MN Supreme Court: Votes Will Be Counted On Minneapolis Public Safety Ballot Question

16September 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Supreme Court has determined that votes will be counted in the controversial Minneapolis public safety ballot question this fall.

The court reversed a lower court order which required local election officials to provide a notice instructing voters not to vote on the question.

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The challenge on the ballot question, the Supreme Court ruled, “does not meet the high standard” previously set. Chief Justice Lorie Gildea added that an opinion will be issued on a later date as to not impair the voting process.

The ballot question would ask voters whether the city should replace its police department with a department of public safety. The Minneapolis City Council approved new ballot language last week after a judge overruled the previous question.

The proposal has its roots in the “defund the police” movement that gained steam after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody last summer, but it leaves critical details about the new agency to be determined later.

The question has prompted a back-and-forth between the city, Minneapolis residents, and the courts over the past few weeks.

READ MORE: ‘All Around Me Is All This Chaos’: North Minneapolis Residents Say They’re Living In A War Zone

Yes4Minnneapolis, the group that seeks to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department in its current form, said the referendum would simply give power to the city council to decide the future of policing in Minneapolis.

But another group, which includes former City Councilman Don Samuels and his wife Sondra, have argued that the wording of the question – even in revised editions – has been unclear.

On Monday, a Hennepin County Judge struck down the ballot question, saying that the wording was “unreasonable and misleading.” But the city appealed the ruling, and Yes4Minneapolis and Don Samuels submitted their arguments Wednesday, with Samuels arguing that the decision should be upheld.

The Supreme Court was under pressure to rule quickly because early and absentee voting opens Friday in the Minneapolis municipal elections, and ballots have already been printed.

If you are curious about which questions will be on your ballot this fall, click here.

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This is a breaking news story. Check back with WCCO.com for more.


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