CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK: Voters can get a look at the two-sided ballot with its 35 mayoral candidates.
For Minneapolis voters, knowing whom you support for mayor may be half the challenge at the polls this Election Day. The other half will be locating them among a list of 35 candidates.
The Minnesota Secretary of State’s office posted a tool on its website Thursday (tinyurl.com/MNballot) that allows people to enter their addresses and view an exact copy of what they will see on Nov. 5.
The list of 35 mayoral candidates is the most stunning facet of the two-sided ballot. It’s the most mayoral candidates in city history, and ranked-choice voting has eliminated the primary — a normal winnowing process.
Not only will voters have to locate their first-choice candidate, but also their second and third choices. The complexity is partly why the city is gearing up with extra election judges.
Minneapolis officials are making staffing decisions for Election Day based on the possibility of a 75 percent voter turnout to ensure there are enough election judges at the polls.
The city’s elections director, Grace Wachlarowicz, on Thursday asked the City Council to approve a list of election judges for the city’s 117 precincts. The expected number of judges, 1,700, is based on a turnout of 75 percent.
Wachlarowicz said in an e-mail Thursday night that 75 percent is not a prediction, but a guide for determining the number of judges needed. “We are using a 75 % turnout to ensure to the best of our ability to have enough judges in the polls to serve the voters better” and overstaff rather than understaff, Wachlarowicz wrote.
While turnout reached 81 percent in the 2012 presidential and state elections, no municipal election in recent city history comes close to 75 percent. The nearest was 46 percent in 1997.
Despite unanimous support from the City Council, voters are split on City Hall’s ambitions to build a streetcar through the heart of Minneapolis, according to a poll conducted for the Star Tribune.
Just 39 percent of likely voters said they would support a plan to spend $200 million on a streetcar line along Nicollet and Central avenues; 36 percent oppose it. The council voted this June to divert about $60 million in city property taxes to the project, while other funding sources remain unidentified. About 24 percent of respondents said they were not sure about the project.
The poll of 800 likely voters, conducted Sept. 8-10 by Pulse Opinion Research, has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points.
The more things change
In 1992, then-Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew told the Star Tribune, “I despise fundraising. It’s truly the most repugnant thing I do as an elected official. It’s the closest thing to a shakedown that I can describe in politics.”
Andrew has been out of office for a while, but his feelings haven’t changed much two decades later — despite being the lead fundraiser in a mayoral race of 35 candidates this year.
“I’m in the middle of groveling for money,” said Andrew, when a reporter called him on an unrelated matter this month. “It’s a Kafka-esque experience … it’s unbearable.”