Bloomington and St. Louis Park voters will decide Tuesday which City Council candidates will be on their general election ballots in November.
Residents will cast ballots for an at-large council seat and the District II seat in Bloomington, and the First Ward seat in St. Louis Park. The primary election will narrow each race to the top two choices.
Polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Aside from the at-large seat, only residents who live in the precincts served by those council seats can vote in those races.
“I would encourage residents to check their registration status and where their polling location is,” said Melissa Kennedy, city clerk for St. Louis Park.
Michael Arulfo, Nathan Coulter, Susan Woodruff and incumbent Kim Vlaisavljevich are vying for Bloomington’s at-large seat. Lenny Klevan Schmitz, Cheryl Lewis and Shawn Nelson are challenging incumbent Eldon Spencer, appointed to the council in February, for the city’s District II seat, which represents Bloomington’s southwestern precincts.
Steve Kaplan, Margaret Rog, Brian Shekleton and Zaylore Stout are the candidates for St. Louis Park’s First Ward, representing the city’s east side. The incumbent, Council Member Sue Sanger, is not running.
Local chapters of the League of Women Voters hosted candidate forums in July for both cities. Candidates shared their views on everything from green spaces to immigration and economic growth.
Many of the candidates sit on city commissions or have served on them in the past.
Tuesday’s vote will be the last municipal primary election for St. Louis Park, as the city considers adopting ranked-choice voting.
In May, the City Council voted to eliminate local primaries in an effort to reduce election costs and resources. The city has held only nine primaries since 1975.
The amended law won’t go into effect until Aug. 16, meaning it won’t apply until the next municipal election in 2019. All candidates will then appear on the general election ballot.
When the amended law was first considered in April, council members decided to explore the possibility of ranked-choice voting, a system followed by Minneapolis and St. Paul.
In the ranked-choice system, voters rank candidates from most to least preferred. If the top candidate doesn’t secure more than half the votes, the lowest-ranked choice is eliminated and the choices are counted again.
The council will continue to discuss the issue.