On campus, students work to get out the vote ahead of midterm elections

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St. Olaf students and Americans across the country will be heading to the polls on Nov. 8 to make their voices heard in the highly contentious 2022 midterms. Minnesota’s 2nd district, home to Northfield and St. Olaf College, has become a highly competitive race for incumbent Congresswoman Angie Craig. In a recent poll of likely voters by SurveyUSA, Craig led by only one point with 46 percent support, while 45 percent of those polled backed Republican Tyler Kistner.

The Kistner-Craig race, like others across the country, has been characterized by negative representation of opposition. Kistner has sought to paint Craig as an anti-police candidate, prompting her to push out a slew of ads demonstrating her endorsements by law enforcement officers and organizations. Craig, by contrast, has worked to represent Kistner as a pro-life extremist. Kistner describes himself as “pro-life” while supporting exceptions for rape, incest, and dangers to the mother’s life. Kistner has declined to support or oppose a 15-week national abortion ban proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Brock Lawhead ’23, President of St. Olaf College Leftists, sat down with the Messenger for an interview regarding the 2022 midterms and the organization’s voting guide. Outside of his role in the student organization, Lawhead as well as Leftists Vice President India Bock ’23 serve part-time paid roles with the Minnesota DFL as campus organizers.

“I think that for students on this campus, since the Dobbs decision, it’s very much been a focus on

reproductive rights and justice, especially when most states around us have either outlawed abortion or are on that track . . . [College Leftists] see that as a very important issue. Something that we have also been talking a lot about in our organization is the snowballing of unions right now. . . I think that’s something that hasn’t been emphasized as much by Big Media.” Lawhead said regarding political priorities in this election. Lawhead described reproductive rights, labor issues, and the state of American democracy as his “Big Three” issues this year.

Lawhead described his concern for “potentially catastrophic” secretary of state elections across the nation that would put the Republican party in a stronger position to contest legitimate election results, as Donald Trump did in the wake of his 2020 defeat. Moore v. Harper, an upcoming Supreme Court case regarding independent legislator theory, the notion that state legislatures cannot be constrained by state supreme courts regarding election conduct and the selection of electors. “I don’t think we can rely on [the Supreme Court] them to really keep our rights secure” Lawhead said.

Lawhead also stressed the need to legalize marijuana in Minnesota, moving beyond the idiosyncratic legalization of edibles earlier this year, as well as releasing inmates and expunging arrest records of those convicted of non-violent non-trafficking marijuana possession charges.

In addition to support for Craig, Lawhead expressed Leftists’ support for Davin Sokup, running in the non-partisan race for City Council, and Keith Ellison for Attorney General. The Leftists’ voting guide also suggests voting “yes” on both questions on the ballot this year regarding the local school district.

 

emmons1@stolaf.edu

 

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