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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

MSBA is now conducting its judicial election poll

I just voted in the Minnesota State Bar Association's plebiscite for the upcoming judicial elections. It's actually fairly easy. You get an e-mail with your member number and "e-signature" along with a link to the voting site. Once on the site, you enter your information, and all the appellate races and the District Court races from your district are listed out. You click your mouse when the cursor is next to the box of the candidate for whom you wish to vote and a check mark appears in the box. You also have the option of reading the brief statements provided by the candidates and seeing their pictures.

My ballot had the three appellate races on it along with the District Court races in Hennepin County, where I both live and work. However, it occurred to me there might be a glitch in this system if I lived and worked in different counties. The MSBA might have someone listed as Hennepin County, when, in fact, Ramsey County is where he lives and votes. (This is particularly true since atttorneys are apt to give their work addresses to the MSBA.) The safer route would have been to list out all the trial court races, but limit users to voting in a single district. It will be interesting to see if this creates an issue for anyone using the system.

There is an interesting twist in the voting for one of the Supreme Court seats. The ballot provides only two choices for the seat currently occupied by Lorie Skjerven Gildea -- Gildea and Hennepin County Deborah Hedlund. That match-up is, of course, not yet official. The race is subject to a recount because Minneapolis attorney Jill Clark lost to Hedlund, the #2 vote-getter, by such a narrow margin (.5 percent). In the admittedly somewhat unlikely event that Clark should pick up enough votes in the recount to displace Hedlund on the November ballot, the MSBA will have to commission a second poll just for that seat. (The MSBA ballot does note with an asterisk that the race is currently subject to a recount.) In any case, Clark would probably not like the MSBA ballot, since it specifically designates who the incumbent is for the seat.

Overall, I think the MSBA balloting-process was very user-friendly. The only glitch I ran into was that since I took the time to read the bios the candidates had provided, I was told my session had "timed out" when I went to cast my ballot. However, when I used the information the MSBA gave me to log back in, I noticed my choices were all still checked off. I just had to click the "cast my ballot" button and I was done.

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