Full Election Results Delayed, Awaiting Ranked Choice Voting Tabulations

Ranked_Choice_Voting.jpgMany of the city council races in Bloomington and Minnetonka were decided by the end of Election Day. The first use of Ranked Choice Voting in those cities will delay the outcome in at least two races. The outcomes will not be known until Thursday, at the earliest, but most likely later.

In Bloomington, Nathan Coulter received 47% of the first-choice votes, short of a majority of the 15,196 votes cast in the At-Large City Council race. Thursday morning, the 3,394 ballots cast for Ric Oliva will be examined to identify how many second-choice votes were cast and for whom they were cast. Those second-choice votes will be added to the tallies for Nathan Coulter and Paul King. The candidate that has the highest resulting total will take the At-Large seat.

In Minnetonka, the Seat B on the City Council may or may not be decided after one elimination round. Kimberley Wilburn was the highest 41% of the first-choice votes, but would need at least 941 second-choice votes to take the seat. Daniel Krall’s 1130 ballots will be examined to identify to whom any second-choice votes were cast. It is conceivable that it might require Ash Patel’s ballots to be similarly reviewed before the Seat B race is concluded. The schedule for this process is not clear.

Back in Bloomington, the District IV City Council race was extremely close. The incumbent, Patrick Martin, tallied 50.02% of the first-choice ballots. If he had received one vote less than the 1,228 credited to him, this race would have gone to an elimination round. The interest in this race clearly led to a 37% greater voter turn-out over the 2017 contest for that district.

Many voters expressed frustration with the complexity of Ranked Choice Voting. Given the number of races in which there was a first-choice winner, the true impact of RCV is still to be determined. Not all elections in which RCV was used led to a decisive increase in turn-out. The number of voters participating in Bloomington’s 2021 At-Large race was only 88% of those of 2019, when a Mayoral contest was also on the ballot.

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Nov. 9 Hearing Set as MVA Appeals Decision on Partisan Absentee Ballot Boards

Gavel_law_background-close-up-court-1415558.jpgMinnesota Voter’s Alliance (MVA) sued the city of Minneapolis last year when the city decided to appoint 102 “deputy city clerks”, the “…vast majority of which were from one political party…”  to the absentee ballot counting board in Minneapolis.

MVA argued in court that this violates state statutes that require ballot counting boards to be no more than half from each of the major parties. In an email to Republican election judges, the city of Minneapolis stripped their authority to reject ballots and instead said that only ‘deputy city clerks’ would be allowed to do so.

The lower court ruled against the MVA suit on purely technical legal grounds. The court never considered whether Minneapolis’ appointing 102 “deputy city clerks” (mostly employees of the city, the vast majority of whom were of one party) actually raised the specter of ballots being accepted or rejected based on partisan considerations.  Preventing that was the Legislature’s purpose in requiring such boards to have equal numbers from each major party. MVA has appealed the ruling.

The outcome of the appeal could have a serious impact on our elections. If any city can “stack” absentee ballot counting boards with dozens of “deputy city clerks” appointed by the existing city councils from among the council’s own employees, the self-interest of the incumbent politicians makes the potential for bias in elections clear. Even if no shenanigans take place, the mere appearance of bias will shake public confidence in the election.

Both sides have filed legal briefs in the appeal and oral arguments on the case take place on November 9th at 9:30. The Appeals court website explains how the public can "attend" the electronic meeting - the link for the session will be available next week. SD49 newsletter will report the outcome of the case when a decision is handed down, which could be up to ninety days after oral argument.


Time to Collect Lawn Signs

Lawn_signs_collected_in_2020.jpgFor those of you who hosted candidate lawn signs, we thank you for providing visible support for some worthy candidates.  Now that the municipal and school board elections are over, it’s time to collect those signs and store them for another time.

We will be forming sign collection teams to sweep Bloomington this week and collect the signs and their mounting hardware. We could use help in covering all of the neighborhoods.  If you could donate a couple of hours, your time would be appreciated.  Please email us at [email protected] to let us know that you want to help.  We can give you more details when you contact us.

If you hosted signs and they are not collected by Sunday evening (Nov. 7), please let us know.  Write us at [email protected] and give us your address and the sign location (if you have moved it off of your lawn).  We would be happy to come by and pick up the signs and hardware.

We hope that you will be willing to display signs for our candidates again in the future.


Congratulations to Speaking Proudly Competitors, Winners

Speaking_Proudly_2021_Competitors.jpgOn October 23, thirteen high school girls from around the state participated in the Speaking Proudly oratory competition at the Minnesota State Capitol. The theme of the competition this year was “Toward a More Perfect Union.”

You can view all of the competitors and the winning speeches at the competition website CLICK HERE.

A Chisago City teenager, Lillian Rae Imm, took first place. A student at Liberty Classical Academy in White Bear Lake, she received a trophy and $2,000 prize for her eight-minute speech titled “Conservatives Silenced on College Campuses.”

Nova Tseng, an Orono High School student from Long Lake, won the second prize of $1,500 for her speech, “Polarization Is Hurting Our Nation.” Third place and a $1,000 prize went to Emily Paige Lawrence of Woodbury, a student at East Ridge High School, whose speech was titled, “The Fear Factor.”

A non-partisan, non-profit project of Metro Republican Women, Speaking Proudly is a biennial event. The next competition will be in 2023.


Southwest Light Rail (SW LRT) Construction Continues with Costs, Service Date Unknown

Light_Rail_image.jpgAs reported in July by Minn Post’s Adam Platt and more broadly publicized last week in an article by Janet Moore in the Star Tribune, the Met Council’s project to extend light rail 14.5 miles from Minneapolis downtown to Eden Prairie now has an unknown total cost and unknown delivery date.  Costs have blown past the initial budget and contingency budget dollars, and the rail will not be operational by 2023. 

The Met Council’s public website for the project continues to lie about total costs and expected first-passengers delivery date in the “Project Facts” and “Project Timeline” sections. 

The total costs may well be “$150 million to $200 million a mile” per Southwest project director Jim Alexander, quoted in the Star Tribune article.

To put this in context, adding a city freeway lane costs $15 million per lane-mile and repaving an asphalt street in our cities costs just under $1 million per lane-mile.   For every adult in Hennepin county, the LRT construction cost is $2900, just over 2-years-worth of round-trip fares for a daily bus rider and more than 3-years-worth of commute costs for a car driver on that route. If we divided the $2.9 Billion construction cost by the 17,000 daily rides, we could have just handed each of those expected commuters $170,000 and encouraged  them to hire a private driver.

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Max Rymer Resigns as MN Republican National Committeeman

Max_Rymer_Nov_2021.jpgMax Rymer announced his resignation as Minnesota’s National Committeeman in an email to State Central Committee delegates and alternates on October 28. He wrote:

“It’s been an honor, albeit a short one, to be your National Committeeman. It’s been my goal for roughly the past decade to help elect Republicans in MN. At this time, I feel I can best do this by stepping down as National Committeeman and working with causes outside of the party and candidates directly.

“I have full confidence in David Hann to lead the party forward and have committed to assisting him in his transition to the best of my ability. I will still see you all at conventions and knocking doors, etc… I won’t be your Committeeman, but I certainly won’t be a stranger.

“I look forward to electing someone who can step in and do a great job as Committeeman during our State Central Meeting in December.”

All state parties have three representatives to the Republican National Committee. They are the state party chair (David Hann), the National Committeewoman (Barb Sutter), and the National Committeeman. These three are members of the state party Executive Committee, which meets at least monthly. In addition, they are expected to attend meetings of the Republican National Committee and regional meetings as required. Currently, travel expenses incurred by the National Committeewoman and National Committeeman for these meetings are not reimbursed.

In Minnesota, the National Committeewoman and National Committeeman are elected by the State Central Committee for four-year terms. Sutter and Rymer were elected in May 2020.

Republicans interested in running for the open National Committeeman position should identify their intent in the near future so that they may be interviewed by the state party Nominating Committee before the December 11 State Central Committee meeting. The individual that is elected at the State Central Committee meeting in December will serve out the remainder of the current term, through April 2024.


Participate in Bloomington Planning by Nov. 7

Bloomington_tomorrow_together_stratgic_plan__logo_0.jpg

The final Bloomington. Tomorrow. Together. community "cafe" gathering is on Thursday, November 4, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m., at The Lounge at Mall of America. City staff will be asking for input on how the City should look and feel in the next three to five years. The event will feature small group conversations and refreshments. More details and registration information are available at Blm.mn/cafe21.

Can’t attend? Tell Bloomington your priorities for helping Bloomington continue to thrive via Let’s Talk Bloomington. Idea boards will be open through Sunday, November 7.

More information is available on the planning page at the city's websiteBloomington.Tomorrow.Together.


Meet Jeff Salovich: Bloomington School Board Candidate

Jeff_Salovich_Bloomington_School_Board_Candidate.jpgBloomington voters will be electing four school board members from a list of 10 candidates this year. Voters may select up to four of the candidates on their ballots. For additional information on some of the other school board candidates as well as city council candidates, CLICK HERE.

Here are some highlights of candidate Jeff Salovich.

Jeff Salovich graduated from Washburn High School in Minneapolis and is a long-time resident of Bloomington. He graduated from Dunwoody Institute’s HVAC Associates Program and completed the 5-year Pipefitter’s Local 539 HVAC Service Apprenticeship. Jeff has worked over 19 years as Pipefitter Foreman at the Minneapolis City Hall. He and his wife Amanda have four children who are either graduates of or currently attending Jefferson High School. Amanda is a paraprofessional  with the special needs program, working at Jefferson this year.

Volunteer Experience
• Youth sports coach 2004-20013
• Bloomington Athletic Association soccer coach, starting in 2017
• Leader of Hillside Church’s 3rd-4th grade Wednesday night youth group, with wife Amanda
• Co-leader Hillside Church;s 5th-6th grade Sunday School Class
• Buddy Break volunteer, working with special needs kids for a Saturday morning every month

Why is Jeff Salovich running?
• To be a School Board member unencumbered by endorsements from special interest groups or politicians
• To speak up for ALL children based on my life experiences
• To bring fundamental education back for the benefit of our kids first and then for our community and then the larger world of their future
• To be a proponent of civilized adult conversations about what is needed to improve public educational outcomes

Jeff Salovich’s priorities are
• Bring my 24-year experience as a parent to School Board decisions on educational matters
• Advocate for trades work and their integration into public schools
• Ensure that school classes stay neutral and on subject, not drift into things that cause division
• Emphasize success in class to help children grow into responsible adults
• Stand against any policies that cause divisions, and support those that promote common sense fixes

You may find more information about his campaign at his website jeffreysalovich.com.


Meet Stacy Cranbrook: Minnetonka City Council Candidate

Stacy_Cranbrook_Minnetonka_Council_Candidate.jpgMinnetonka voters will be electing a mayor and two city council members this year. All will be running at-large. Stacy Cranbrook is a candidate for Minnetonka City Council Seat B. For a listing of the Minnetonka City Council and School Board candidates and links to more information, CLICK HERE.

Stacy Cranbrook is running “to be the voice of common sense and reason to encourage positive change and growth within our city, while preserving and protecting what we have already created and love about Minnetonka.”

Background and Experience:
• Minnetonka resident for 23 years
• Two daughters who have attended Minnetonka schools
• Licensed Real Estate Broker, nominated as a “Super Real Estate Agent” by Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine
• Served on the Minnesota Association of Realtors Professional Standards Committee
• President of the Minnetonka High School Booster Club

Priorities
• Use Real Estate experience to make smart decisions regarding development
• Promote the features of the city that enhance quality of life
• Sustain the city’s park and trail system
• Support the people that live, and the businesses that thrive, in Minnetonka.

You may find more information about her candidacy at her website, votestacycranbrook.com.


Voting in Your Local Elections is Very Important

Blue_vote_box.jpgElections for School Boards and, in many locations, city council members, are underway. Sadly, these local elections garner less attention and interest than they warrant. The people that are elected this year will decide on municipal spending, property tax rates and utility fees, local ordinances, education policies, and school budgets.

The election this year is especially important because the pandemic has had a significant impact on tax revenues and pupil engagement.  What are your future city council and school board members going to prioritize in this new environment?  Is minimizing increases to taxes and fees important to them? 

On the other hand, if you choose not to pay attention and not to vote, you are allowing a committed minority of your neighbors to decide these elections for you.  Is that what you want?

There are good commonsense conservative candidates running for city council and school board in many of our local districts. We have listed several good Bloomington candidates on our website, as well as a short example ballot. If you want our recommendations, contact us ([email protected]) and we will be happy to help.

A note on the process of voting itself: up until November 2, voting may be done at city hall using absentee ballots. In Hennepin County, through the end of this week (Oct 23), those ballots will be sent to and stored by Hennepin County until Election Day. It is not clear to us at this point if Republican election judges will be present when Hennepin County counts these absentee ballots.

Starting October 25, the week leading up to Election Day, you may actually vote at city halls and feed your ballots into voting machines, just as you would if you voted at a polling place on Election Day. On Election Day itself, we hope that most polling places will have Republican election judges in place.



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