Blog of Rights

Jana
Kooren
"It was being immersed in a diverse college setting that gave me the understanding and tools to fight for social justice."

"It was being immersed in a diverse college setting that gave me the understanding and tools to fight for social justice."

By Jana Kooren, ACLU of Minnesota at 5:18pm
The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision soon in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin to determine if the University of Texas can consider race as one factor, among many, in attempting to create a diverse educational experience for its students. Yet, what critics of affirmative action often gloss over is that our nation's K-12 schools are more segregated by race and class than when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, for many students of all races and classes, college is the first time many students are enriched by a diverse environment.
Polling Numbers Giving Freedom to Marry Ballot Efforts Advantage as Election Day Approaches

Polling Numbers Giving Freedom to Marry Ballot Efforts Advantage as Election Day Approaches

By Jill Barkley, ACLU of Maine & Meredith Curtis, ACLU of Maryland & Dean Jackson, ACLU of Washington & Jana Kooren, ACLU of Minnesota at 11:17am

With less than a week until Election Day, ACLU affiliates and their coalition partners in states with questions regarding marriage for gay and lesbian couples on the ballot are intensifying their efforts to make history next week. In Maine, Maryland…

The Freedom to Marry Hits the Airwaves

The Freedom to Marry Hits the Airwaves

By Jill Barkley, ACLU of Maine & Meredith Curtis, ACLU of Maryland & Dean Jackson, ACLU of Washington & Jana Kooren, ACLU of Minnesota at 10:43am

Two weeks ago we brought you news about the four states that have marriage-related ballot initiatives this fall. As the election quickly approaches, each of the campaigns in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington have begun running television ads…

The 2012 Freedom to Marry Ballot Initiatives: On the Ground in Four Key States

The 2012 Freedom to Marry Ballot Initiatives: On the Ground in Four Key States

By Jill Barkley, ACLU of Maine & Meredith Curtis, ACLU of Maryland & Dean Jackson, ACLU of Washington & Jana Kooren, ACLU of Minnesota at 5:08pm

Marriage for same-sex couples is on the ballot in four states this November, and it will be a pivotal moment for the LGBT movement. In Maine, Maryland and Washington voters have the opportunity to expand the freedom to marry to same-sex couples; and…

Minnesota Law Enforcement Can't Make Up Rules As They Go Along

Minnesota Law Enforcement Can't Make Up Rules As They Go Along

By Jana Kooren, ACLU of Minnesota at 5:04pm

Hennepin County in Minnesota created new restrictions just for OccupyMN that are not based on any existing laws or ordinances.

Challenges, Counting, Duplicates and Other Minnesota Recount Complaints

By Jana Kooren, ACLU of Minnesota at 6:10pm

"Challenge, identifying mark."

"Challenge, voter intent unclear."

Those words have been said over and over again throughout the three days I have observed the Minnesota Senate election recount thus far. I've learned quite a lot about how the parties play the game, and I have not always been pleased with what I saw. Pettiness, unnecessary challenges and new requests abound. By the end of my third day I was getting tired of it, and I'll bet the election judges were too.

In much of Minnesota, we use paper ballots where you fill in a circle next to a candidate's name. A challenge, if made, is supposed to be based on a campaign observer's belief that the election judge is counting the ballot for the wrong person. Let's say the voter made a mark in between the two candidates' circles and you couldn't really tell which candidate a vote was for — the voter's intent is unclear. And occasionally, someone puts their name or other information on a ballot that would identify who the voter is, and since we have anonymous voting in Minnesota, that identifying mark could disqualify their ballot. These are circumstances where you might legitimately expect a challenge.

How The Recount Process Works

By Jana Kooren, ACLU of Minnesota at 4:00pm

Wednesday, November 19, was the first day of the Minnesota recount for our very close U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) challenger Al Franken. At the end of the first count, it came down to…

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