“Minnesota’s practice of democracy is far from perfect. But it affords average citizens a greater measure of political clout than they have in many other states. Two-thirds of donations to Minnesota legislative candidates in 2012 came in increments of $250 or less, a share second among the states only to Connecticut.

For that, credit is due an ingenious 40-year-old public campaign finance scheme that provides refunds for small donations to candidates for state offices and allows those candidates to voluntarily limit special-interest contributions and total spending in exchange for taxpayer-provided campaign cash.