The Pohlad family, the owner of the Minnesota Twins, are reminding Minnesotans to vote this year in more than 100 billboards and signs across the state.
The prominent Twin Cities family launched the nonpartisan statewide campaign with signs that say: “Who Wins Matters: Vote Nov. 6.” In the Twin Cities, Metro Transit said 80 of the signs are on light rail cars, bus shelters and buses, costing about $37,000.
The Pohlads didn’t publicize their effort, and it wasn’t immediately clear who was behind the signs. The billboards refer to a website that just has links to the secretary of state’s site for how to register to vote, look up your voter status, find your polling place and vote by mail or absentee ballot.
A Facebook page had little information, just saying the signage “supports voter registration and voter turnout.” And a business filing with the secretary of state’s office Oct. 5 listed a national registered agent, a St. Paul office and a Minneapolis attorney, who declined to comment.
But Metro Transit, a public agency, disclosed that the ads had been bought by Marquette Cos., which is owned by Pohlad Cos. The family’s spokeswoman said family members are funding the signs with the simple goal to encourage everyone to vote.
“The message speaks for itself,” spokesperson Denise Mallery said in the statement on behalf of Pohlad family members. “We worked hard to be nonpartisan, believing that voting is one of the most important rights as Americans.”
The brothers, Bill, Jim and Bob Pohlad, businessmen and philanthropists, have donated to both Democratic and Republican candidates, though more to Democrats, according to campaign finance records.
“I think it’s a great public service that they’re doing,” said Steve Simon, the chief elections officer as secretary of state. “It’s true — who wins matters. What makes this unique is the catchy phrase ... and the scope. It’s up all over.”
Every election draws get-out-the-vote efforts and some partisan messages to remind people to vote, but Simon said the Pohlads’ campaign is unique because it’s nonpartisan and so widely distributed. “This one has captured attention,” he said.
With the Nov. 6 election just a dozen days away, there are several competitive congressional races, the governor’s job and control of the Legislature up for grabs on the ballot. Minnesotans also can cast their vote by Nov. 5 with no-excuse absentee ballots and in person at city halls across the state.
The number of absentee ballots cast in Minnesota has already surpassed the early general election turnout at the same point in 2016, a presidential election year.