Politics

Free speech and safe streets: St. Paul plans security for the Republican National Convention

With more than 3,000 police and $50 million in federal money, St. Paul officials plans to give protesters their due while preventing disruptions to the Republican convention this September.

New machines keep vote private for blind citizens

In the past, blind voters have relied on others to fill out their ballots.

First-time voters can make a difference this fall

Some 35,000 to 45,000 Minnesotans will be eligible to vote for the first time this fall.

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Along West 7th, businesses await Republicans' arrival

Along West 7th Street in St. Paul, near the Xcel Energy Center, business owners and customers are excited about the Republican National Convention coming to town in September.

Patrick McGovern’s Pub is renting its facilities to Anheuser-Busch for private evening events all four days.

From Wild to welcoming: Remaking the Xcel

With the biggest event the Xcel Energy Center has ever hosted on the horizon, the GOP will transform St. Paul’s major sports and concert venue for the September 1-4 Republican National Convention. The costs will not be low, and it will not be easy. Here’s what they face.

Construction

Between July 21 and August 31, several hundred electricians, carpenters, and other workmen will transform the X into a venue that can hold the 45,000 visitors. Suites will be converted to press boxes where 15,000 journalists will broadcast from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Young Republican and Democratic activists share desire for change

For most students, a typical day consists of school, parties and hanging out with friends. Travis Symoniak, a senior at the University of St. Thomas, wakes up every morning and goes to his job as executive director of Minnesota College Republicans.

On evenings and weekends he’s out knocking on doors and helping with campaigns as a volunteer. “I’m kind of a geek in politics,” says 20-year-old Symoniak. He helps out candidates running for office across Minnesota. Some days he’s coordinating a campaign; other days he’s planning an upcoming event and organizing volunteers to pass out campaign literature.

Political parties and campaigns rely on young activists like Symoniak, people with the time and energy for the relentless demands of long campaigns.

Al Franken's image complex, sometimes controversial

Walking into the campaign office of the DFL candidate for U.S. Senate, something strikes the eye. It isn’t the basketball hoop that hangs inside. It is a portrait of Al Franken made of beans, with an unsettling likeness. Composed of nine different seeds, from reed canary grass to rice, Franken smiles and stares back at the viewer.

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Coleman seeks distance from Bush in Senate race

Dressed in a dark blue polo tucked into blue jeans, and wearing casual moccasins, Senator Norm Coleman flashed his gleaming smile at roughly 75 supporters crammed onto the terrace of an Eden Prairie Dunn Brothers on the first day of summer.

As he will hundreds of times during his Senate race, Coleman held the attention of his supporters for 15 minutes, moving effortlessly from topic to topic, eliciting shouts of support and nods of approval. Coleman ended his speech with an appeal to family values, “My momma always told me to say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’.” He then thanked supporters for coming, and asked them to urge friends and relatives to vote for him this fall.

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Many low-income Americans feel their votes don't count

Lylian Davis stood outside her mobile home, squinted at the sun and considered the presidential election.

“Yeah, I’m going to vote. For whom, I’m undecided.” Among her neighbors in Landfall, a tiny St. Paul suburb of mobile homes where 1 in 5 of about 700 residents lives in poverty, Davis thinks she’s unusual.

“ ‘ Oh, my vote doesn’t count.’ That’s all I hear around here.” Davis said.

Nationwide, low-income Americans vote at much lower rate than wealthier citizens. According to a 1990 survey published by Harvard University Press, almost 9 out of 10 individuals in families with incomes over $75,000 reported voting in presidential elections while only half of those in families with incomes under $15,000 reported voting.

Young voters stress economy, Iraq and health care

Andrew Korte, 21, sat on the steps outside of the library at the University of St. Thomas one recent afternoon, snacking on a sandwich along with his friend Jeremy Leavell. Leavell, 21, is also a student at St. Thomas. Like most young people around the nation, Korte is uncertain what the future has in store for him.

“There’s going to be a lot of students coming out of school looking for jobs, and they’re going to be more concerned about whether or not the jobs are going to be there,” said Korte.

He’s not alone. As the nation gears up for the November Presidential election, young Minnesota voters are voicing concerns about the economy, the Iraq war and education costs.

Many low-income voters fear their votes don't count

Lylian Davis stood outside her mobile home, squinted at the sun and considered the presidential election.

“Yeah, I’m going to vote. For whom, I’m undecided.” Among her neighbors in Landfall, a tiny St. Paul suburb of mobile homes where 1 in 5 of about 700 residents lives in poverty, Davis thinks she’s unusual.

“ ‘ Oh, my vote doesn’t count.’ That’s all I hear around here.” Davis said.

Young party activists battle it out for change

For most students, a typical day consists of school, parties and hanging out with friends. Travis Symoniak, a senior at the University of St. Thomas, wakes up every morning and goes to his job as executive director of Minnesota College Republicans.

On evenings and weekends he’s out knocking on doors and helping with campaigns as a volunteer. “I’m kind of a geek in politics,” says 20-year-old Symoniak. He helps out candidates running for office across Minnesota. Some days he’s coordinating a campaign; other days he’s planning an upcoming event and organizing volunteers to pass out campaign literature.

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Election 2008: Young voters, new voices

Nico Brown graduated this spring from Face To Face Academy in St. Paul. It was his toughest year; Barack Obama helped him through.

“I sat and I watched him on TV and listened to some things he would say, and it made me want to push more. He said that I could be something — you know, more than just the stereotype.”

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Election 2008: Young voters, new voices

Nico Brown graduated this spring from Face To Face Academy in St. Paul. It was his toughest year; Barack Obama helped him through.

“I sat and I watched him on TV and listened to some things he would say, and it made me want to push more. He said that I could be something — you know, more than just the stereotype.”

Does the controversy over Al Franken's past writings and tax problems affect your decision in the Senate race?

Not at all. It's all in good fun.
20%
It bugs me, but it doesn't affect my attitude toward his candidacy.
40%
Yes, a senator should not conduct himself in that manner.
20%
I never really liked him anyway.
10%
What controversy?
10%

What issue matters to you most in the presidential elecion?

The War in Iraq
0%
The Economy
0%
Healthcare
0%
Education
100%
Other
0%

Getting active -- glamour and grunt work

Since my junior year, I’ve always been a part of my school’s Young Democrats. Coming from a working class family, I’ve always been told to support the little guy, and that the Democratic Party did this. That was the extent of my political involvement.

This year, I felt I needed to do more.

Turn On the Vote

“Oh my god, really?”

“Really! I know. I was like that, too. I wonder what’s going to happen now, you know?”

Seems like a normal lunchroom conversation between teens, right?

They could be talking about dating, school, relationships, even the latest TV show about promiscuous teens with too much money and not enough time — the things teenagers are normally expected to talk about. But these two seniors at Eden Prairie High School were talking about the recent debate among presidential candidates over the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The newest buzz-worthy issue among teenagers has really caught everyone by surprise – the upcoming election. The presidential election has become the hot-button issue to debate in classrooms and even at lunch.

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Voting in November? Get ready on-line.

So you’re turning 18, and we all know what that means — It’s time to vote!

Here’s what you need to know to get ready…

First of all, U.S. citizens who will be 18 years old by November 4 are eligible to vote. There are also some other rules that vary by state. To vote in Minnesota, you may vote provided
• You have established residency in Minnesota for 20 days prior to the election.
• You have not been convicted of a felony.

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