GRAND FORKS -- Comparisons between the coronavirus crisis and the Flood of '97 are inevitable. Grand Forks city leaders are right to draw parallels between the flood and the covid crisis. Both shut down the economy and left the community empty – literally in one case, the consequence of rising water, and figuratively in the other, a consequence of social distancing.
During this pandemic, elections will change. After the pandemic, elections may never be the same. On Thursday, which was March 26, Gov. Doug Burgum waived a rule that every county must have at least one in-person polling place, opening the way for what amounts to universal absentee voting. This decision will be made by county governments. Commissioners in Grand Forks County didn’t waste any time. They voted Friday to conduct the June primary election by mail only.
GRAND FORKS — From campaigns to conventions to elections themselves, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to pile up against the political system.
GRAND FORKS -- What we have here is halfway public-spirited and halfway self-promotional – a kind of public service announcement with a personal motive behind it. On Sunday, March 1, the Grand Forks Historical Society will have another of its “Entertaining History” presentations. These are a feature of the winter season at the society’s headquarters and museum just off Belmont road. That’s the public service part of today’s column. The personal motive is that I’m doing the entertaining. I’d appreciate an audience.
GRAND FORKS -- The challenge to state House of Representatives powerhouse Jeff Delzer is not the only race of interest in the upcoming North Dakota primary. Political careers are on the line, and not Delzer’s alone. Newcomers have challenged him in District 8, a big swath of territory north and west of Bismarck.
GRAND FORKS — Everybody seems to have written off the Democrats in North Dakota, and since I can’t disagree, I may as well join in piling on. Probably things have not been as bad as this for Democrats since statehood. Here I should stipulate that I mean the portion of the political spectrum that Democrats represent. That allows inclusion of the Nonpartisan League years, when North Dakota’s political climate was perhaps the most radical in America – or at least the most successfully radical, even though almost all of the state officials were elected as Republicans.
GRAND FORKS -- Minnesotans began voting for president last week, the first Americans to do so. The brand, spanking new Minnesota primary election is underway. The primary is a good idea for a couple of reasons. It replaces a cumbersome caucus system and it gives Minnesotans bragging rights. Otherwise, and for many other reasons, it is a flawed notion.
The ongoing “big sort” at our house has turned up another piece of political paraphernalia, a copy of the North Dakota Publicity Pamphlet from 1962. Perhaps that’s the wrong term. “Paraphernalia” implies something that’s needed for a particular activity, in this case political activity. Voters decided more than 50 years ago that the pamphlet wasn’t needed, and a Progressive Era law that required it was repealed. The North Dakota Publicity Pamphlet became a piece of memorabilia rather than paraphernalia.
Here we are, six days and a few hours into another year, in a month named for a two-faced god who looks both forward and backward. Janus, that old goat, might shudder at the view in either direction as this new year dawns. There’s nothing to miss and little to look forward to.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The impeachment hearings change committee rooms this week, and that has potential to bring more prominence to North Dakota’s only member of the U.S. House of Representatives.