Taglocal elections

Minneapolis group submits signatures for Nov. 2 initiative to replace police department with department of public safety

On April 30, Yes 4 Minneapolis submitted over 20,000 signatures for an initiative to repeal and replace provisions in the city charter governing the police department. This initiative would remove language concerning the city’s police department from the city charter, including provisions requiring minimum funding for the department and giving the mayor control over the department. It would replace the police department with a department of public safety. Under the initiative, the mayor would nominate—and the city council would appoint—the commissioner of the public safety department.

A total of 11,906 valid signatures—5% of votes cast in Minneapolis in the last statewide general election—are required to put the initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot. The city clerk has 10 days to verify signatures after the city’s charter review commission considers the measure at its May 5 meeting.

The city council is also considering a potential 2021 charter amendment concerning the structure of the city’s police department.

In 2020, the city council approved a measure for the ballot to remove the police department from the city charter and replace it with the department of community safety and violence prevention. The 2020 measure would have given the city council, rather than the mayor, control of the department. The Minneapolis Charter Commission did not send the proposal back to the city council until after the city council’s deadline to add the measure to the November 2020 ballot. This effectively blocked the measure.

In 2021, Ballotpedia is covering local ballot measures concerning police oversight, the powers and structure of oversight commissions, police practices, law enforcement department structure and administration, reductions in or restrictions on law enforcement budgets, law enforcement training requirements, and body and dashboard camera footage. Ballotpedia has tracked five certified measures in 2021 so far. 

Voters in Austin and San Antonio, Texas, decided police-related measures on May 1. Austin voters approved a measure to authorize the city council to determine how the director of the Office of Police Oversight is appointed or removed. San Antonio voters rejected a measure that would have repealed local authority for collective bargaining with the San Antonio Police Officers Association to negotiate wages, healthcare, leave, and other policies. 

In 2020, Ballotpedia identified 20 notable police-related measures in 10 cities and four counties within seven states that appeared on local ballots. All 20 were approved.

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Voters pass measure making Lubbock, Texas, the largest city in Texas to ban abortions

Voters in Lubbock, Texas, approved Proposition A by a vote of 62% to 38% on May 1. The measure amended city ordinances to ban abortions within the city and to declare Lubbock a Sanctuary City for the Unborn.

Twenty-two other cities in Texas and two in Nebraska have also banned abortions by city ordinance. Lubbock is the largest city and the only city with an active abortion clinic to do so. 

Proposition A was put on the ballot through a citizen initiative signature petition. Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn needed 3,651 signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. On October 13, 2020, the group submitted 4,526 valid signatures.

At least three states—Kansas, Kentucky, and Montana—will vote on statewide ballot measures concerning abortion in 2022.

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Arlington mayoral election heads to runoff

Jim Ross and Michael Glaspie advanced to a runoff from the seven-candidate field in the general election for mayor of Arlington, Texas, on May 1, 2021. Ross received 47.9% of the vote and Glaspie received 21.3% of the vote. Marvin Sutton, the third-place finisher, received 15.1% of the vote. The runoff election will take place on June 5. According to pre-general campaign finance filings, Glaspie and Ross led in fundraising, raising $47,537 and $264,712, respectively as of April 23, 2021.

Incumbent Jeff Williams (R) could not seek re-election due to term limits, leaving the position open. Mayoral elections in Arlington are nonpartisan, meaning candidates appeared on the ballot without party affiliations. 

Ross owns a law firm and a local restaurant. He previously worked as an officer with the Arlington Police Department and served on the board of directors for the Arlington Police Foundation. He received endorsements from Mayor Williams (R) and former Mayor Richard Greene. He was also endorsed by four of the city’s police unions.

Glaspie was a member of the Arlington School Board from 1991 to 2008. He represented at-large District 8 on the Arlington City Council from 2012 to 2019. When he left office due to term limits, Glaspie had been serving as Arlington’s mayor pro tempore. He received endorsements from former Mayor Elzie Odom and The Dallas Morning News.

Fort Worth mayoral election heads to runoff

Deborah Peoples and Mattie Parker advanced to a runoff from a 10-candidate field in the nonpartisan general election for mayor of Fort Worth, Texas, on May 1, 2021. Peoples received 33.6% of the vote and Parker received 30.8% of the vote. Brian Byrd, the third-place finisher, received 14.7% of the vote. The runoff election will take place on June 5.

Incumbent Mayor Betsy Price announced on January 5, 2021, that she would not run for re-election. Mayoral elections in Fort Worth are nonpartisan, meaning candidates appeared on the ballot without party affiliations. 

Peoples is the Chair of the Tarrant County Democratic Party and previously worked as a business executive. She was endorsed by U.S. House Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D), The Collective PAC, Grassroots Law Project, and Higher Heights PAC. As of April 21, she raised $286,180 and spent $238,351.

Parker is an educator and previously worked as the chief of staff for the Fort Worth Mayor and City Council. She was endorsed by Mayor Price, former Mayor Mike Moncrief, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and The Dallas Morning News. As of April 21, she raised $1,033,304 and spent $834,823.

Ann Zadeh, Daniel Caldwell, Mylene George, Mike Haynes, Cedric Kanyinda, Steve Penate, and Chris Rector also ran in the election. They made up the largest mayoral candidate field in at least a decade.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg wins re-election

Mayor Ron Nirenberg won re-election in a 14-candidate nonpartisan general election for mayor in San Antonio, Texas, on May 1, 2021. Nirenberg received 61.9% of the vote. 2019 challenger Greg Brockhouse received 31.5% of the vote. No other candidate received more than 2% of the vote.

In the lead-up to the election, media coverage focused on Nirenberg, Brockhouse (who previously ran against Nirenberg in 2019 and lost by 2.2% in the runoff election), and Denise Gutierrez-Homer. Brockhouse and Gutierrez-Homer both disagreed with Nirenberg’s response to the pandemic, including mask mandates and business restrictions. Proposition B, a ballot measure repealing local authority for collective bargaining with the San Antonio Police Officers Association to negotiate wages, healthcare, leave, and other policies, was also an issue in the race. Nirenberg said that the issue was best left to voters, while Brockhouse and Gutierrez-Homer both opposed it.

The mayor is a member of the city council. He or she presides over council meetings and official city ceremonies. The mayor also represents the city on the state, national and international levels.

Eight incumbents win re-election, three more head to runoffs in Dallas City Council races

The city of Dallas, Texas, held general elections for city council on May 1, 2021. Eight of the 11 incumbents running for re-election won outright in the general election. Another three incumbents and three open-seat races advanced to a runoff election on June 5. 

The incumbents to win re-election were Chad West (District 1), Casey Thomas II (District 3), Jaime Resendez (District 5), Omar Narvaez (District 6), Tennell Atkins (District 8), Paula Blackmon (District 9), Adam McGough (District 10), and Cara Mendelsohn (District 12).

The runoff election matchups are:

• Jesse Moreno and Sana Syed in District 2

• Incumbent Carolyn King Arnold and Maxie Johnson in District 4 

• Incumbent Adam Bazaldua and Kevin Felder in District 7

• Jaynie Schultz and Barry Wernick in District 11

• Leland Burk and Gay Donnell Willis in District 13

• Incumbent David Blewett and Paul Ridley in District 14

Councilmembers Adam Medrano (District District 2), Lee Kleinman (11), and Jennifer Staubach Gates (District 13) did not run due to term limits.

Austin voters approve five of eight measures, including a sit-lie ordinance, changes to police oversight office, ranked-choice voting

On May 1, voters in Austin approved five measures and defeated three.

Proposition A was approved 81% to 19%. It requires the city and firefighters association to participate in binding arbitration.

Proposition B was approved 58% to 42%. It prohibits and creates criminal penalties for sitting, lying down, sleeping outdoors, and soliciting money at certain times and in certain areas of the city.

Proposition C was approved 63% to 37%. It gave the city council authority to determine who appoints the Office of Police Oversight. Currently, the director of the Office of Police Oversight is appointed by and reports to the city manager. Proponents of Proposition C said that it would allow the city council to make the office more independent.

Proposition D was approved 66.5% to 33.5%. It moves mayoral elections to presidential election years.

Proposition E was approved 58% to 42%. It establishes ranked-choice voting for city elections if ranked-choice voting is allowed by state law. Currently, Texas cities hold runoff elections when no candidate reaches the required majority vote threshold for victory. According to the Austin Law Department, ranked-choice voting is not permitted under Texas state law. A spokesperson for the department said, “Ranked-choice voting would not be implemented in Austin until or unless the Texas Constitution was amended and/or until the state Legislature amended the Texas Election Code to allow it.”

Proposition F was defeated 14% to 86%. It would have changed the city from a council-manager system, with the city manager as the chief executive officer, to a strong mayor-council system, with the mayor as the chief executive officer.

Proposition G was defeated 43% to 57%. It would have added a city council member and a new council district. Proposition F and G were designed to work together to keep the city council the same size since the mayor is currently a member of the city council but Proposition F would have removed the mayor from the city council.

Proposition H was defeated 43% to 57%. It would have created a public campaign finance system that provided up to two $25 vouchers to each registered voter to contribute to the campaigns of any qualified candidate.

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Filing deadline approaches in Lansing, Michigan

The filing deadline to run for elected office in Lansing, Michigan, is on April 27, 2021. Prospective candidates may file for mayor and the following positions on the eight-seat city council: the Ward 2 seat, the Ward 4 seat, and two at-large seats. 

The primary is scheduled for August 3, 2021, and the general election is scheduled for November 2. 

Ballotpedia comprehensively covers elections in the 100 largest cities in the United States by population. We also cover elections for mayor, city council, and district attorney in state capitals outside of the 100 largest cities. Lansing is the capital city of Michigan. 

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Ballotpedia covering elections across 22 counties and 70 cities in 2021

Ballotpedia covers local elections in America’s 100 largest cities by population and in the counties that overlap those cities. Our coverage also includes mayors, city councils, and district attorneys in the 32 state capitals that are not already part of our largest cities coverage. 

In 2021, Ballotpedia is covering municipal elections in 22 counties and 70 cities, including 43 mayoral elections. Click here for more information!

Anchorage, Alaska local ballot measure recap

Unofficial election results indicate that voters in Anchorage, Alaska approved nine measures and defeated two measures on April 6.

Anchorage voters defeated Proposition 1, a $6.9 million bond measure for construction and renovation of local facilities, with 53% against and 46% in favor.

Proposition 2 was approved with 54% of the vote. Proposition 2 authorized the city to issue $1.15 million in bonds to fund renovations for the Anchorage Senior Activity Center, Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center, and Loussac Library.

Proposition 3 was approved with 53% of the vote. It allows the city to issue $5.3 million in bonds for transportation projects.

Proposition 4 was approved with 54% of the vote. The measure authorized an increase in the municipal tax cap, not exceeding $5.32 per $100,000 in assessed value, thereby generating an estimated $1.8 million annually. The revenue will be used to purchase for the Anchorage Police Department computer-aided dispatch, record-management, and digital-evidence management systems, in-car and body-worn cameras, and related technologies and services.

Proposition 5 was approved with 57% of the vote. It authorized $36.425 million in bonds to fund roads and storm drainage capital acquisition and renovation of related capital improvements in the Anchorage Roads and Drainage Service Area.

Proposition 6 was approved with 54% of the vote. The measure authorized the city to issue $4 million in bonds to fund parks and recreational services.

Proposition 7 was approved with 60% of the vote. The measure authorized the city to issue $1.95 million in bonds to fund acquiring a replacement fire ladder truck and making AFD facility improvements and related capital improvements in the Anchorage Fire Service Area.

Proposition 8 was defeated by a vote of 48% in favor to 52% against. The measure would have authorized the city to issue $3.9 million in bonds to fund acquiring new APD replacement fleet vehicles and related capital improvements in the Anchorage Metropolitan Police Service Area.

Proposition 9 was approved with 55% of the vote. The measure authorized the city to annex select areas in the Blue Beary Estates Subdivision to the Bear Valley Limited Road Service Area.

Proposition 10 was approved with 66% of the vote. It was designed to de-annex Alpine Terrace Subdivision Block 2, Lot 6 from the Upper O’Malley Limited Road Service Area.

Proposition 11 was approved with 57% of the vote. The measure de-annexes Creekview Estates Subdivision, Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 from the South Goldenview Rural Road Service Area.

Between 2017 and 2020, there were 29 bond issues on the ballot in Anchorage. Of those, 26 were approved.