Seeking youth vote, ‘Buck’ Humphrey visits campus

Andrew Pritchard

Hubert “Buck” Humphrey IV, grandson of the late Vice President Hubert Humphrey, greeted members of the age group least likely to vote as they returned to classes Tuesday outside Willey Hall.

The DFL-endorsed secretary of state candidate passed out literature telling students how to register for next Tuesday’s primary elections and the Nov. 5 general election.

“A lot of folks were generally interested,” Humphrey said.

The 32-year-old said his age puts him in a unique position to advocate for young voters and help bridge the gap to political involvement.

“It’s theirs,” he said of young voters and democracy, “and it’s free, it’s cool, it’s fun.”

Current Republican Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, who is seeking re-election, said she has also tried to get young voters involved in politics.

“Their constant moving makes it very difficult for these students,” she said.

Kiffmeyer said that during her term she has created and distributed an “Elections 101” brochure, spoken on college campuses and helped students build “peer knowledge” by recruiting college students as election judges.

Students can also access election information on the secretary of state Web site, www.sos.state.mn.us, but she said many students have told her they would rather read election information on a campus bulletin board than go to the Web site.

Kiffmeyer said she encourages colleges to establish such bulletin boards and promote them during student orientation.

Humphrey said Minnesota should adopt a “no-fault balloting” policy, under which voters do not need to declare a reason before receiving absentee ballots.

“My campaign is about making democracy more convenient,” he said.

If elected, Humphrey said he would also promote wider awareness of Minnesota’s same-day voter registration law.

Currently, any U.S. citizen at least 18 years old who has been a Minnesota resident for 20 days before the election can vote, except felons deprived of their civil rights and those declared legally incompetent.

Voters can obtain voter registration cards from government offices, public libraries and the secretary of state Web site.

Otherwise, eligible unregistered voters can register at the polls on election day with one of several forms of identification, such as a Minnesota driver’s license, or another photo ID with a recent utility bill.

Campaign notebook

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty released his education agenda at the State Capitol on Tuesday.

The state House majority leader from Eagan plans to replace the Profile of Learning with “more rigorous” basic standards, use performance as one factor in determining teacher pay, provide “report cards” on every school and promote parent involvement and mentorship for at-risk children.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report