Watch CBS News

Election Day: Polls Open With Important Races, Issues On Ballots In Twin Cities

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It's Election Day, and polls are officially open.

Voters will make major ballot decisions in the Twin Cities.

READ MORE: WCCO's 2021 Election Coverage

In Minneapolis, that includes the fate of the police department, who will be the next mayor and just how much power that person will have.

Across Minneapolis, 134 polling precincts opened at 7 a.m. The city is expecting a large turnout, considering participation in early voting doubled the amount of turnout four years ago in the last city election.

The city clerk said that at the end of the business day Monday the city had accepted 28,831 early ballots by mail, in person, overseas from military members and from voters who have been served with ballots from nursing homes.

The city clerk says this means participation in this election is already 140% higher compared to the last one in 2017.

The items on the ballot that have the most attention going into election day are the mayoral race and the ballot question about the future of policing in Minneapolis.

Mayor Jacob Frey is seeking re-election in a field of 17 candidates.

WATCH: WCCO's Minneapolis Mayoral Debate

The decision Minneapolis voters make over keeping the police department as is or reimagining it as a department of public safety, which would include social workers and mental health experts on staff, is getting national attention.

This year's already impressive turnout is likely because of these big issues on the ballot as well as the improvement in voting accessibility.

"The early vote continues to be very popular and grow every year," City Clerk Casey Carl said, "and in the aftermath of last year, plus the competitive nature of the votes up and down the ballot in all our races, and three pretty important ballot questions that our voters will decide, I think has driven our competition this year."

While this is a record high early voting turnout, 90% of registered city voters could still vote Tuesday.

Two other ballot questions include rent control and changing the powers of the mayor. The city clerk said the results of all three ballot questions will be determined Tuesday night, because they are a simple yes or no answer. But the winners of some of the races could take extra time for re-tabulation if they are too close to call on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Minneapolis Ballot Guide: Controversial Public Safety Ballot Question

"I would expect those results to be uploaded to the secretary of state's website as soon as 8:30 and would probably be done as late as 9:30 or 10, so we should have all results, at least my expectation is sometime around 10 p.m. unless there are some technical challenges that we experience on Election Day," Carl said.

Results will come in the same order that they are on the ballot, with the mayoral race results coming in first and park board results last.

Polls close at 8 p.m., but they will remain open until the last person in line that shows up by 8 p.m. votes.

Voters in St. Paul will also be making some big decisions Tuesday.

There are eight names on the ballot in the mayor's race.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter launched his re-election bid in January. He grew up in St. Paul and first became mayor in 2018. His first term saw riots, the pandemic and a record year for gun violence. He says he wanted his campaign to focus on connecting communities with resources to overcome those challenges. Others vying for the seat held by Carter include Miki Frost, Dino Guerin, Bill Hosko, Dora Jones-Robinson, Paul Langenfeld, Abu Nayeem and Scott Wergin.

On Friday, several landlords held a press conference in St. Paul, speaking out against the ballot measure on rent control. On Tuesday, voters will decide whether or not rent increases should be capped at 3%. It's on the ballot as the residential rent stabilization ordinance. Landlords say it would stifle new construction of affordable housing. Supporters for the measure say it will protect people from being forced out of their homes due to big rent increases

Voters in St. Paul are also picking school board members Tuesday.

Mayoral races in both cities use ranked choice voting. That means when you cast your ballot you can rank your first, second and third choices. If you feel certain about one person, you can just pick one candidate. The winning candidate must secure 50% of the first choice votes to come out on top.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.