In any election year, getting educated on who and what among (in the case of this year's elections in Minneapolis) 102 candidates and three charter amendments to vote for can feel like a part-time job. 

But this year the stakes are much higher than usual, with decisions to make that will shape the future of public safety and policing, as well as the very structure of city government. Layer on top of that the calculus of ranked choice voting, then throw in climate change, rent control, pandemic recovery, and the future of how the city manages growth, and the equation is pretty simple: High stakes * high uncertainty = anxiety. 

“Nervous,” “scared,” “dread,” “worried,” “confused,” “uneasy,” “unclear, annoyed”—these are the words readers have shared via text message (text ELECTION to 612.204.2887) and an online survey to describe their feelings in the run-up to election day on November 2nd. 

“The charter amendments sound like gibberish to me,” says one reader. “I feel uninformed, mostly because of my own lack of research,” says another. Totally understandable! 

"We are so divided over what we need for this city and how to get it,” writes another Southwest Voices reader. “Voting either way could have major consequences for our safety and the welfare of our neighbors.”

But some readers encouraged their neighbors to consider their vote in a more forward-looking context: As an opportunity to make once-in-a-generation decisions about the city's direction.

“I feel the city is having an important and historic discussion about issues like criminal justice, race, governance and more,” says one reader. “Meanwhile most of the rest of the state seems to be freaking out about us. Calm down and let us work out these tough issues and know someday, hopefully, you will have the guts to consider deeper change too.” 

Yet another reader writes: "I am approaching this election with a strong racial and social justice lens. I’ve lived here all my life and during the murderapolis mid 80s. Nothing we are doing, since then, has changed ... and change, although difficult and a little scary, Is needed."

Difficult. Scary. Could also describe how many feel about voting. We're working to help make it less difficult and scary—by answering your questions, offering up simple voting guides, and reflecting back what we’re hearing from the community so you can take the temperature of how your neighbors are thinking through their votes. None of this will take away the pressure of doing the work required to perform a key civic duty, but it will, we hope, help you gain a sense of agency at an important moment in this city’s history.