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New tool gives Minneapolis voters peek at sample ballots

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: September 19, 2013 - 3:23 PM

Knowing who 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 that allows people to enter their addresses and view an exact copy of what they will see on November 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.

Candidates are listed in different, randomized order depending on the precinct of the voter. This reporter's precinct ballot (right) listed Captain Jack Sparrow first, followed by Jackie Cherryhomes.

Along with candidate names, voters are given their parties or "political principles."

Those principles are essentially a mash-up of candidate mottos: "Count All Rankings," "Police Reform," "End Homelessness Now," "Jobs & Justice," "The People's Choice," "independent responsible inclusive," "Stop Foreclosures Now," "Local Energy/Food," "Pirate Party," "We the people...," "Last Minneapolis Mayor," "Jobs Downtown Casino," "Demand Transit Revolution," "Simplify Government" and "Legacy-Next Generation."

The mayoral field would have been limited by a proposal to increase the filing fee from $20 to $500. The proposal, intended to dissuade frivolous candidates, was pulled by City Council member Cam Gordon, the author, after some expressed concerns about its timing so close to the election.

Jeanne Massey with FairVote Minnesota, which advocates for ranked choice voting, criticized the city this August for not increasing the threshold for candidacy to accommodate the lack of a primary. She advocated a signature requirement, rather than an increase in the filing fee.

Also on the ballot is a proposal to implement a new version of the city charter that is written in plain language.

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