I have never participated in the elections process beyond voting until this year. This month I attended and participated in my first precinct caucus. I never participated before because I did not believe the process was fair, democratic or inclusive.
I do not have much faith in the democratic process, and less faith in politics and politicians. My belief is that any public servant or elected official who has to do more funds-begging than actual work once elected to office is not a person or process I would trust.
I do not believe money should be the deciding factor if a person gets elected or re-elected. I can say my opinion was not changed for the positive after this experience. On its face the caucus process is inherently discriminatory. I did not see equity or inclusiveness in any way, shape or form.
My precinct caucus was held at Roosevelt High School. Roosevelt High School does not have any disability parking spaces in the front of the building. Not one space from E. 41st St. all the way to E. 42nd St. on 28th Ave. S. Attendees had to park up to 10 blocks away from the school in all directions.
There were no provisions for a shuttle bus service to get attendees to the building. There were no accommodations for disability parking. I cannot tell you how a person with a mobility impairment was supposed to get into the building.
If a person with a mobility impairment did somehow access the building, I have no idea how they would have been able to access the building beyond the entryway. A person with blindness or other visual impairments would not have been able to participate fully as an individual. There were no accommodations for the blind or visually impaired. Any individual with hearing loss would not have been able to participate fully.
Allow me to clarify my point: The human and civil rights laws of this country for this process are being ignored. The Americans with Disabilities Act is being ignored.
In my precinct caucus, 550 people entered the room to cast their vote. I could count on one hand the number of clear minorities by color in the room. During the resolutions process, the number of minorities was even less, and needless to say, “persons with disabilities” were noticeably absent excluding myself.
What happened to “One Minneapolis”? For those of you who claim to be democrats, you should be ashamed of yourselves. You have much to learn and nothing to celebrate.
Whoever was in charge of this fiasco should be sued for blatant discrimination. Whoever supported this fiasco should be sued also. All of them should spend a few years in jail for perpetrating such a flawed process upon the people of Minneapolis.
Can someone please tell me why these people should not be held accountable for their momentous failure to apply the simplest of laws and moral character? One person, one vote!
Kenneth Brown is a disability advocate and consultant, past chair of the Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights, and 12-year volunteer on the Minneapolis Advisory Committee on Persons with disabilities. He welcomes reader responses to email@example.com, or telephone 612-518-2155.
I’m really sorry you had a bad experience in your district. In our district, we put a notice on our Call/Invitation that anyone requiring accommodations of any kind was to contact the chair (contact info provided), and we worked to accommodate that, ASL, rides to and from, special parking spaces, whatever. That’s not to say that’s the answer. BUT remember this is a volunteer process. All of what you are requesting costs money. Lots of it. Each district has just a few thousand dollars raised from party loyalists, with which to pay for the school space, paper, printing, and everything else, including the vote tabulation is run by volunteers. There is no millionaire out there suddenly financing 121 district meeting spaces. The interest in the presidential race has been high. What does a party do when usually seven people show up for a precinct caucus and then suddenly 405 people show up (actual example)? The system is overwhelmed. Pressure is being put on legislators to institute a primary, but then the inverse happens – in a low-interest year, then the state wastes millions on a primary ($3-10 million probably) and everybody complains about the money being wasted. It goes back and forth, back and forth and has for decades. Rather than threatening to sue volunteers, please join in and help run your party as you see fit. It’s fun! and it only happens if we all do it.