Meet Jeffrey Powell, running for Secretary of State in North Dakota
According to Jeffrey, this position has four main responsibilities. First, keeping records and processing business permits and licenses. The Secretary of State Office is the first place an entrepreneur registers a new business. Second, the management of information related to legislative action and the legislative process is displayed by the Secretary of State in an effort to make government more transparent. Third, the Secretary participates in Constitutional boards organized to manage state resources and help allocate grant money and designated support for schools and public programs. Fourth, and the biggest reason that drove Jeffrey to run for office, is his desire to make sure North Dakota’s elections are fair.
Jeffrey believes that many people have lost trust in elections as a whole during recent election cycles. One of his goals is to make sure that elections are managed properly so that people will gain back their sense of trust in voting and the personal power that comes with having the right to vote.
To put it simply, Jeffrey has a love for Democracy. He was involved in local politics during college and he did his graduate school dissertation on the political activism that surged in response to the second Iraq War. He was greatly impacted by the students at his university who were protesting the war and has since had a passion for politics. For Jeffrey, politics means, “us deciding together the direction that we are going to move into.” Jeffrey believes that the only way to protect democracy is to make sure that good people are getting their names on ballots and ensuring that there is fair and equal representation among leaders!
One of Jeffrey’s biggest goals is to see ranked choice voting become the main voting system in North Dakota. We learned that his state is unique in that they have house districts where the people can vote from 2 different House members from each district. At the moment, there is a Republican supermajority in the house and only 6 out of the 47 districts have a balance of 1 Republican rep. and 1 Democratic rep. Jeffrey informed us that this system creates a structure where one party is significantly underrepresented. Ranked choice voting would solve this structural issue easily and allow for more Democrats to get on the ballot, leading to more fair representation. Ranked Choice Voting isn’t just about party equity, it also delivers a benefit of encouraging candidates to appeal to different voter groups since they still would benefit from being a voter’s second or third choice. Without this system, candidates will likely only cater to their “side” and ignore the needs of other groups. We also found out that this system is a great way to make elections more civil and merit based because it would drive down negative advertising and discourage extreme, harmful views.
Jeffrey wants more people to realize that North Dakota is not as barren as some people think and that it is truly a beautiful place. He even told us something cool about the history of the topography there. Did you know that during the Ice Age, giant glaciers flattened the land in North Dakota? We didn’t either! Another great thing about Jeffrey’s state is that it has great soil and water resources for growing lots of crops. Even in the winter, Jeffrey appreciates the chill of the cold air and says it’s some of the freshest air he has ever experienced.
Jeffrey is a big fan of Star Wars, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica! He also loves to open his home and welcome rescue dogs into his family—who he names after his favorite Star Wars characters. Jeffrey’s final message is that he cares about Democracy deeply and sees it as his duty to make sure that he passes on a love of our country and a trust in the government to the next generation!