Off-Year Elections Give Opportunity To Really ‘Make Our Voices Heard’
Residents in Golden Valley took to the polls on Election Day with key council races and a sales tax referendum on the ballot.
Voters will choose a new mayor, two city council members and whether to add a sales tax that would help allocate resources for the improvement of public facilities.
If passed, the proposed 1.25% local sales tax would apply to all taxable retail sales within the city. The funds would then go on to construct new public works buildings and headquarters for both the police and fire departments.
With such impactful measures on the ballot, voters like Dennis Konn believed the time to act was now.
“It’s time to change things,” he said. “Right now they got to buy some land for the future and the police department and the fire department are in need of help. There’s been a lot of turnover.”
While Minnesota has seen high voter turnout numbers for the presidential election, off-year elections see a large drop off in the number of voters at the polls. This wasn’t the case for Deb Kemp who shared her views on why she went to vote at Sanburg Middle School Tuesday morning.
“It’s our duty as citizens to vote whether it’s presidential or not,” she said.
Kemp stated that she was interested in voting for a mayoral candidate who shared her values and was worried about public safety which motivated her to vote.
Off-year Elections ‘Make Our Voices Heard’
Ethan Litman, an election judge at Sandburg Middle School, stated that he took on the role to find more ways to participate in democracy. He shared his sentiments on why he sees off-year elections as being more important than presidential year elections.
“Every vote matters whether it’s mayoral, city council, or presidential. I do say that these off-year elections matter more because fewer people are voting so it’s a more important time than ever to make our voices heard,” he said.
The focal point of this year’s election in Golden Valley is the two-way mayoral race between Roslyn Harmon and Gillian Rosenquist as current mayor Shep Harris decided against seeking re-election. Both candidates have touted their leadership experience and their aims to address public safety issues regarding staffing challenges among officers.
Harmon is the current executive director of the Dispute Resolution Center which provides restorative justice programs through the Ramsey County court system. Rosenquist has served on the Golden Valley City Council for six years and has a past in community organizing. If elected, Harmon would be the city’s first Black mayor.
Voters will also decide on two new council members. Candidates Jean Kidd, Maurice Harris and Sophia Ginis are all vying for the positions.
Abdi Mohamed reporting