Partisanship’s price

When it comes to elections, Minnesota has always been considered a model state. Prepare for another glowing assessment, this time from a five-month study of five Midwestern states. The research, released today by the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State, finds Ohio to be the worst, and Minnesota to be the best.

But there are plenty of warning signs, the most significant of which is that “its elected secretary of state…behaved in an excessively partisan fashion.” The report was referring to former Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, although current office-holder Mark Richie is coming in for a share of the criticism from his opponents.

The report also says Minnesota’s “underlying culture of cooperative decisionmaking and civic engagement may be waning, thus increasing the chances that the state’s election processes may become a casualty — or weapon — of partisanship.”

Though the authors give the state high marks for its election-day registration system, it cautions that a similar system in Ohio has not worked because of “a powerful, not to mention partisan, elected secretary of state at the helm of the electoral process,” the New York Times reported.

Here’s the Minnesota portion of the report (pdf).

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