Mary Kiffmeyer

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Mary Kiffmeyer is Minnesota's former Secretary of State. She lost her 2006 reelection campaign to DFL opponent Mark Ritchie. The other DFL Secretary of State Candidate Dick Franson, who received nearly 30 percent of the votes in the DFL primary for secretary of state, has endorsed Mary Kiffmeyer. Independence Party Joel Spoonheim candidate and independent candidate Bruce Kennedy are the designated also-rans in the contest.

Contents

Voting Rights in Question

A Republican apparachik Kiffmeyer understands that suppressing the popular vote is the key to her party's success in election. In a November 6, 2006 news conference, DFL Party Chairman Brian Melendez pointed out that Kiffmeyer's Web site fails to offer clear direction on the voting eligibility of ex-felons and battered women. See News Report. Melendez made his complaints directly to the responsible 87 county election officials under a new law prohibiting deceptive campaign practices.

Until recently, Minnesota law allowed Native American tribal ID cards to be used by members of tribes living on reservations for Election Day registration, but not members living outside reservations. The ACLU filed a complaint, ACLU v. Kiffmeyer, on behalf of urban members of Native American bands and the National Congress of American Indians. Judge James Rosenbaum, issued a temporary restraining order in October 2004 that sided with the plaintiffs. The case was settled in favor of the plaintiffs in September 2005. The Minnesota Legislature subsequently amended election law to recognize this ruling.

Since entering office in 1999 Secretary Kiffmeyer has seen Minnesotans come out to vote and lead the nation in voter turnout in 2000, 2002 and 2004. In 2004, Minnesota had 77.7% voter turnout, the highest in the state since 1960. That is the sort of statistic for which politicians claim direct or indirect credit when they ought to be praising voters for fulfilling their civic duty.

Mary Kiffmeyer has testified in front of a congressional committee the importance of paper ballots in upcoming elections and stressed the importance of a “paper trail” while voting technology is moving ahead.

Defensive

At the Kids Voting Minnesota (KVM) meeting at Crookston High School on October 11, 2006, Kiffmeyer found herself having to defend her perfomance in office in handling the election four years ago following the death of U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone in a mysterious plane crash: "This happened 11 days before the election. Eleven days is not much time to change the ballots that were already printed and certainly it was a struggle to deal with those ballots that had already been cast. I think we did a fantastic job considering the circumstances." Natalie J. Ostgaard. "Local, area students put candidates on the spot at Kids Voting debate." Crrokston Daily Times. October 12, 2006. News Report No one makes excuses quite like a conservative Republican.

Holier than Thou

Kiffmeyer told the attendees of a 2004 National Day of Prayer event in Minnesota that the "five words" that are "probably most destructive" in America today are "separation of church and state." Later, when asked to clarify her remarks. Kiffmeyer replied that, "It's not the words that are destructive, it's the way they are interpreted. There are a lot of good church people who don't think they can be involved in government."

Background Info

The oldest of fourteen children, Kiffmeyer was born in Pierz, Minnesota. She married Ralph Kiffmeyer, a nurse anesthetist, in 1968. Ralph Kiffmeyer served one term in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Kiffmeyer has four children--Christina, Patrick, James, and John--and thirteen grandchildren.

First elected in November 1998, she was sworn into office on January 4, 1999, and re-elected in November 2002.

2002 Election Results

  • Mary Kiffmeyer (Republican) 1,012,773 - 48 percent
  • Hubert Humphrey IV (Democrat) 938,502 - 44 percent
  • Dean Alger (Independent) 101,485 - 5 percent
  • Andrew Koebrick (Green) 64,933 - 3 percent

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References

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