Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The DFL and Me

This may be one of those situations that, if it were happening outside the U.S., would make me an Ugly American. I'm not sure. But let me preface this by saying that I've figure out how to vote in a few states - New York, Connecticut, and South Dakota - before I got to Minnesota. Each state has its own way of doing things - some states have you register to vote when you get your driver's license, and some states have helpful "how to vote" informative websites. I realize that election procedures are not consistent across state lines.

But I have to say that voting in Minnesota is unnecessarily confusing. Here, we have caucuses, and I've lived here for over three years, and I still don't know what the hell I am supposed to do at a caucus. I just want to go, vote, and come home. However, I admit that I would like to know what the caucus thing is all about. Once or twice, I tried to look it up on the state website, but I wasn't able to find enough information to fully explain it. So, when the DFL (and that's another thing - what's wrong with "Democrat"? Why do they have to be some special kind of Democrat unique to Minnesota?) called me last week to encourage me to attend the caucus, I thought, "wow, this is a great opportunity," and told the guy that I'd really like to understand what the heck a caucus was and how it worked and what I was supposed to do, and I asked if there was anyplace online where I could find that information. He acknowledged that, no, there really wasn't that kind of information online. He suggested that I could find out how it worked by going to a caucus. I pointed out that if they really wanted to encourage people to show up, they might consider making the process more transparent. He did not sound interested.

Now, all this time, I was really going nuts trying to understand why the DFL wasn't thinking about how to open up the process for new voters, particularly those of us from out of state. I was thinking, of course, about low voter turnout, assuming that this national problem was also an issue for the State of Minnesota. But I was wrong - somehow, with it's mystifying voting process, Minnesota still has unusually high voter turnout - nearly 80% in the 2008 national election, according to Wikipedia. So perhaps the DFL just doesn't need my vote?

Needless to say, I did not attend the caucus.

And reading this back over, I realize what I sound like: an angry New Yorker.

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