As regular readers of Star Tribune Opinion now know, the Editorial Board has taken a stand on dozens of election contests and voting issues during the current election cycle.
We have approved candidates and indicated our preference on political issues in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Anyone wishing to review our positions will find them at startribune.com/opinion.
By tradition, we do not defend candidates or causes on the last day or two before polling day. The election is Tuesday. Today we limit our advocacy to this:
Whoever your preferred candidates are, however how you would like to see your city’s policies change, vote. The issues, the circumstances and this moment in the life of our cities demand it.
There are important decisions to be made. How we protect ourselves, how we govern ourselves, how we choose where to live – these questions are about what it means to be a city, what it means to be a community.
Seventeen months ago the events in Minneapolis caught the world’s attention. When George Floyd died below the knee of a police officer, he ushered in a period of racial reckoning and widespread debate about the future of the police. We have seen how it played out on the streets – in protests and spasms of violent unrest.
How could this calculation be expressed in the ballot box? This is the opportunity to find out. And it’s a chance for voters – who may have felt helplessly shaken by the events of the past few months – to have an impact.
A staggering number of 24 candidates are running for mayor of one city or another. In Minneapolis, dozens of candidates are vying for 13 city council seats, not to mention those vying for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and Board of Estimate and Taxation, as well as the St. Paul School Board. .
Numbers like these mean the election pie is thinly sliced - so thin that individual voters can make a significant difference in the results. This is especially true with ranked voting, which gives people a chance to influence which races their favorite candidates won’t win.
Regardless of who comes out on top, high voter turnout can help heal a community. A voter who goes to the polls is a citizen who has invested efforts in the future of his city.
A big screening on election day is a demonstration that the people who live here care about the policies and the people who guide us. Whatever their differences, they agree that city life matters. They have that in common, and it’s worth something.
Municipal elections generally generate a lower turnout than midterm or presidential elections. About half of Minneapolis voters turned out in the 2017 election compared to the 2020 presidential election. But consider this: turnout in that presidential election was higher in Minneapolis than in the state as a whole, even if Minnesota’s turnout was the highest of the 50 states. Clearly, Minneapolitans can vote in impressive numbers for an election they think is important.
This election matters.
If you are voting by mail and have not yet returned your ballot, you have until 3 p.m. on Tuesday to deliver it to your county election office. If you plan to vote in person, check out the Secretary of State’s handy search tool at pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us. Polling stations can change from year to year, so it’s best to check. Most open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
Could you run into long lines? For a municipal election, probably not – but we can always hope.