Nov 2, 2021 - Politics

Minneapolis voters to decide future of city's police department

Gold police badge partially covered by an "I voted" sticker.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The fate and future of the Minneapolis Police Department is in the hands of the city's voters Tuesday.

The stakes: Question 2, which would replace MPD with a new Department of Public Safety, could reshape policing in the city by lifting the mandatory minimum on sworn peace officers and giving the City Council more say over the issue.

The big picture: The murder of George Floyd by an MPD officer in May of 2020 made Minneapolis ground zero in a national reckoning over race and policing.

  • So it's no surprise Tuesday's vote has attracted national interest and attention, with those on both sides seeing the election as a potential watershed moment in the movement for police reform.

State of play: Campaigns for and against the measure have attracted millions of dollars and divided local officials and Democrats in Minnesota and beyond.

  • With little public polling available, it's difficult to predict how voters will break.

Between the lines: It's not just public safety on the ballot. The outcome of the mayoral race and all 13 City Council contests will have a major mark on Minneapolis politics and policy.

Plus: Two other measures on the ballot could also leave significant marks on the city's future.

  • Question 1 would upend the city's governance structure, shifting more power to the mayor, while Question 3 would give city lawmakers the ability to implement a rent control policy.

Be smart: We might not have final results for some candidate races tonight since ranked-choice contests can take longer to tabulate. FairVote Minnesota has released estimates for each of the five cities using the system this year.

The bottom line: Regardless of the results, Tuesday's election won't be the end of the debate over how to fix MPD and policing beyond Minneapolis. .


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