Elections: There will undoubtedly be legislation introduced in 2021 to both create and reduce barriers to voting. MCN supports a democracy in which every eligible adult can easily cast their ballot, and we work to remove barriers to voting.
- Voter Photo ID is an issue that MCN continues to oppose. Currently, Minnesotans with current and active registration do not need to bring identification to vote on Election Day. Proposed Voter Photo ID legislation would require voters to present a photo ID at the polls to be able to vote. Current law is the most inclusive for all of the communities in Minnesota. Communities such as the elderly, people with disabilities, veterans, students, highly mobile populations, and others, face barriers to obtaining a current photo ID. Passing Voter Photo ID would exclude many communities from civic duty participation. We believe that Minnesota’s nation leading voter turnout supports our robust civic sector, and should be celebrated and expanded rather than restricted.
- Voter privacy in Presidential primaries. MCN led the charge on this issue in 2020, and was steps away from the finish line when COVID hit. We will hold off on bringing the issue up this year, as it is a budget year and we have three years until the next Presidential primary. In a nutshell, when Minnesota moved to having a Presidential Primary, the enacting legislation also allowed each of the major parties in Minnesota access to the lists of which partisan primary each voter chose to participate in. There are no limits as to what the parties could do with such information, and MCN is concerned for nonprofit staff whose partisan leanings could be made public. The legislation we worked on would simply put commonsense boundaries into place around what parties could do with the information.
Redistricting: In 2021 and 2022, Minnesota and municipalities are required by the U.S. Constitution to redraw their districts based on the results of the census to achieve “one person one vote.”
Because redistricting has a significant impact on politics and the political futures of candidates and parties, MCN has an important role to play as part of a nonprofit, civic coalition that is working for transparency and a solution that serves all people, not partisan preferences. This work fits well with MCN’s other democracy work, such as promoting engagement in the census and elections.
For the last four redistricting events, the Legislature has not been able to agree on fair maps, and the job has gone to the courts. MCN supports a parallel commission and community of interest (COI) mapping to ensure fairness and equal representation for all residents.
MCN is an active member of the Our Maps MN coalition and MCN’s role will be reaching out to nonprofits across Minnesota to share important redistricting information with them. Working on redistricting and involving our members in understanding what is at stake and how they can help to make the process open and provides equal representation has important implications for how well people will be represented. Along with other nonprofits, MCN will focus on:
- Engaging historically under-represented BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) communities and other stakeholders
- Promoting reforms to the redistricting process that increase community ownership over the process
- Achieving fair Congressional and state legislative district maps that reflect input from communities of interest, particularly Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities
In addition, the characteristics of an equitable and comprehensive plan should include the following, in no particular order: equal population, contiguity, compactness, political and geographic boundaries, communities of interest, and competitiveness.