Test ballot: How do you like them apples?

  • Article by: KIM ODE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 23, 2013 - 2:57 PM

Test ballots are meant to instruct, but that doesn't mean they also can't amuse.

So, how do ya like them apples? (In order of preference.)

Minneapolis voters recently received an instructional flier for the city’s first election that will use ranked choice voting. The test ballot, of course, can’t use actual candidates’ names. (And names, and names.) So instead, the ballot lists apples.

There is Haralson (of the Apple Party,) Honeycrisp (of the Classic Party) and Regent (of the Cold Hardy Party).

The idea came from a staffer in the city’s office of elections and voter services, said its director, Grace Wachlarowicz.

“As early as last January or February, we were already designing the ballot, how it would look,” she said.

The use of fruit-based candidates actually dates back to 2009, when a test ballot was devised for the city of Mini-Apple. (Rimshot!) That one covered all potential races, with the Board of Estimate and Taxation candidates represented by local grapes (Frontenac Gris, La Crescent), Parks and Recreation commissioners by flowers (hollyhocks, wave petunia) or fish (cisco, salmon) and council members by biome (deciduous forest, prairie grassland).

“There’s no back story to this,” Wachlarowicz added. The categories just are what they are.

Nor is the idea unprecedented. Several years ago, the Green Party of the United States cobbled up a test ballot, with candidates represented by ice creams. Thus, there was Chocolate (civil rights activist), Neopolitan (immigration rights activist), Soy-Based Vegan Ice Cream (disability rights activist) and Apple Ginger Vegan Sorbet (natural health-care practitioner).

All this talk about food brings to mind that old line about laws being like sausages. (“It is better not to see them being made.”) □

 

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