Do you remember early voting in the 2016 cycle? The satellite precincts, the increased early voting, and the ease in voter registration did not happen by accident. As Chair of Minneapolis Elections and Rule Committee, I led to make sure that voting - a fundamental right for our democracy - was not only protected, but enhanced. While many states enacted draconian voter restriction laws and gutted early voting in order to disenfranchise people of color, younger, and lower-income voters for political purposes, I fought to ensure that Minneapolis expanded voter access by adding four new early voting precincts. Because of this early voting expansion, the percentage of people that voted early quadrupled from 7% in 2012 to a record breaking 28% this past election. Overall, more people in Minneapolis voted in 2016 than in any election in history.
I also authored and passed an ordinance requiring landlords to provide their new tenants with voter registration forms and information after they move in. In a city where more than half our residents are renters, who skew younger and less white than the population as a whole, it is imperative that we all do our part to ensure no one is deprived of their right to vote simply because they moved.
But we have to do more than commend ourselves on the progress that we’ve made. This past election, too many voters in our Somali community faced unduly long lines because not enough translators were available at polling places in communities like Cedar-Riverside. As mayor, I will fight to make sure that we invest the resources needed to ensure that people of all backgrounds are empowered on Election Days, and all days in between.