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Hamline receives $500,000 for electoral reform project

A Hamline-led project to engage residents in electoral reform has received grant funding totaling nearly $500,000 from the Joyce Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Madison Initiative.

“While Minnesota has much to be proud of when it comes to politics and government, the state has failed to undertake any serious electoral reforms since the early- to mid-1990s,” said political science professor David Schultz, who is leading the project. “This has created a critical need for innovation at the local level.

“Our Citizen Assemblies will educate and engage residents to construct concrete electoral and reform proposals. We hope this will strengthen local governance and representation, as well as potentially provide blueprints for reform in other communities or at the state level.”

The project will bring together demographically representative assemblies of Minnesota residents in two or three local governments to discuss what electoral and political reforms can be developed at the local level to improve elections. Its goal is to enhance governance, representation, accountability, and the capacity of public officials to respond to the changing needs and demographics of their communities.

The Jefferson Center, led by Kyle Bozentko ’07, and ForgeWorks also each received $100,000 grants from the Joyce Foundation to partner with Hamline in this effort.

“This is a great opportunity to engage our citizens in finding solutions to real problems that affect the lives and futures of all residents in our state,” Schultz said.