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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

April Common Ground E-Newsletter

2013 April 26

Bipartisanship – Topped with Cheese and Baked at 350, for About 45 Minutes

We here at Project Vote Smart often lament the lack of civility in Congress and in state legislatures across this nation. These days, it seems like nothing can get Democrats and Republicans in the same room. At least nothing that isn't cheesy and baked.


No, we're not referring to cheesy platitudes or half baked policy proposals, we're talking about the annual Minnesota delegation “Hot Dish Off”. Rep. Keith Ellison, co-chair of the Progressive caucus, and Rep. Michelle Bachmann, chairman of the Tea Party caucus, might not agree on a whole lot. But they're willing to set aside those differences once a year in the name of a time honored (three years old) tradition that highlights an important part of Minnesota culture and cuisine.


For those of you east of the Mississippi, or west of, say, the Rockies, or really just not from Minnesota – a hotdish is a casserole. Wikipedia makes the important distinction that these special casseroles “typically [contain] a starch, a meat or other protein, and a canned and/or frozen vegetable, mixed with canned soup.” You know, to differentiate them from all the other casseroles out there. These dishes are a big deal in Minnesota, with different specialties by region, and fiercely guarded recipes . Rep. Tim Walz, who won this years competition with his “Herman the German” recipe underlined the importance of hot dish in Minnesota society. As he explained to the Star Tribune, “This is bragging ...

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Sen. Max Baucus will not be seeking reelection in 2014

2013 April 23

As of this morning, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.,has joined an increasingly long list of senators that will not seek reelection in 2014.

Bipartisanship – Topped with Cheese and Baked at 350, for About 45 Minutes

2013 April 22

We here at Project Vote Smart often lament the lack of civility in Congress and in state legislatures across this nation.

Why Harry Reid Voted No - And Other Interesting Things from Wednesday's Vote

2013 April 19

After Wednesday's vote in the Senate on President Obama's proposed gun bill, the Internet was rife with mixed emotions.

A Vote Smart Guide to the Keystone XL Pipeline

2013 March 29

The Keystone XL Pipeline: it's been dominating headlines for what seems like forever...

March Common Ground E-Newsletter

2013 March 29

Click here to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter...

North Carolina Legislative Wrap-Up

2012 November 28

The North Carolina General Assembly has biennial sessions with a regular long session in odd years and a short session held on even years.

Campaign Finance Reform

2012 August 01

With the the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission Supreme Court ruling, parts of four decades of campaign finance regulation were ruled unconstitutional.  

Standing Your Ground Across The States

2012 June 12

The February 26 shooting of Trayvon Martin has ignited a media firestorm surrounding so-called “stand your ground” or “castle doctrine” laws in the United States. 

Testing Oregon CD-1 candidates' political courage

2011 December 12

Special elections typically are a result of unusual circumstances, scandal, or tragedy, and the race for Oregon's 1st Congressional district is no exception. 

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