Election Connection Newsletter Winter/Spring 2019

Election Connect

Winter/Spring 2019

One year from today: the 2020 presidential primary

On March 3, 2020, Minnesota will hold its first presidential primary in nearly 30 years!

The state has held a presidential primary only five times, the most recent in 1992. The election replaces the presidential straw poll that was taken during precinct caucuses; caucuses will still be held, just without a straw poll.

Read an FAQ about the presidential primary from the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.

The legislature approved the switch to a primary in 2016. However, there is conversation at the state capitol about exactly how the election should be conducted and to what extent a voter's party choice will be public information.

Judge Spotlight: the Werger family

Elise Werger and daughters

Minneapolis election judges are a passionate and interesting bunch. We want to highlight some individuals from time to time and share their stories.

Elise Werger and her daughters Evie, Mia and Nina all serve as election judges in Minneapolis! We spoke to Elise recently to hear more about her civically engaged family. Here's what she had to say:

"I first served as an EJ back in 2010 when my kids were quite little. I saw a “Sign Up to be An Election Judge” flyer at my polling place and thought it would be a great opportunity for me to earn a bit of cash. I tried it and I loved the detail and accuracy of the election process as well as working with people from a variety of backgrounds. It took a few years to feel that I had a handle on the “big picture,” but when my HEJ retired I was ready and excited to take the next step and assume that role myself.

My daughters were always interested in what happened when I was away at the polls and would ask all kinds of questions after an Election Day. Since I home-schooled all three of them, we studied American Government & Civics together. Naturally, as each one turned 16, I suggested that they get their boots on the ground and serve as an SEJ. They also seem to enjoy this work, and between the three of them they have now served as AHEJ, HEJ, and PRS. We always look forward to comparing stories on Election Night. 

(Election Geek Alert: We’ve also been known to quiz each other on the days leading up to an election by flipping through the EJ Manual and trying to trick each other with rogue registration questions.) 

Although it can be tricky to coordinate transportation in order to get everyone to a different polling place by 6:00 am, being Election Judges has been a great experience of service that we’ve shared together.  

When not serving as guardians of democracy, our family (including my non-EJ husband Paul) can be found fostering and rehabilitating down-and-out doggies through Pet Haven of Minnesota."

Election legislation update

Here are some election policies state legislators are currently debating. You can view all election bills introduced so far in the House and Senate. Among those bills, the following have cleared at minimum one committee or sub-committee:

  • HAVA funding
    In 2017, the federal government distributed funding for states to increase their elections cybersecurity programs. This bill would make those funds available for implementation by the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office.

  • Number of voters an individual may assist in marking a ballot
    This policy would remove the limit on how many voters an assistant can help with marking a ballot. 

  • Felony rights restoration
    This policy would allow those serving probation or parole for a felony conviction to vote, unless they are currently incarcerated.

  • Automatic voter registration
    Currently, voters have to opt-in to register to vote when receiving a state driver’s license or ID. Automatic registration would proactively register all eligible voters in the state driver’s license and ID database.

  • Free public transportation on Election Day
    This bill would provide funding for free public transportation on Election Day. 

We are watching the debate closely, and will let you know where things land with a newsletter later this year.

Report on 2018 Gubernatorial Election

Elections and Voter Services will present the Elections & Rules Committee of the Minneapolis City Council with a report on the 2018 Gubernatorial Election at 10 AM on Wednesday, March 27, in City Hall Room 317. 

The report will provide a detailed recap and analysis of last year's election, and includes recommendations for administering elections in future years. 

Members of the public are invited to attend the presentation in person, or watch it live on Minneapolis City Council TV. The report itself will be posted to LIMS in advance of the meeting. 

For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats please contact (add your information here including: department, contact person, phone and email). 

People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000. TTY users can call 612-673-2157 or 612-673-2626.


Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-673-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.