Let’s be honest, this Tuesday’s election is not exciting. Few elections are except for those among us who are politically obsessed. But unless you’re a municipal law lawyer, this one is particularly boring because Minot’s Home Rule Charter is not something you care about.
And have you read the ballot language? Yikes. I’d rather read assembly instructions for my refrigerator.
That said, it is a really important election. We each have a responsibility as keepers of our government to get informed and cast our vote. Our vote is our voice, and unless we use it, there is no way those in charge will ever hear our message.
And though we’re not voting on it this Tuesday, the message you’ll be sending when you head to the polls is about City Council reform and the future of Minot. But before we can cast that vote, we need to first give ourselves legal permission.
On February 1st, City Council made their intentions public. If voters approve the Home Rule Charter changes on Tuesday, then they will put the question of reforming Minot’s City Council from 14-members elected from Wards to 6-members (plus a voting Mayor) elected at-large on June’s primary election ballot. It’s a proposal that would bring our elected government in-line with other large communities in North Dakota.
Now, City Council reform is a controversial topic. There is no way we’ll all agree on a plan for Minot. But the one point where we can find common ground is that it’s OK to let voters’ voices be heard. That won’t happen unless the proposed charter changes are approved.
As I said at the start, it’s not exciting, but it is important. So treat this Tuesday’s election like a sound check before a performance. Before you can really sing in June, you’re going to have to grab the mic and give it a ‘check’ ‘check’. And when you do that on Tuesday, I encourage you to put those ‘checks’ in the ‘yes’ boxes on both questions.
Note: If you’re looking for more information on City Council reform in Minot, the best source is the #MakeMinot website, even if it isn’t completely unbiased. And so you know, I have been an ardent supporter of City Council reform in Minot since before it was a thing.