Voter Voices: What matters to Minnesotans this election

Voter Voices across Minnesota | MPR News
Voter Voices
Amy Felegy | MPR News

The midterm election is here, and MPR News reporters and producers want to hear from Minnesotans: What’s on voters’ minds heading into the polls this year?

Voters across the state took to the microphone to answer candidly. This year’s new Voter Voices collection highlights dozens of unique views from Minnesotans on how the election shows up in their lives.

Do you have any voting traditions?

From donning the classic red “I voted” sticker to bringing their children along to their polling place, here’s what your neighbors adhere to when Election Day comes around.

A man wearing a cap and jacket stands for a full portrait
Imant Lisovskis poses for a portrait in Minneapolis, Minn. on Oct. 13, 2022.
Tim Evans for MPR News
Do you have any voting traditions?

Use the audio player above to hear from Jannine Provinzino of St. Cloud, Adam Mella of Grand Marais, Crystal Pierce of Brooklyn Center and Imant Lisovskis of Minneapolis.

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Are you voting? Why or why not?

To vote or not to vote: These Minnesotans explain, whether they do or don’t.

A Somali woman wearing a headscarf smiles for a photo
University of St. Thomas senior Anab Abdullahi poses for a photo inside the Anderson Student Center in St. Paul, Minn. on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022.
Ben Hovland | MPR News
Are you voting this year?

Use the audio player above to hear from Red Lake residents Gary Jourdain, Liz White and Tracey Kingbird; Anab Abdullahi of Plymouth and Sean Fisher of Collegeville.

Do you talk about politics with friends and family?

Hover over the icons on this interactive graph for more information about these voters.

"I talk to my peers all the time. Like, you can't go through your everyday life and just have the thoughts and feelings and just internal action. It needs to be external,” said Sean Fisher of Collegeville, Minn.

Do you talk about politics with friends and family?

Use the audio player above to hear Smith, Schulz, Fisher and Mella. Mary Kay Whorton of St. Cloud also participated.

What election issues are important to you?

A woman poses for a portrait
Sara Atkinson poses for a portrait holding candidate pamphlets in Rochester, Minn. on Oct. 19, 2022.
Ken Klotzbach for MPR News
"There's a lot riding on this." - Sara Atkinson, Rochester, Minn.

“I would like to see the United States as a country open up the drilling again so we are at least a player in the market,” said Steve Sorvig of St. Hilaire, Minn.

Voter Voices: What issues are important to you?

Use the audio player above to hear from Atkinson, Sorvig, and Michael Borromeo of Bemidji, Minn.

Do you think the election will be fairly decided?

“We need to make sure that people are legitimately able to vote to be voting, and I do think there is some of that fraud,” said Tim Carlson of Thief River Falls, Minn. “I think we need to definitely watch that.”

Bill Keitel poses for a portrait
Bill Keitel, 70, of Worthington. Keitel owns the Buffalo Billfold Company in town.
Hannah Yang | MPR News

Carlson, Sorvig, Kathy Kapoun of St. Paul and Bill Keitel of Worthington, Minn. offer their thoughts. Use audio player below to hear more.

Do you think the election will be fairly decided?

“The way some of the rules were changed so quickly in the 2020 elections, I think that does need to be looked at,” Sorvig said.

“I have confidence that all of our elections have been fairly decided,” Kapoun said.

“If there’s been some fraud, it’s been a couple of years now and I’m really excited to hear what it might be, because nobody’s presented anything yet. It’s a great way to garner votes from low-information voters,” Keitel said.

How important is party affiliation to you?

Weighing in are Minnesotans Melissa Kaycroft of Brooklyn Park, Matt Daluge of Brooklyn Center, Beta Raniradiani of Eagan, Melanie Carlson of Cannon Falls, and Gary Jourdain Jr. of Red Lake.

“I’m more willing to express my ideological affiliations rather than party affiliations,” Daluge said.

A person with shoulder length grey hair and sunglasses
Beta Raniradiani poses for a portrait in Burnsville, Minn. on Oct. 10.
Tim Evans for MPR News

“Now, if you ask me today, it doesn’t matter anymore. I really want to have somebody that is open-minded. If you’re intelligent enough, you don’t need a special book. Listen to your heart and think,” Raniradiani said.

“I vote for both parties. It depends on who the candidate is and what they stand for,” Carlson said.

A woman stands for a full body portrait inside a shop
Melanie Carlson poses for a portrait in Cannon Falls, Minn. on Oct. 10.
Tim Evans for MPR News
Voter Voices: How important is party affiliation?

What does the right to vote mean to you?

Grand Marais voter Peter Bird
Peter Bird of Grand Marais poses for a portrait on Sept. 24.
Ann Ward for MPR News

“I do sit most [elections] out, yeah. I do like to vote but it’s not something — I’m not voting in every election that comes around,” said Peter Bird of Grand Marais, Minn.

What does the right to vote mean to you?

“It’s something that we all need to take advantage of as Americans,” said Todd Smith of Grand Marais, Minn.

Use the audio player to hear from Bird, Smith and Jennifer Schulz, all of Grand Marais, Minn.

“No, I don’t talk to family about it just simply because … we have become such a divided country,” Smith said. “There’s no point in dragging that out because we’re each going to have our own opinion after everything’s said and done anyway.”

How do you get information about candidates?

“I like to research. I like to look into people’s backgrounds, like representatives and senators, how they voted. I like to be informed,” Jackson said.

Cynthia Jackson poses for a portrait
Cynthia Jackson poses for a portrait in Brooklyn Park, Minn. on Oct. 5.
Tim Evans for MPR News
“I guess I feel pretty set in my ways to where I’m not looking to hearing debates or anything to get a more firm stand. My stand is pretty much made,” one interviewee said.
How do you get information about candidates?

Use the audio player above to hear from Cynthia Jackson of Minneapolis, Jennifer Schulz of Grand Marais, LeEllen Pemberton of Red Lake, Imant Lisovskis of Minneapolis, Matt Daluge of Brooklyn Center and Timothy Carlson of Thief River Falls.