Brief Guide to Ensuring Your Vote is Counted in Minnesota

A federal court ruling less than a week before the election has put in doubt the instructions that Minnesota voters have been given about mail-in ballot deadlines. While the decision is ambiguous, here’s the bottom line: an election day postmark may no longer be good enough to have your vote counted.

Republican judges (and USPS delays engineered by the Trump administration) are creating unnecessary confusion and an additional burden on voters, but here are a few simple things you can do to make sure your vote is counted.

Don’t return your ballot in the mail. Drop it off at a location designated by local elections officials. In Minneapolis there are 13 drop off locations. Here’s ballot drop off information for those outside Minneapolis.

If you have already returned your ballot by mail, track it using the Minnesota Secretary of State’s ballot tracker website. If the website says your ballot has been received, you can be sure it will be counted.

If you mailed your ballot, but it has not been received by your local elections office, all Minnesotans still have the option to vote in person — either at an early voting site or on election day. Likewise, if you still possess your absentee ballot and don’t wish to vote by dropping it off, you can still vote in person. In both of the above cases, your mail ballot will be voided and your in-person ballot will be counted instead.

Find an early voting or election day polling place

If you live in Minneapolis: https://vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/vote-early-in-person/

If you live outside Minneapolis: https://iwillvote.com/

Mapping the 10 Landlords Suing the City of Minneapolis Over Renter Protections

There are 10 landlords (spread across 43 legal entities) suing the city of Minneapolis over tenant screening restrictions passed by the City Council last year. The ordinance limits how far back a landlord can look into a tenant’s criminal or eviction history. It also prohibits the use of credit scores or insufficient credit history as a criteria to eliminate prospective tenants.

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2021: The “Defund Police” Election in Minneapolis

On Sunday, nine members of the Minneapolis City Council stood together on a stage with the words “Defund Police” draped across the front in giant letters. At a rally organized by Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block, City Council President Lisa Bender told the crowd, “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed… Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it.”

While this amounts to a veto-proof majority of the council, the nine haven’t yet developed or agreed to a specific plan to “Defund Police.” But the police murder of George Floyd has convinced them once and for all that MPD doesn’t actually make everyone safer — and is so broken that it can’t be reformed. The nine council members have committed to a year-long engagement process to determine how to replace the city’s broken system of public safety. This timeline puts the issue square in the middle of a city election year.

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Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon is Growing a Beard

We’ve had a lot of time on our hands over the last month and a half. Many of us have spent more time with our electronic devices. Some people have picked up other hobbies. Instead of growing virtual fruit trees in the smash hit life-simulation video game Animal Crossing, Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon has grown a beard.

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New Speed Limits, Signage, & Traffic Signal Timing Arriving in Minneapolis

With piles of data backing up the idea that slower is safer, Minneapolis and St. Paul are implementing lower speed limits. Both cities are setting lower speed limits using authority newly granted by the state legislature.

In Minneapolis, limits of 25 mph on arterial streets will take effect as the new signs are installed. Streets considered “residential” will have limits of 20 mph limits, but won’t get their own signage. The 20 mph limits will take effect once gateway signs for drivers entering the city are installed in the fall. County and state controlled streets will remain unchanged at 30 mph or greater.

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What’s the Truth About Public Housing in Minneapolis?

It’s difficult to sort out what’s true about public housing in Minneapolis. Even if you’re a person who keeps up with the news. Just look at all the corrections issued to articles written about the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority over the course of a few weeks last year.

You could sense some frustration about this public confusion from Tracey Scott, MPHA’s interim director, when she came to the City Council’s Housing Policy & Development Committee last week. The committee was about to vote on whether to ask MPHA to delay an action that Scott felt was necessary to bring in millions of dollars a year in desperately needed funding for public housing. Scott spoke forcefully against it. She said the resolution was based on a “deliberate campaign of fear and misinformation.”

Though the resolution failed in committee 5-1, it sparked an important conversation.

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St. Paul Makes Big Change, Despite Voting to Keep Things Mostly the Same

Yesterday was election day in St. Paul. Here’s the results. Five of seven seats on the City Council have returning incumbents. Rebecca Noecker (62%), Chris Tolbert (61%), Mitra Jalali Nelson (59%), Amy Brendmoen (53%), and Jane Prince (62%). All won by virtue of surpassing 50% of first choice votes after the election night count. Two seats remain up in the air.

In Ward 6, Nelsie Yang has what looks like an insurmountable 17 point lead (44-27%) over Terri Thao. In Ward 1, incumbent Dai Thao leads Anika Bowie 42-30%; Liz De La Torre is in third place with 19%. Final results might take a while: Ramsey County is scheduled to begin reallocating voters’ ranked choices on Friday.

Voters citywide came out in favor retaining St. Paul’s organized trash ordinance by a 63-37% margin. If organized trash was a candidate, it would have been the most popular candidate on the ballot last night.

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