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League of Women Voters head in DL to talk election issues

Susan Sheridan Tucker, executive director of LWV-MN. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Since October 1919, the League of Women Voters-Minnesota has been working diligently to preserve and protect voter rights not only for women, but for all residents of the state.

“Ninety-five years later, we’re still kicking,” said Susan Sheridan Tucker, executive director of LWV-MN, during a visit to Detroit Lakes on Tuesday.

Tucker has been hard at work since the start of her tenure with the organization last October, visiting chapters throughout the state.

“I think it’s important for people to know who I am, and to listen to what the local leagues are all about,” she said.

In addition, Tucker was in Detroit Lakes to discuss some of LWV-MN’s latest efforts, including its advocacy for campaign finance reform.

“The two recent Supreme Court rulings on Citizens United and McCutcheon (both cases vs. the Federal Election Commission), dealing with campaign finance, have opened up opportunities for large money donors,” Tucker said.

“The League is very much in favor of reducing the amount of ‘big money’ involved in election campaigns… and ultimately, we would like to see campaign finance limits.

“It’s an issue that doesn’t capture the attention of ‘everyman’ – but it should. That’s where our work needs to be stressed… voter education is a large part of our work.”

Full disclosure of the financial backers for negative election campaign ads, though “just a small part of campaign finance reform,” is something that the League also actively supports, Tucker noted.

“It’s a starting point to getting voters to understand what’s at stake in their own election process,” she added.

Online voter registration is another issue that the league fully supports, Tucker said.

“It’s another way to make registration more accessible to the people of this state,” she added, noting, “It saves money on the county level, because it’s a more efficient system.”

Most recently, the League was part of a coalition that successfully campaigned for legislation to raise the state’s minimum wage — legislation that was signed into law Monday by Gov. Mark Dayton.

Another successful campaign that the League was involved with back in 2012 was the defeat of the Minnesota Voter ID Amendment.

“That’s an example of how the League made a significant difference in the ‘community think’,” Tucker said.

When the amendment was first proposed, public opinion was largely in favor of it — but by the time it came up on the ballot in November of 2012, the amendment was soundly defeated by Minnesota voters.

Tucker said it was the League’s efforts to educate the public on how voter groups like the elderly and homeless would be disenfranchised by the amendment that “turned the tide” toward its eventual defeat.

“It was a huge victory,” she added.

Though LWV is non-partisan, “We do take positions, as both a national and state organization, regarding a whole breadth of topics,” Tucker said.

For more information about the League of Women Voters-Minnesota, please visit

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454