The founding fathers believed that the division of the public into parties or factions was a natural development in a free society.
HOW IT STARTED:
In 1913, the Minnesota legislature was designated as nonpartisan;
This was an HISTORICAL ACCIDENT that occurred when a bill to provide for no-party election of judges and county officers was amended to include the legislature in the belief that it would kill the bill.
We can only suppose that those who proposed the idea of ‘nonpartisanship’ thought they could take politics out of politics and eliminate the animosity and bickering associated with partisanship.
This did not happen, in fact, it only weakened the electoral process by depriving voters of critical information and choices while continuing to allow political contributions and endorsements to influence the political process.
In 1973, the Minnesota legislature realized these adverse effects and re-adopted partisan designations for the legislature.
BILL OF GOODS?
In 1978, the City of St. Paul took a backwards step by adopting the ‘Nonpartisan Designation’ for its mayor and city council offices.
What happened? In 1978, Timothy Quinn, then charter commission president, suggested to the city council president, Mr. Hozza, that “the question of party designation on the ballot was easily understood by all of the electorate.”
It is our contention that this statement was simply a misguided attempt to circumvent the spirit of the law, as very few people understood the nature of the amendment at that time (and still don’t today)!
The establishment failed to disclose (to the voters) the most critical aspect of the amendment; that the words ‘nonpartisan basis’ referred only to an election format and DID NOT PROHIBIT candidates from seeking and receiving political party support.
If this information had been given to the voters, we believe the results would have been vastly different.
The electorate has been led to believe the false notion that candidates are nonpartisan if no party designations appear on the ballot.
It is clear that most (if not all) of the people who voted in favor of this amendment in 1978 did not understand the meaning of the words nonpartisan basis, and did so only because they believed the candidates would be nonpartisan and free from party affiliation, bias and influence… and they are not!
A prime example of this misunderstanding is the current efforts to recall St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly. The group is claiming that the mayor has not acted in a nonpartisan manner and that he changed his mind. The St. Paul Charter does not require the mayor or council members to be nonpartisan, nor does it prohibit them from changing their minds.
WITH A TWIST!
In 1983, the City of Minneapolis also took a backwards step by adopting the ‘Nonpartisan Designation’ for its mayor and city council offices.
Ironically, the Minneapolis nonpartisan amendment was sold to their unsuspecting voters REQUIRING party designation on the ballot, which blatantly violated the principles of nonpartisanship and made a mockery of our democratic process.
In 2003, the voters of New York City soundly rejected a nonpartisan charter amendment for its city elections. In contrast, their amendment included a provision banning political party support as well as contributions from political action committees.
We believe that if this amendment had passed, it would have been in violation of the First Amendment rights of the candidates and citizens to gather and speak freely as members of political groups.
You can help eliminate the underhanded politics of nonpartisan elections and restore the true democratic nature of our electoral system;
CONTACT us today for more information!