Judge to consider arguments on wording of Minneapolis public safety ballot question
The legal battle over a ballot question about public safety in Minneapolis continues, and a judge will consider arguments made Monday.
KSTP’s Eric Chaloux reports a Hennepin County judge said Monday she will take arguments under advisement.
A decision has not yet been made on the latest ballot question language.
A lawsuit argues the question’s wording is still too vague, even after the city council approved new language last week.
Update: Hennepin County Judge says she will take arguments under advisement, no decision made today on fate of MPLS Charter vote on Public Safety. For now, it’s still on the ballot. Early voting begins later this week. https://t.co/YlX882hOjV— Eric Chaloux (@EricChalouxKSTP) September 13, 2021
Time is running out, and this is not the first time this group of residents has asked a judge to weigh in on the proposed ballot question.
The group’s attorney says the question is not only vague but also misleading.
"I think everybody who is arguing on both sides of this wants the question to be fairly put before the voters, but to put it fairly before the voters, the voters have to understand what they are talking about and being asked of them, and this question just doesn’t do that, so that’s the problem," attorney Joseph W. Anthony said.
Despite the city council re-writing the ballot question with an explanatory note last week, Anthony says it’s not enough.
The Minneapolis City Council passed ballot language that would remove the police department and replace it with a department of public safety.
In the new explanatory note, the council added wording that it would have a commissioner approved by the council.
Instead of having a police chief, it could include police officers with no minimum funding requirement.
The group Yes 4 Minneapolis—made up of community groups—originally gathered signatures to allow voters to decide how law enforcement looks in the city.
A spokesperson behind the ballot question said she’s praying that voters will get a chance to be heard.
"They are so worried that people will actually make a choice to get out of the cycle of inaction, and take a true progressive step forward into a place that actually allows everyone to be safe and they want to remove that choice from them, and that’s exactly what this attempt is," Minister JaNaé Bates said.
Yes 4 Minneapolis did say police officers will be a part of the new department of public safety if passed but pointed out the city council would have the final say on how that would look.
Early voting in Minneapolis is set to begin on Friday.