided by just a few hundred votes) have put Minnesota’s election process through the gauntlet.
This year, Minnesotans will vote on an amendment to the state constitution that would make anyone without a state-issued identification card with a current address and photo on election day complete a provisional ballot. This special ballot would not be counted until the voter had produced the appropriate paperwork to election officials.
Proponents claim this will prevent voter fraud and keep those without the right to vote away from the polls. Detractors contend that documented cases of voter fraud are almost non-existent and that the proposed changes will do more harm than good by keeping eligible voters like students and the elderly away from the polls.
Thursday, August 9 we will talk with Secretary Ritchie about Minnesota’s history and future as an elections leader. Why do Minnesotans vote in such great numbers? Why have recent statewide elections been so close? And how might changes to the way Minnesotans vote affect our system for better or for worse?
Purchase your tickets via our Fringe Festival webpage.