On a scale of (0) strong disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong
agreement, please indicate your feelings about the following proposed
1._6.2 average___ Shift the day and time
for precinct caucuses from a Tuesday evening to a weekend day.
2._5.2 average___ Require that
resolutions presented to precinct caucuses be published in
advance, along with pros and cons.
3._7.3 average___ Conduct a presidential
preference primary in Minnesota at some time other
than the precinct caucuses.
4._5.6 average ___ Conduct a presidential
preference primary in Minnesota online or by mail.
5._6.3 average ___Advance the date of the
state primary election to a time earlier than
6._6.8 average ___Provide for multiple
party endorsements for the same office in state primary
Marina Lyon (5) (8) (9) (7) (8) (7)
David Broden (3) (8) (0) (0) (0) (3)
Question 1: Weekend has the potential for far too many conflicts
beyond that of a weekday evening. The potential religious conflict
must be a very high consideration. The Caucus process and how the
cacucus is operated and people participate should be more important as
we look to make it better. Use of the internet to do some pre-caucus
"homework" or build awareness beyond just the key candidates and races
could be a very interesting tool.
Question 2: This is an interesting topic-again that plays into use of
the internet. Some of the key top issues could be addressed by
internet website etc.--discussion and related amendment could be
addressed--new resolutions introduced--and then full debate at the
caucus. Working on this as a pilot project in a few precincts around
the state would be a first step--a good idea if both (maybe 3) parties
all join in --could be good civic caucus project in the future.
Question 3: I urge that the focus be on keeping the attention on the
political process and the more the process and steps are divided the
less attention the public will pay. Perhaps a primary on Caucus day
and move the caucus date. Do not separate the dates.
Question 4: The process of voting is part of the democracy--we might
look at some form of online --if and only if one man on vote can be
assured --computer security will have a tough but not impossible time
with this one.
Question 5: I have never been able to sort out the benefits of this
one. Moving the date earlier extents the heavy campaign period-will
significantly further increase cost--a voter interest will become worn
out. Also moving earlier will conflict with summer plans as has been
discussed and it will only force the candidates to begin earlier again
increasing cost and just too much for the public. Candidates can do
what they want at any time so we gain nothing by moving this date--it
seems about right. Let's focus on making what is done work better.
Question 6: If the intent here is to go into the primary with multiple
endorsements or the position and then the primary selects the general
election candidate this may have some merit. My concern is that this
may lead to the ranking and run off process of voting which I am very
strongly against. If multiple endorsements were used the criteria must
be clear, it must be stable (ie not changed each year to please the
candidates--as presidential primaries were this year), perhaps should
even be the same for all parties--this sounds like a nightmare problem
with few benefits. The pro's are that multiple endorsements could
"open and expand the interest and process" provided the process has a
way to keep flakes out of the races--even with this the ability of
"Joe Someone' to file and run as a particular party candidate remains
to there would have to be clear party endorsement notices on the
ballots to make it clear who is what etc.
Donald H. Anderson (5) (5) (10) (0) (7) (7)
I've never attended a precinct caucus because I feel that I am an
independent voter - thus I feel that I would rather have the
candidates state their positions on subjects of concern given the
amount of media attention accorded voters today. Since running for
office starts way before caucus time one can get a pretty could idea
of where a candidate stands of items of interest to me.
Paul Hauge (9) (2) (5) (9) (2) (8)
John Cairns (9) (5) (2) (6) (2) (8)
Wayne Jennings (10 (10) (8) (8) (10 (8)
Ann Berget (4) (7) (10) (4) (7) (3.5)
If more bipartisan tolerance and a more bipartisan approach is a
desired outcome (they are for me), then increasing the involvement of
the legislative caucus leadership in legislative campaigns, which are
essentially local campaigns, sounds like an awful idea to me.
Question 1: I am not especially keen on providing a more extended
venue for "extreme" participants, the ones who will out-sit and
out-wait any and all with more moderate views or other things to do
with their lives.
Question 2: It depends a lot on who authors the pro's and con's.
Question 4: Real life participation emphasizes the seriousness of this
opportunity and minimizes the potential to "game" the outcome
Question 5: Isn't the election season long enough as it is?
Question 6: I think the endorsement process is a significant part of
the problem as it is, influential decisions made by sometimes dodgy
processes by very small numbers of anonymous (to the public, anyhow)
Ray Schmitz (5) (7) (4) (8) (0) (5)
I also attended a caucus for the first time having to no longer keep
my non-partisan hat clean, I had visited them previously but never was
involved. The turnout amazed me, as well as the level of interest,
certainly many left after the pres vote, but not all, yes I walked for
several blocks in the snow, but so did others. The failure to
anticipate the turnout this season should not be a reason to change
I do agree that a virtual or other system could be a good solution,
dedicate time on the public channels, radio and tv, allow interactive
voting on the web or by phone. What do we have to lose in an
experiment. The states that have moved to longer voting periods and
voting by mail seem to be successful in increasing turnout.
Robert J. Brown (0) (0) (5) (2) (10) (10)
I enjoyed Dee's comments - probably because I agree with her on
several issues. My observations:
As long as we hold elections on Tuesdays I think it makes sense to
have caucuses on Tuesdays for consistency. I am afraid if we moved the
caucuses to a weekend day turnouts would even be lighter since people
would have to give up some recreational or home maintenance time for
politics and I think only the zealots would do that.
Requiring that resolutions be published in advance would take the
spontaneity out of these "town meetings" and would prevent newcomers
from fully participating if they can't introduce resolutions once they
If we are going to have a presidential primary I would hope it had
some meaning and not just be a popularity contest. I am not sure how
to make the situation better, but it is clear that what happened here
this year is that only the hard core stayed for the caucus after the
One other thing about caucuses - when I was in the legislature we
mandated that they all be on the same night (which would help with
nonpartisan efforts and media promotion to encourage participation.)
Also the law had required for years that they could not be adjourned
to another time or place to minimize or prevent skullduggery.
As long as we are going to have endorsements I believe strongly in
multiple endorsements at a relatively low level such as 20 per cent.
This would just mean putting the party's "good housekeeping" seal of
approval that these are not nut jobs and it means people who are in
the minority in a caucus or convention would still have a reason to
show up to support their choices. Now with zealots controlling most
caucuses in both parties it is extremely hard to get
middle-of-the-road folks to show up.
I favor open primaries and I also would like to see candidates be able
to cross file in more than one party primary or at least allow the
minor candidates to endorse another party's candidate and put that
name also on their line on the ballot. (Some of my more idealistic,
but least likely to happen thoughts.
I strongly support a return to a part time legislature. Our attempt at
“flexible session” was perverted into annual sessions so that those
legislators who could not make a living in the real world could earn a
good salary without a real job. Therefore much of the effort is
devoted to self preservation rather than public service.
Pam Ellison (10) (5) (10) (10) (0) (_)
Question 1: I actually support setting up egroups online for caucusing
as well. I think we need to make this process as accessible to
everyone possible. Sometimes being able to meet online is a better
approach because you have everyone's remarks and discussion points
being captured and they can serve as a more accurate record than even
minutes at a meeting.
Question 2: Although this seems like a great idea, and I DO support
the idea in part, I do not think that this should make it impossible
to have resolutions heard and voted on at the caucus event, in spite
of not being presented or published in advance. I think we still need
the freedom to offer a resolution even if not published in advance.
This has never been a requirement before, and I believe that although
there are certain resolutions that may be complicated and require a
lot of discussion and explanation, there are also resolutions that are
not so complicated, needed and should be presented in spite of not
publishing it ahead of time. If we are focusing on openness and
flexibility, then we should allow some leeway in the resolution
process as well. If you have a meeting online, you can have people
stay as long or as little as possible. Those that wish to leave, just
do so, and others can stay and meet longer if they wish to discuss
Question 5: I think this stymies the ability of lesser known
candidates to have the ability to be present at the State fair and
gain more visibility and more access to a diverse crowd from all over
the state. I also think it will just encourage candidates to start two
years out to campaign for an office, and this last presidential race
was a two year race. I think people are VERY WEARY of campaign ads and
politics being the main news that we receive for a full two years now.
This is absurd. If you make the Primary earlier, then you simple
lengthen the campaign by forcing candidates to get out there more than
a year prior. We would need to change the filing dates for office and
it would be too loOOOOoonng a season for the public to stay engaged.
Question 6: I actually do not believe in endorsements. As someone who
has run both as an endorsed candidate and an unendorsed candidate, the
endorsement serves less and less a purpose. I think there should be NO
ENDORSEMENTS from any party organization and that they only thing
serving as a candidate's endorsement is surviving the Primary. After
all the only endorsement a candidate should be seeking, is the
endorsement of the citizens that vote for them. Then the money issue
and the party list issue goes away and is provided for every candidate
and offers a more level playing field.
Bob Olson (_) (_) (_) (5) (8) (8)
I know a lot more than I did before reading Dee Long's comments and
the Growe Report about the "grass roots" selection process. Very
Tom Swain (2) (2) (9) (5) (8) (8)
John Nowicki (5) (5) (5) (0) (1) (5)
Bill Hamm (5) (0) (5) (9) (5) (8)
Question 1: I am not convinced of the need for change but then I am
rural not city.
Question 2: This makes it even more impossible for newcomers to
participate meaningfully or for the party to be changed from the
bottom up. It does make it even easier for Party leadership to control
and manipulate the process.
Question 3: Again at rural caucuses this has never been an issue as we
always had time to discuss resolutions, do a presidential preference
poll and still be done in less than an hour.
Question 4: (9) for by mail and (6) for by e-mail. Too many elderly in
rural Minnesota don't have access to e-mail.
Question 5 Haven't heard any convincing arguments in favor of a move
from this group, although a late June or early July primary would
allow for elimination of registration fees for losers of the primary.
It would also give more time for a candidacy after the primary instead
of the roughly five weeks we now enjoy in mail out ballot areas of the
Question 6: I could go higher in support depending on the wording, it
is a good idea in principle.
The most interesting statement by Mrs. Long was the one concerning
putting civics back in the class room and the resistance from teachers
and teachers unions. I too have been involved in three such attempts
over a 10 year period over in Itasca County involving several school
districts with the same antagonistic negative results. I am becoming
convinced the more people I talk to and hear from who have had this
same experience that we need legislation to force this back into our
schools and to force teachers to either teach it or move over and let
community leaders teach it. This is where the responsibility for
undermining political involvement lies and what we must correct to
One additional comment. The concept of allowing legislative caucuses
to choose my representative or senator rubs me completely the wrong
way and I want to state loudly and clearly that they should keep their
noses out of local politics and that needs to extend to our Federal
representatives and Senators as well.
Jim Keller (0) (0) (10 (0) (10) (0)
Get rid of the caucus system in its entirety.
Terry Stone (8) (8) (10) (9) (8) (10)
Question 1: Since Sundays would be controversial, this is a de facto
proposal for Saturday caucuses.
Question 2: An intricacy of this idea would be the unbiased writing of
the pros and cons. This would require uncommon writing skill, research
ability, objectivity and a depth of knowledge on a wide range of
topics. Five bullet points pro, and five bullet points con, would
imply that all bullet points are created equal, i.e., propaganda. The
skill set to write a fair and meaningful synopsis of a resolution is
unevenly available at the caucus level. With that caveat, I like the
Question 3: The potentially confusing caucus situation would benefit
greatly by identifying a single purpose for the event.
Question 6: By multiple party endorsements, I assume that the idea is
multiple candidate endorsements by a single party. The idea has
considerable merit. Instead of throwing away all but one candidate,
this idea allows political organization unit that are blessed with
motivated talent to send that talent ahead. By the District
Conventions, the Party should have a much better feel for how the
candidates campaign, build a team and attract support. The higher the
level of selection, the more informed the ultimate endorsement vote
Long justifies a strong legislative caucus role (meddling) in
legislative races because, “They have a better pulse on what is going
on.” She further posits that financial support of legislators by their
caucuses does not influence major legislative votes. I submit that:
§ This can only be understood as an elitist concept. Knowing what is
going on and acting in the best interest of the people are separate,
and not always congruent, entities. The deeply engaged are not a
privileged political class in our democracy.
§ Legislative caucuses are metro-centric and contaminate rural
elections with money and ideology that is not endemic to rural
§ Legislative caucuses perpetuate partisanship by selecting
like-minded candidates for cultivation and support.
§ We cannot decry the effects of special interest money on candidates,
then claim that the effects of political special interest money, i.e.,
legislative caucus money, are a non sequitur.
Keep up the good work. Your summaries are like a warm summer rain on
an intellectual reg.
Al Quie (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)
Chuck Slocum (8) (5) (10) (10) (10) (10)
Question 1: I have become less certain of the efficacy and relevancy
of precinct caucuses, although I still attend my own.
Question 2: A tall order for party volunteers to accomplish which may
unintentionally result in discouraging fresh, new ideas coming to the
With what looks to be a challenging 2009 budget debate in Minnesota,
former Speaker Long's views on tax, spending and fiscal policy, too,
would have been a valuable contribution for the Civic Caucus
readership. I agree with the thoughtful Ms. Long on a number of
additional election reform ideas she discussed, including timely
disclosure of campaign contributions and efforts to improve the civics
IQ of kids. I particularly appreciated the link to the 1995 Growe
Commission Report, of which I was a member.
Robert A. Freeman (2) (3) (5) (3) (8) (8)
Question 1: The level of interest at the DFL caucuses this year in
spite of the timing indicates the time is not the problem in
Question 2: This might be helpful but many resolutions are proposed by
first-time caucus goers and this would disadvantage them.
Question 4: I am very leery of conducting primaries/voting online as
it is fraught with potential for fraud in a way that paper balloting
(either by mail or in person) is not.
Question 5: This would bring more relevance to Minnesota, as usually
races are wrapped up by then.
Question 6: This is an interesting idea but I would like to see other
systems' experience with it if that data is available before
Jackie Underferth (10) (5) (5) (5) (10) (1)
Vici Oshio (1) (1) (3) (__) (10) (8)
I believe Legislature recently passed legislation allowing parties to
schedule precinct caucuses at time and place of their own choosing.
Let's leave it that way and see how well it works. Precinct caucus
experience varies widely from year to year and even more from place to
place. Before making recommendations on change, please get opinions
from cities, suburbs and rural areas and all parties. Publishing
resolutions in advance is a good idea and many were circulated
electronically in 2008 - but don't make it mandatory.
Move primary to June - not August.
Charles Lutz (9) (9) (9) (9) (9) (7)
The parties want to control everything and let third party and
independents out of the process.
Carolyn Ring (5) (0) (7) (_) (_) (_)
There is no doubt that precinct caucuses in recent years have been
controlled primarily by the far left and far right, with limited
Dan Loritz (7) (3) (7) (2) (7) (2)
Scott Halstead (10) (10) (10) (_) (_) (10)
Lyall Schwarzkopf (5) (8) (10) (2) (6) (6)
It is important to note that the political parties did not run or even
talk about a Presidential Preferential primary (an official state run
straw vote), but what they did talk about and had was those persons
attending the caucus could vote on who they would like to see as their
presidential candidate (a political party straw vote). Because most
people do not attend party caucuses or do not understand how their
party works, they came to the caucus with the intent to vote for their
candidate for president and they thought that it was more than a straw
vote, but would commit the party's national delegates to vote for
whoever won). It is a shame that so few people understand how their
party works and the difference between an official state run
Presidential Preferential Primary and a political party straw vote at
a party caucus. More work needs to be done in schools teaching people
how government, political parties and candidates operate.
Clarence Shallbetter (9) (9) (10) (10) (6) (9)
Larry Schluter (10) (5) (9) (7) (3) (7)