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The Carletonian

Every vote counts in Minnesota!

Celebrate the start of your first year at Carleton with your vote! With the upcoming midterm elections, every Minnesotan vote counts. 

Although first-years and other out-of-state students may not be familiar with Minnesota state politics, they should be. Election day is November 8, and student votes are vital for reproductive rights, educational funding and pandemic protection. 

Scott Jensen is the Republican candidate for governor. Like many Trump-era conservative politicians, Jensen won his party’s primary by moving to the populist right. His original campaign hinged on revising the Minnesota Constitution to implement a full ban on abortions in the state. He made no attempt to hide his anti-choice stance, telling Chad Hartman of WCCO Radio on May 4, “As governor, I want Minnesota to be a pro-life state, so any legislation that would come to my desk, I would sign it to reduce or eliminate abortions… I think that definitely, I would sign the bills to make Minnesota as pro-life as we can be,” as reported by the Minnesota Reformer. He clarified that the only possible exception would be to protect the mother’s life in certain instances but was against abortion in cases of incest or rape – explicitly saying that in those cases, “two wrongs …[are]not gonna make it right.” 

Once he won the primary, however, he began moderating his message to win over undecided voters. By July, he claimed he would only move to ban abortions if the state supported a constitutional amendment, which, although less extreme, is still potentially very dangerous. In the same way Trump’s appointments played a key role in striking down Roe v. Wade, Jensen, if elected, would have the power to shape the Minnesota Supreme Court with his appointments to potentially repeal Doe v. Gomez, the decision that grants the constitutional right to abortion in Minnesota.

Jensen has also run on promises to cut public school funding and, despite being a doctor, is unvaccinated against COVID-19. He actively advocates against the COVID-19 vaccination and instead supports the concept of herd immunity.

Incumbent Governor Tim Walz, his Minnesota Democratic–Farmer-Labor Party opponent, defends abortion access and has promised to support continued vaccination and testing access in the state. Data from September 23 reveals Walz is at a 7-percentage point lead, but with 10% of voters undecided, the race is still anyone’s game. Turnout is crucial in this election. The races for Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor also pose similar risks. The election for Attorney General stands at a near tie, with Republican challenger Jim Schultz running on a platform of restricted abortion access, crackdowns on violent crime (which can be a thinly-veiled form of racism), increased corporate power and general disinformation about DFL incumbent Keith Ellison.

Jensen’s running mate,former Minnesota Vikings player Matt Birk, opposes abortion in all cases. Birk once stated that he thought our current “culture loudly, but also stealthily, promotes abortion. Telling women they should look a certain way, have careers, all these things.” He is also infamous for telling those trying to seek access to abortions to stop “playing the rape card” and that “lot of things have been legal before that we’ve changed […] you know slavery used to be legal, right.” But, he did win a Super Bowl (ironically, not with the Vikings), which has been a crucial factor for large voter demographics. 

The following states are all at very low risk, if practically none at all, for voting red in any federal election, according to the World Population Review based on data from how states voted in the last 11 presidential elections: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. 

The following states are red or swing states; students from these states should most likely abstain from changing their voter registration: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. 

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About the Contributor
Bea Culligan
Bea Culligan, Social Media Manager and News Editor
Bea (she/her) is a sophomore intended political science major from Los Angeles, California. She is interested in all things news, but most of all, what is happening at Carleton! Bea was previously a Staff Writer.

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