Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Majority in the Middle hosts election information events

 Minn. Secretary of State Steve Simon at a desk, in front of Minnesota flag.
Minn. Secretary of State's Office

Nonprofit group Majority in the Middle is holding a statewide free Zoom conversation Saturday, Feb. 17, from 10 a.m - 11 a.m. “Silly Questions Saturday – All About Elections” with Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.

MINNESOTA — It doesn't have to be contentious.

Our current political climate may feel like a game of tug of war, but nonpartisan group Majority in the Middle is working on ways to bring more civility to the scene.

The group’s executive director, Shannon Watson, recently joined Kari Hedlund and Heidi Holtan on the KAXE Morning Show.

"If the average Minnesotan really values bipartisanship, they need to let their elected officials know.”
Shannon Watson

“We are nonpartisan and we're really trying to overcome political polarization in the ways that we can,” Watson said.

“There's always going to be some division, but I think the concern that is coming to us from Minnesotans and Americans across the country is that our political divisions have sort of left the political arena and have seeped into our communities and our schools and our neighborhoods in a way that we haven't really seen before, at least in modern history.”

The group will host “Silly Questions Saturday – All About Elections” with Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon this Saturday, Feb. 17, at 10 a.m.

They will host a in-person "Silly Questions Saturday: On the Road in Wright County" at the Monticello Community Center on March 9, from 10:30 a.m. - noon.

One main question Watson believes Secretary Simon will address is, “What happens to my ballot after I vote?”

A woman with long white hair and glasses smile at the camera.
Majority in the Middle
Shannon Watson, executive director of Majority in the Middle.

“The Secretary of State's office does not touch the ballot. In Minnesota, the counties administer the elections, and so while all the numbers go to the Secretary of the State's office for reporting purposes, there's no office in Saint Paul where all the ballots are going," Watson explained.

Legislative session

The 2024 legislative session in Minnesota started on Monday, Feb. 12. Majority in the Middle wants to dispel the myth of partisan politics. According to Watson, bipartisanship does exist, despite what you may see on social media. Watson said, “I'm scrolling through [social media] this morning and it's already contentious and we're on day four of this session.”

When Watson talks with legislators, it is often a different story.

“I had multiple conversations, sort of behind closed doors, last year with legislators who say, ‘Yeah, I absolutely try to get along with my colleagues. I do some bipartisan work, but I don't talk about it in my district, because I will get a primary challenge.'”

“If you really want your elected official to go to St. Paul and do work across the aisle and get along... when you see that they are doing that, you need to communicate with them, that you appreciate that, that you value that. Because they get a lot of communication from activists and lobbyists and party people. So if the average Minnesotan really values bipartisanship, they need to let their elected officials know,” said Watson.

Find your elected officials here.

TEDx Silver Lake

Watson will speak at TedX Silver Lake in Virginia, Minnesota on Friday, Feb. 23. This event’s theme is “Crossing the Divide.” Her talk is titled “Why We’re Divided and What We Can Do About It.” Watson explained, “Actually, there's actually very little politics in there. There are some things that are sort of rooted in our evolutionary history as human beings and our psychology and our brain chemistry that sort of lead us to find divisions.”

However, there are steps we can take to “sort of bring down the temperature in their community,” Watson said.

One of simple thing is to remove campaign signs from your yard as soon as the election is over. “While candidates love to see their names all over the place, your next-door neighbor or your neighbor across the street or somebody down the road may not necessarily, and when we are all in sort of constant campaign mode and those signs are up all the time, it just highlights our divisions with each other.”

Majority in the Middle has a newsletter and more information at their website,

'Silly Questions'

What “silly questions” do you have about elections in Minnesota? Email us.

Listen to the full conversation from the KAXE Morning Show above.

And watch a video from ICTV with KAXE's Heidi Holtan, Shannon Watson and board member and former legislator, Sandy Layman.

Majority in the Middle

Stay Connected
Jennifer has worked at Northern Community Radio since 2006 and spent 17 years as Membership Manager. She shifted to a host/producer position in 2023. She hosts the Monday Morning Show and is the local host of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" a few days a week. She also writes public services announcements and creates web stories.
Heidi Holtan is KAXE's Director of Content and Public Affairs where she manages producers and is the local host of Morning Edition from NPR. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North.