Election turnout, author visit make week enjoyable
Out of My Mind
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 3:37 AM
I am not one to write about politics and I'm not going to start now. However, I did want to congratulate Minnesotans for going out and voting on Tuesday. No matter who your candidate of choice was or your stand on the two proposed constitutional amendments, if you went out and voted, you gained my respect.
Traditionally, Minnesota has a high voter turnout, but this year, nearly 2.94 million Minnesotans cast ballots. This means approximately 76 percent of eligible Minnesota voters exercised their right to vote, which is the highest turnout in the country.
Way to go Minnesota!
While the Minnesota turnout was higher in 2012 than it was in 2008, that was not necessarily true throughout the rest of the country. National numbers actually show that fewer people voted this year than four years ago.
In most states, the numbers were even lower than in 2004, said Curtis Gans, director of American University's Center for the Study of the American Electorate. He estimated about 126 million Americans voted, for an overall turnout rate of about 57.5 percent.
I was especially proud to see a high turnout among the younger generations. I am not proud to admit that when I was in my early 20s, I did not realize how important it was to vote. But as I grow older and wiser, I know that in order for us to take responsibility for our futures, we must make ourselves heard. One voice, one vote, does count.
I was pleased to discuss this year's election with my niece, Katelyn, who voted for the first time in a presidential race. She was only 17 when Obama was elected the first time, turning 18 in March. I was impressed by her knowledge of the issues as well as her desire to become informed about the local candidates that were running in and around Winona, where she voted. It made me proud that she already knew how important it was to honor those who fought for our right to vote by going to the polls that day.
Whether you are thrilled with how things turned out last Tuesday or frustrated that your candidate did not win, I hope we can all pull together and make things happen that will improve our economy, strengthen our education systems and preserve our earth.
As a side note, there was one statistic that surprised me when listening to the election coverage on NBC. I'm not even sure which commentator shared it, but I did check and it is true. Since 1928, the only successful Republican presidental tickets have had either a Nixon or a Bush on the ballot. This was said as a suggestion that perhaps the next presidential ballot will include the name of Jeb Bush.
But I won't say whether that's a good thing or a negative in my opinion, because that's about as political as I like to get.
Because we are doing a bit of shuffling in news coverage these days, with a couple of staff members recovering from injury and illness, I travelled outside of my normal coverage area last Thursday evening to cover an author visit in Chatfield.
Julie Kramer, a mystery writer from White Bear Lake, came to the Chatfield Center of the Arts as part of an author tour sponsored by SELCO. The Friends of the Library and the Library Board of Trustrees in Chatfield also supported the event.
Kramer has written a series of five novels featuring Riley Spartz, a TV news reporter who helps solve murder mysteries. Her newest book, "Shunning Sarah," is actually based in Harmony.
As she signed my copy, "From one journalist to another," she asked me to remind area readers that she will be visiting the Harmony library in April and hopes many of us will have read the book by then. "I want them to be able to ask me why I included the local references that I did. I want them to be able to challenge my story," she said.
I haven't started the book yet, but I did flip through the pages and found a reference to Riley Spartz eating peach-raspberry pie at a local diner sporting a "red and white-striped awning."
I am usually pretty diligent about reading series of books in order, but I have to admit, I think I'm going to deviate from that tradition in order to dive into "Shunning Sarah" to see how she incorporated our beloved community into her most current murder mystery.
I'll be sure to report back when I do.
Last week went so quickly, partly because I was busy but also because I had several enjoyable events to cover for our newspapers. It reminds me that I love what I do even if it becomes chaotic and stressful on a frequent basis!