(NOTE: THIS SITE WAS CONSTRUCTED IN 2005 AND 2006.*)

BK for SOS News

Elect Me, Then Abolish Me

We don't need a Secretary of State

My Testimony to House Committee

Municipalities should have the right to choose ranked voting

Partisan Crossfire Over ID at the Polling Place

Ways to alleviate fear of fraud without suppressing the vote

 

San Francisco Saves $1 Million Using Ranked Choice Voting

A success for the second year. Read more

MCCL Not Fair To Minnesotans

Pro Lifers, Please Read This!

Burlington, Vermont--a Successful Instant Runoff Mayoral Election

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A WAY TO IMPROVE MINNESOTA

The most powerful thing you can do to improve politics in Minnesota is to support ranked voting. Find out how ranked voting can reduce polarization, increase participation, encourage more choices, and turn the focus from divisive issues to real solutions. Votersí Rights.


GOODBYE MONEY!

HAVA--The Feds giveth and the Feds taketh away. (Voting equipment, today and tomorrow)


Ireland has the Best Electoral System in the World

Why don't we?


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TAKE THE VOTER'S PLEDGE

Reduce the power of money in politics with an oath of good citizenship.


Campaign Videos

If you are interested in downloading all videos on the site at once as Windows Media, or listening to the audio as an mp3 podcast, click here for podcast and one-long-video options.
If you have a DSL or cable connection, each Windows Media video should download between 10 seconds and a minute.

video still imgAbout Me

Choose a format:
Windows Media (.wmv)
Flash Video (faster, smaller) Wmv dial-up (faster download but poor quality*)

*Use the Wmv dial-up only (1) if you have a dial-up connection, (2) if you are too impatient to wait the ten minutes or so to download video, and (3) if Flash Video doesn't work well with your connection. The Wmv dial-up version blurs any words on the screen and also blurs my face (although that might be a good thing).

COMPARE MY ANSWERS TO THE OTHER CANDIDATES

KSTP and the League of Women Voters televised a debate of the major party candidates for Secretary of State on Saturday, October 21, 2006. I was not invited.

The League of Women Voters requires that candidates be in a major party to qualify for their debates. There is an exception if an independent candidate registers 5% or more in an independent poll. But in this race, there has been no independent poll. That made it impossible for me to qualify, basically punishing me for standing up for the principle that the person in charge of elections should not be tied to a political party.

I decided to create my own responses to the debate questions. I couldn't follow the format exactly, because of the rebuttals allowed, the questions between candidates, etc. So I quickly taped my answers to many of the same questions and have posted them here. I don't follow the timelines of the debates, but my total time talking here is less than the others.

I don't look too good with the camcorder color--then again I never look too good. But the other candidates were in a professional studio, and they don't look too good either. So try not to focus on how we look or how perfectly we speak, and focus more on the content and knowledge revealed in our answers.

IF YOU ARE PRESSED FOR TIME, I RECOMMEND YOU SKIP DOWN TO "VOTING EQUIPMENT."

KSTP SOS debate Oct. 21--removed by KSTP

My responses, as Windows Media files (.wmv):

Opening Statement

Turnout and Same Day Registration (Kiffmeyer denied ever opposing Same Day and accused Mark Ritchie of bogus claims--I respond to that.)

Photo IDs

Voting by illegals

Should this office be nonpartisan? (I respond to the other candidates' claims of nonpartisanship.)

Exit polls and media access (I respond to Mary Kiffmeyer's claims that she should get credit for better technology and web services in the SOS office.)

***Voting equipment***

State Board of Investment (Mary Kiffmeyer dodged the question about United Health Care. I follow up. Later, at a Duluth debate, she said she didn't vote to remove the board because they should be "innocent until proven guilty." I don't think you have to prove guilt to remove a board, and neither did her fellow Republican Pat Anderson.)

Reducing fees in SOS office

Download one long video of all my responses

Listen to just the audio from my responses

DID ritchie, spoonheim, kiffmeyer FAIL TO LIVE UP TO THEIR OWN RHETORIC?

Voters hoping that our major party candidates for Secretary of State would exhibit higher ethical standards were disappointed when the three contenders carried on a televised debate without ever mentioning that there was a fourth candidate in the race, namely me.

Here's the interesting ethical question. What responsibility does a candidate have to reveal to the voters the existence of another candidate for office? And is that responsibility greater when the office includes administration of fair and neutral elections? And when the candidates routinely say they will be champions of democracy, that the SOS office is the place where democracy begins, that they love democracy, that the paramount value is to do what's right, that integrity counts, blah, blah, blah?

The League of Women Voters requires that candidates be in a major party to qualify for their debates. There is an exception if an independent candidate registers 5% or more in an independent poll. But in this race, there has been no independent poll. That made it impossible for me to qualify, basically punishing me for standing up for the principle that the person in charge of elections should not be tied to a political party.

The League could have mitigated their rule by having the moderators of the debate advise the viewing public that I am also a candidate, that I wanted to appear, that the League rules prohibited that, and that my exclusion should not be interpreted as an indication that the League does not respect my candidacy. But the League refused to add such a disclaimer, apparently to avoid embarrassment.

The other candidates did ask the League to allow me in the debate. Ritchie and Spoonheim also recommended that the disclaimer be read. The League refused. At that point, had the candidates met their ethical responsibilities?

Keep in mind that at any time during their presentations, any one of them could have taken ten seconds and said, by the way, there is another candidate in this race who wanted to appear. Instead, they carried on as if I didn't exist. I appeared in six debates with these people. They were well aware that I was a competent candidate whose contributions were concise and on point, even if they disagreed. In other words, they knew I wasn't a blowhard with an irrelevant agenda.

The right to vote is of course valuable. But the right to information about voting is also valuable. Voters have an expectation that organizations like the League of Women Voters will not screen out candidates that are worthy and insightful. When they accidentally do, the voters lose. The process suffers. As defenders of the integrity of the voting process, the candidates should have been incensed and should have made a stand or a statement. Being a champion of democracy doesn't only apply when it's easy, convenient, or to your advantage.

Here's the question, which is unfortunately, but necessarily compound: Are there voters who watched the League debate believing they were doing their civic duty of voter education, who made their decision, and then upon confronting a surprise fourth name in the polling place felt betrayed? Or simply concluded that the fourth candidate was excluded from the debate because he was unqualified? I believe there were some such voters. The candidates let them down.

I don't think the candidates committed an ethical violation by acquiescing. But they certainly didn't demonstrate a higher standard either.

Am I full of it? Am I just being a whiner? Should debates be limited to major party candidates? Should they be limited to "viable" candidates? Or "qualified" candidates? How do you make these determinations? Let me know how you feel.

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