View this email in your browser
News Update / Actions to Take & Events to Attend/ What We're Reading 
Monday, January 16, 2023

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
No better way to honor the man who led the charge to pass the 1965 Voting Rights Act than to reflect on what we can do to defend and expand the right to vote and take  action. This year Minnesotans have the opportunity to honor his legacy by supporting the many pro-democracy and voting rights Minnesota bills that have been or will be introduced this session. In addition, there are many statewide MLK celebrations on Monday all day, into the evening and later this week. MPR developed a comprehensive list.

We’ve got a good start with two key bills passing out of the House Elections Committee. Clean Elections Board Member Dane Smith testified in support of both bills. The Restore the Vote Act, passed with all Democratic committee members and one Republican, Matt Bliss, voting in favor. It was referred to the House Public Safety Committee. If passed it will enfranchise 50,000 Minnesotans who have served time and are back in their communities. Preregistration to vote for 16 to 17 year olds passed and was referred to the House Ways and Means. To learn more or watch the hearing click here.  

Join Clean Elections Minnesota at our education forum on Thursday January 19th from 7:00-8:00 p.m. to learn more about the Compact. Details in "Take Action" below.  Click here to register now.

Make sure you attend our online education forum on the National Popular Vote Compact to learn how to fix our electoral college system on Thursday January 19th from 7:00-8:00 p.m. by Zoom, and join us in person at the Capitol for the We Choose Us Launch Celebration on Tuesday January 17th.  Showing up is not all of life, but it counts for a lot. We’ll learn, build community and take action together. 

Last on the democracy front, I am part of a small group of friends and family who are sponsoring a young family from Ukraine. The family of four arrived last Friday night. We were joined by two young Russian friends who volunteered to interpret and had dinner together. Listening to the stories of the Russians who left their country because they dreamed of living in a democracy and the Ukrainians who left because their democracy is under attack, reinforced the importance of  the work we do and the responsibility we have to defend our democracy and help others who are trying to do the same. If anyone is interested in sponsoring an individual or family contact


“So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote, I do not possess myself, I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact – I can only submit to the edict of others.”

-MLK, Jr.  “Give Us the Ballot” speech in May 1957.

Join us online Thursday, January 19, 7:00-8:00 p.m. Clean Elections Minnesota will sponsor a discussion about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact with Patrick Rosenstiel. Should Minnesota join the compact? Help us decide! Mr. Rosenstiel, a Minnesotan and Chair of the NPV Compact, will be interviewed by author and former Star Tribune reporter, Lori Sturdevant via Zoom. Click here to register now.

Proud cosponsors of the virtual conversation: Clean Elections Minnesota and the League of Women Voters of Minnesota.

Tuesday, January 17, 9:30 a.m-12:00 p.m. -- We Choose Us Launch Celebration at the State Capitol Rotunda. Come join us! We hope to see more than 300 of you! It will be a great day! MN Secretary of State Steve Simon, Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman, Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic, and many other legislators will be there. We Choose Us has scheduled buses with pick-ups in St. Cloud and Rochester. For information about rides, contact To attend the events, register here. Gather in the Capitol Rotunda at 9:30 for the We Choose Us Democracy Rally, meet with your legislators, grab some lunch, and stick around to show your support for the bills being heard in the Senate Elections Committee at 3:00 p.m.

Tuesday January 17, 3:00 p.m., Room 1200 of the Minnesota Senate Building, the Senate will hear the following:

  • S.F. 006 (Port) --  which would prevent contributions made by lobbyists or other individuals from gaining special access to legislators not avaliable to the general public and
  • S.F. 0026 (Champion) the Restore the Vote Act.
  • CEM board member Ken Peterson will testify.

Wednesday January 18, 8:30 a.m., Room 200 State Office Building, the House Elections Committee will hear

  • H.F. 117 (Stephenson) Political activities by foreign-influenced corporations prohibited, certification of compliance required, and candidates prohibited from accepting contributions.
  • A representative from CEM will testify.

To Tell the Truth, from America, America. "Martin Luther King Jr, gave his life to the battle for equality and justice. He reminds us of the need to search our own souls for racism and seek change." -- Steven Beschloss.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s family marches in D.C. for Senate action on voting rights bill, from The Washington Post. "March organizers called on the Senate to end the filibuster to allow for a vote on voting right legislation.

January 14 Letter to the Editor by a Clean Elections Minnesota Volunteer, from the Star Tribune:

“This letter is to address legislative priorities as laid out in news coverage and in Lori Sturdevant's Jan. 8 Opinion Exchange column ("DFL may go big, and that wouldn't be bad").

“Yes, the new state DFL majority, albeit slim, is starting off by looking at some of the most important issues facing our democracy: those involving our electoral system. My primary point of concern is the campaign finance debacle we've been dealing with since the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision. I believe the chaos, divisiveness and dysfunction that we are struggling with at both state and federal levels can be traced directly to this ridiculous premise that money is speech.

"Even that court acknowledged that transparency in funding is important. So why don't we have it? This should not be a partisan issue. If Republicans would just look at the report of the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board, they would see that the two most successful statewide campaigns, those of Gov. Tim Walz and Secretary of State Steve Simon, accepted no public money (which means presumably that they did not want to agree to campaign expenditure limits). So the advantages of money are not one-sided.

"Yes, the Legislature has other important election changes that need to be made, and I agree with Sturdevant: We need the current majority to not be timid and to learn from mistakes of the past. Fix these basic fundamentals of our system now while you can.

"Sharon Tornes, Woodbury”

Rep. Jason Crow reintroduces End Dark Money Act, from Open Secrets. “The bill aims to crack down on “dark money” groups spending to influence U.S. elections."

Mary Hartnett
Executive Director
Clean Elections Minnesota
Copyright © 2023 Clean Elections Minnesota, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp