Editorial Roundup: Primary — The lowest bar to political involvement

Published 9:21 pm Thursday, August 9, 2018

Tuesday is primary day in Minnesota. It’s quite possible that you’ve already voted. If so, thank you for participating. For the rest of you, there’s plenty of time and opportunity to join the festivities.

This state makes it easy to do so. Minnesota has same-day registration at the polls. Minnesota also relaxed its absentee voting rules a few years ago, and thousands of voters have already cast their ballots. Early voting continues through Monday, so a busy schedule on Tuesday is no reason to forego casting your ballot.

It’s a busy ballot. This non-presidential year features, as always, the governor’s race, and with Mark Dayton vacating the office there are contests for both the Republican and Democratic nominations. For the GOP, endorsee Jeff Johnson is being challenged by former Gov. Tim Pawlenty; for the DFL, endorsee Erin Murphy faces Mankato congressman Tim Walz and Attorney General Lori Swanson.

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We also have both U.S. Senate seats up, Amy Klobuchar’s for a full six-year term and a special election to fill the final two years for the seat opened by Al Franken’s resignation. That job is currently held by Tina Smith, who has a notable challenger in Richard Painter in the Democratic primary.

And there are contested primaries, particularly on the DFL side, in both parties for the attorney general’s job, being vacated by Swanson.

In the 1st Congressional District, the seat being vacated by Walz, there is a serious primary on the GOP side between endorsee Jim Hagedorn and state Sen. Carla Nelson.

Depending on where you live, there may be primaries for county board or city races. Mankato has six names on its mayoral ballot, although not all are running active campaigns.

Turnout is always lower in off-year elections than in presidential years, and primary turnout is always lower than for general elections. But there appears to be more passion for this off-year cycle than usual, probably because of the polarizing presidency of Donald Trump. Tuesday’s vote is important because it decides who the electorate will choose between in November.

Voting is the lowest common denominator for political activity, and in Minnesota it’s accessible. Take advantage.

— Mankato Free Press, Aug. 8

About Editorial Roundup

Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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