This summer the KIAA board was approached by The 612Sauna Cooperative to explore the possibility of bringing their innovative portable sauna to East Cedar Lake Beach for a weekend residency. We are happy to announce the MInneapolis Park Board granted approval and 612Sauna will be hosting Sauna sessions the last two weekends in October.
Sessions are limited to 7 individuals per hour. 612Sauna has reserved sessions at 4:00, 5:00, and 6:00 p.m. each day (October 21, 22, 28 and 29) for non-coop members to come experience the health and community benefits a good sauna can provide. The cost is $20 per person per session and reservations can be made at www.612saunasociety.com
Please sign up and bring a friend to enjoy a beautiful fall evening with a hot sauna and a Cedar Lake cool-down.
E-poll books debut this November
By Casey Joe Carl, Minneapolis City Clerk
In November, voters will find new technology in the polls. These are the electronic poll books, or EPBs, and they’re bringing a heightened level of service to Minneapolis voters. In a nutshell, these devices replace the bulky printed roster books used for voter verification and check-in at the polls on Election Day. As a result, EPBs help reduce long lines and wait times on Election Day.
Until now, election judges have been dependent on printed roster books containing lists of registered voters in a particular precinct. Expensive and cumbersome, these roster books required significant effort to produce and compile before Election Day, and an equal investment after Election Day to update voter history in the statewide registration system. The transition to an electronic roster not only expedites voter check-in and verification processes and makes it easier to look up voter data, but also saves money, makes post-election data updates faster and easier (and less prone to human error), and strengthens the integrity of the election.
Each EPB unit includes an iPad, a stand, battery pack, and a mini-printer. The iPads have limited functionality, tied specifically to the single purpose of checking, verifying, and—when necessary—registering voters. By limiting their functionality, the security of the voter data, access, and potential hacking is significantly minimized. Because multiple devices can be interconnected and working at the same time in a single precinct, the EPBs are able to synchronize voter data in real-time throughout the day, helping ensure the integrity of the election by preventing individuals from voting more than once.
EPB technology is currently deployed in 32 states, plus the District of Columbia. Last year, the technology was deployed throughout Hennepin County, with the exception of the City of Minneapolis. The EPBs worked well for other cities in the 2016 Presidential Election, and this year Minneapolis joins the other cities in using EPBs. The agreement with Hennepin County provides that the EPB hardware, software, operating equipment, license, and vendor support are all provided at no cost to the City. The entire EVS team completed training provided by the vendor, KNOWiNK, and is preparing specialized training programs for the City’s election judges. Training for election judges will be held in the months of September and October.
Be sure to look for the EPB in your polling place this year. We’re confident that this new technology will help ensure a successful, seamless, and positive implementation to improve service to our voters.
Make sure you’re “election ready” this year
On November 7, Minneapolis voters will have the opportunity to make their voices heard by ranking their choices for all municipal races; that includes: Mayor, City Council, Park & Recreation Board of Commissioners, and Board of Estimate & Taxation.
Remember, there are several ways to cast your ballot.
Since 2014, Minnesota voters have benefitted from “no-excuse” absentee balloting, which means any voter has early access to their official ballot. The absentee voting period this year begins September 22 and runs through November 6. That relates to Vote-By-Mail options as well as early in-person voting (see below).
Early Voting – In Person
This year, Elections & Voter Services will support in-person early voting at its Downtown Early Vote Center, located one block north of City Hall, at 217 S. Third Street. The Early Vote Center will be sufficiently staffed to ensure curbside support, translation and language assistance, and information to assure a smooth process for everyone choosing to take advantage of this voter convenience. The City will also offer extended in-person service hours in the two weeks leading to Election Day. That includes service hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the two Saturdays (Oct. 28 and Nov. 4) and from 12 to 5 p.m. on the two Sundays (Oct. 29 and Nov. 5), as well as extended weekday service hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, and then 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 6, the day before Election Day.
Early Voting – By Mail
Voting by mail is one of the greatest conveniences because it allows voters to cast their ballots from any location, with all the same security protections, without the hassles and pressures that can be associated with the narrow window of time on Election Day. Vote-by-Mail options also ensure voters who are actively deployed in the military, who are overseas and away from home, or who otherwise cannot participate in-person—for any reason—can still participate in the election. The City’s elections website has helpful instructions on how to request and complete an absentee ballot by mail.
Election Day – At The Polls
And, of course, voters can opt to go to their assigned polling place on Election Day to cast their ballot.
Preliminary results will be posted on Election Night to the City’s Elections & Voter Services website, at vote.minneapolismn.gov. If tabulation is required in any race, it will begin the following day and results will be posted continuously until all races on the ballot have been completed and unofficial winners declared.
No matter which option you choose, be sure to get involved, get informed, and participate in this year’s municipal election. Your voice is your vote, and every vote counts!
City Elections Turnout: 1993-2013
Minneapolis voters will go to the polls this November to elect their city leaders. Sadly, despite the fact that local government has a more significant impact on voters’ daily lives, turnout for municipal elections lags participation compared to state and federal elections. In recent years, that downward trend has worsened — in Minneapolis, across Minnesota, and throughout the nation. Research shows that declining participation in municipal elections skews representation in favor of whiter, more-affluent, older, property-owning voters. That disproportionate level of participation can result in policy priorities and outcomes that create disadvantages (or worsen existing disadvantages) for some communities and uneven prioritization of public spending, investments, and the allocation of resources.
In 2013, Minneapolis achieved a 33% turnout rate, which reversed a declining trend over the previous decade. Still, that level of participation is far lower than in previous years. For example, in 1997, Minneapolis achieved a 46.5% turnout rate. This year, we want to push turnout as high as possible. To support that goal, Elections & Voter Services is working to make access to the ballot as easy as possible. Here are some examples:
1. Get registered – or verify your registration status
You can’t vote if you’re not registered. You can register in advance using on-line tools from the Secretary of State, or you can register at the polls when you vote. Learn more about registration requirements.
2. Use your sample ballot to practice
Your sample ballot is the key to being prepared. It shows all races on the ballot exactly as they will appear on your official ballot. Here’s a pro tip: print your sample ballot and use it to review and make your decisions, then take it to the polls with you and use it as a guide in filling out your official ballot. You’ll save time that way, and reduce the potential for errors in the process. Sample ballots can be accessed from the website a few weeks before Election Day.
Vote early, at your own convenience, either—
§ Early In-Person: If you want, you can come to the City’s Early Vote Center and cast your absentee ballot in-person, get assistance in the process, and check this year’s election off your to-do list. The Early Vote Center opens Friday, September 22, and will be open Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., through November 6. Extended in-person service hours will be available in the final two weeks, so check the City’s website for more details about available hours at that time.
- By Mail: If you opt to vote by mail, then you have the luxury of completing your ballot from your favorite spot—the couch, the park bench, the bus, wherever. It’s up to you! Just be sure to follow the vote-by-mail instructions that are included with your packet and get your completed ballot submitted by no later than October 30 to ensure it’s received and counted in the final tally of results. To request and complete an absentee ballot application, visit our website.
3. Vote at the Polls on Election Day
Finally, you can go to your assigned polling place on Election Day (November 7) and cast your ballot. Again, remember to use your sample ballot to practice, and bring it to the polls with you to expedite the time spent in the booth completing your official ballot. Polls will be open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Check the EVS website for information about poll locations and other voter resources.
No matter how you choose to participate, it’s important to engage, to cast your ballot, and to make sure your voice is heard in this year’s election. Remember, it’s Your City. Your Vote.
Rank Your Choices: Easy As 1-2-3
2017 is a municipal election year, and that means time for Ranked-Choice Voting. RCV is easy as 1-2-3. You have the option of ranking the candidates in each race on the ballot as your first, second, and third choice (including the ability to include a write-in candidate). With RCV, voters choose the candidate they prefer, just like they would with a traditional ballot. However, they also have the ability to rank other candidates in the same race, if they wish. If a candidate receives a majority of first-place choices, that candidate wins. If not, the least popular candidate(s) is/are eliminated and the ballots for that candidate are divided among the remaining candidates based on a voter’s subsequent choices. That process continues until one candidate gains a majority of support. Or, in the case of multi-winner elections, until all seats are filled.
Minneapolis voters approved the use of RCV for municipal elections in 2006. It was first used in the 2009 Municipal Election and then again in the 2013 Municipal Election. In a 2013 post-election survey, 92% of participating voters knew they would be given the option of ranking their ballots and 82% of voters did so. Of the respondents, 87% found RCV simple to use and 81% indicated they understood RCV fairly or perfectly well. Those high marks reflect an informed electorate. In the end, a solid majority—53% of voters—said RCV should continue to be used for municipal elections in Minneapolis.
RCV fosters wider participation in political processes by expanding ballot access through a single, high-turnout general election in November. It also promotes greater civility in political campaigning, as shown in the 2013 election here in Minneapolis. And, most importantly, it increases choice and the strength of a voter’s voice in the electoral process. In order to prepare, the City’s Elections & Voter Services Division encourages you to review the educational materials available on our website, at vote.minneapolismn.gov, and to use your sample ballot to practice making your choices in each race. You can bring your marked sample ballot to the polls with you to help complete your official ballot, too. Election workers will be attending a number of community events this summer to help promote awareness and turnout for the municipal election on November 7. That includes education about Ranked-Choice Voting and the options it provides to all voters.