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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Kiffmeyer's Platform (Sec of State)

--posted by Tony Garcia on 1/28/2006

Per a very legitimate request from Marty to evaluate Mary Kiffmeyer's platform I am doing so now. Something that should be kept in mind is that all of the current office holder's will be evaluated for what they actually do in office a little more weighted than what they say they are about.

That said, let's look at Kiffmeyer's platform.

Guiding principles: Seems more like a mission statement to me than a platform. These are truisms...in the same sense that every candidate runs as being "against crime". Find me a legitimate candidate that runs against Access, Accuracy, Privacy and Integrity in the Election system and I will then give credit for them here. Until then...no credit.

How to enhance participation: I see nothing here that gives an actual positioin aside from moving the primaries. To this I ask "Why?" Can't give points for this and I can't take points away for this position. Something that stands out to me is the phrase "chief election official" which brings me right back to my biggest complaint against her actual performance. That said, there is nothing in the phrase itself that is a position. Again, as with other candidates previously evaluated, there is a growing number of empty phrases like, "innovative outreach efforts" and "chief cheerleader for liberty and freedom." I would like to see an actual position. WHAT types of innovation? Finally, did I miss the online voters guides? To me it sounds like the awesome system they have in California where they send a booklet (if requested) of each race and bios of each candidate. For issues they have a statement for both the pro and con. Is this what Kiffmeyer is talking about? I think so and since I have not heard of it existing, and since there is nothing preventing such a position from actually being carried out in Kiffmeyer's time in office I have to actually deduct points for failing to follow through on this (- 3). If someone can point me to where these actually exist OR correct the record I will correct this deduction.

How to reach younger citizens: This sections tells what HAS been done (appointing two groups for outreach). I would probably award more points for this EXCEPT for two things. It sounds more like these blue ribbon task force type of deals...what is their budget? Also, what are you GOING to do is not addressed at all. Therefore the award is minimized (+ 1). Something else in here that I am highly against: "voting instructions in multiple languages" (- 3). This is America, a melting pot and one should be expected required to understand English.

What changes would you make: Here is the mention of creating a group for outreach (you mean more?). I'm very tempted to take points away for this extra increase of bureaucracy but will give her the benefit of the doubt...that her website is just horribly written. Again with the online voter guides...but I will not deduct for the same thing twice. Again with the primary change to August idea. These justifications are kind of poor: 1) give the voters more time to evaluate the candidates. Somehow 2 months is not enough, but magically 3 months will be? Why not make the primaries in May or June instead? 2) Give the SoS and officials more time to conduct an orderly process. Two months is not enough time? I think I am now officially against this idea as presented, but I will not deduct points for it here.

Driver's License Requirement. Finally...a straight answer. And a good one. YES it should be required. Now, I have not heard a full court press from her office to make this happen. A few token speeches here and there, maybe, but nothing substantial. The answer itself gets points (+ 2) and would have gotten more if she had done something to get this done during her 2 terms.

Political party balance for election judges: Good answer and there is nothing to suggest in her performance that this is simply campaign rhetoric (+ 2).

MN have provision to guard against another Florida: There is nothing here that I believe can be credited to Kiffmeyer. A Federal law and her being required to carry out that law does not garner credit for a position. She can do her job, at least in this aspect.

The next several "questions" are more of her promoting that she can follow her job requirements. I see no reason to give bonuses or take points away. Providing access is expected.

The next question of consequence is about Voting by Mail. I think the requirements for Absentee voting are WAAAYYYY too loose, in that you simply have to walk in and vote. There is no secret when Election Day is and as such a RESPONSIBLE voter will make every effort to do so. There are valid exceptions that need to be made and I expect that, but for the able bodied person not confined to a hospital or their bed I see very little excuse. The laws even require employers to allow people to take of so that they can vote. Very little reason, if any, for the current system. Kiffmeyer lauds the current system and for this I must disagree (- 2).

Streamlining and operations: Almost had me on this. All of the platitudes here about customer service for businesses fall upon deaf ears after Kiffmeyer's juvenile behavior during the Ventura administration. Remember, to protest how and how much the funding was for her office she closed down her office hours by half. Hardly a "customer oriented" move. Her performance speaks louder than her words here. I refuse to add points for anything she says about customer service as it is proven that politics and partisanship rank higher. As I have previously deducted points for this I will not do so here. She also goes on to say that they collect more fees than their operating budget uses and that the surplus goes to the legislature. She wants her office to keep the fees instead (- 2). Yikes...how about a little small government platform from a Republican. The better position would be to advocate the cutting of those fees.

Position on unfunded mandates: Against them. That would have gotten points except that her answer was not 'against the mandates' but 'against UNFUNDED mandates'. Where is the smaller government advocate (- 1)?

Restriats on what the media may publish: What the hell is this? You mean someone was advocating that the media could not publish election results as they were being reported? Show me that and I will give points here. This is also an important position of her platform because as I have mentioned before she does not produce out-state results in off-year elections. So of course she would like the media to report results...who else would? The candidate I support MUST be responsible for ALL election reporting, even if they are not required to provide the service. No points here for this position.

Corporate responsibility: A lot of vague positions here but the one that I don't see would have actually gained points: removal of dividend taxes. That would give an incentive to investors to buy stocks that pay dividends which in turn would mean that compaines actually would have to pay them out. You cannot do what Enron was doing (or what their seperate auditing companies said nothing about) if you are also paying out dividends. Corporate fraud is tied in large part to fabricated profits, dividends are paid from actual profits. You cannot have both. Anyway, I see nothing in Kiffmeyer's position that is tangible or realistic. No points.

OK, so, at the end of her platform I see a grand total of: - 6 bringing her grand total to - 26.


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