Not knowing when to vote will cost you.

The general public can easily get behind a Presidential election. It’s glamorous, with all the political drama and intrigue to capture a nation. I get it. It’s easy to think that all the gloss will eventually come our way to make our lives better. But I am here to tell you, as an elected official in local government, it is our local seats that most affect your life. And if you don’t vote in a Special Election, someone could be in leadership you’re not happy with.

Local government is about your own backyard. While the state mandates many of the services counties must administer, it is your county board that sets the certified levy on property taxes and shapes staff culture. In Anoka County, that is a $300M annual budget with 2,000 employees. We are one of the biggest employers in the region and one of the areas we directly influence is our staff: hiring practices, pay grades and training.

The board may steer the county, but it is the staff who run it and work directly with community. Your tax dollars go to the systems and services to help our friends and neighbors get food, get jobs, have natural spaces, protect historic sites and artifacts, create meaningful library services—the list is lengthy and important things to govern.

In my 10 months in office, what I have concluded is the most important thing is not the long list of services—those have been and will continue to be addressed no matter who is in office. As I observe others and myself, the single most important factor in an elected official is this: How they will lead. What are the drivers behind their actions? And who do the actions benefit most?

Politics is about relationships and power and strategy. Each individual must decide how to develop and use them. I’m an idealist by nature and I protect my ideals. I grow diverse and strong networks to both learn about and execute my work. And I believe in representing others rather than imposing my will on them.

I got into politics to be the contrarian when the status quo works better for the elected leaders than for the people. I work hard to know where true north is—and I work even harder to stay the course. I strive to be aware of my biases and weaknesses and am also willing to be the lone voice to promote an open and clean government when needed.

For me, this is the best way to honor the trust my district has given me. For others, it might be something different.

Leadership style matters. And I would argue this is the single most important factor when choosing your local officials. The ethics, examination, and independent will of the people you vote into office will shape your community. And you have the power to create what that looks like.

You need only to show up.

Special Elections historically have a low voter turnout rate. They occur when a vacancy in office opens due to death, resignation, or if the elected official is no longer eligible to serve.

General Election Voter Turn Out Special Election Voter Turn Out
MN House 23B 75% (2018) 29% (2018)
MN House 11B 71% (2018) 24% (2019)
Lake County Commissioner District 4 62% (2014) 27% (2014)
St. Louis County Commissioner District 2 89% (2012) 39% (2013)

Stats courtesy of the Minnesota Secretary of State Office.

In Anoka County, the County Commissioner seat in District 6 became open after our former Board Chair, Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah, was appointed as our next County Administrator in a 4-2 vote on May 14th, 2019 (minute 58:25). Residents of Blaine (parts of Blaine), Centerville, Circle Pines, Columbus, Lexington, Lino Lakes and Linwood Township will have a chance to vote for their next County Commissioner in less than a month.

Six candidates have filed. The Special Primary will be held Tues. November 5th. The top two candidates will then go on to the general election held on Tues. February 11th.

Both election dates have early voting options. You can mail in an absentee ballot or vote in-person at your local City Hall or the Anoka County Government Center. Early voting for the Special Primary is September 20th- November 4th. Details can be found HERE.

If you prefer to vote on election day, you can find your polling place HERE.

There are numerous Special Elections going on throughout the state. To see all Special Elections in the state of Minnesota, you can go the Secretary of State.


Candidate interviews at North Metro TV

The Quad Area Chamber Candidate Forum

ABC League of Women Voters Candidate Forum

See more details about the race on our Anoka County Elections page.

Mandy Meisner is the Anoka County Commissioner for District 4 (Fridley, Columbia Heights, Hilltop and part of Spring Lake Park). District 4 is the most diverse district in Anoka County. You can connect with Mandy on Facebook.

This blog is not an official communication of Anoka County, and does not represent the opinion of anyone else on the Anoka County Board, Anoka County staff, or any other body Commissioner Meisner serves on.

View the original post. LINK