Friday, January 12, 2007


Mark Ritchie Goes To College

Minnesota's new Democratic Secretary of State is already making a good impression on rural Minnesotans:

Blue Earth County’s experiments to encourage voting by college students should be implemented statewide, incoming Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said during a stop in Mankato to visit township officials. “It is true that your county is way ahead of the others,” Ritchie said Thursday, five days before he will assume the office, which focuses on elections along with business and government documents. He ousted two-term incumbent Mary Kiffmeyer in November on a national wave of Democratic victories along with promises to improve voter turnout. One of the solutions he touts eases same-day registration by college students. It allows school-issued photo IDs — cross-checked with lists of registered students — to be used in lieu of utility bills that dorm dwellers often don’t have. In Blue Earth County, both on- and off-campus students are already taking advantage of the offer, Taxpayer Services Director Patty O’Connor said, making the process a step above counties that only use dormitory lists. [...] Ritchie, 54, is a Georgia native who served as the president of the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy between 1986 and 2006. He was invited to southern Minnesota to visit township officials and discuss issues around local elections. Ritchie also pledged to wash away the stain of partisan politics he said Kiffmeyer brought to the office. “We have to act to make the changes and change the public’s perception,” he said.
To understand what Mark Ritchie means when he references Mary Kiffmeyer's partisan politics (not to mention her, ah, novel viewpoints and passion for patting herself on the back), check this out.

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