MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A judge has ruled that part of a ballot question that will soon be before Minneapolis voters on the future of the city’s police department must be rewritten.
The proposal has become a key issue in the November elections and has drawn national attention — and money — as citizens decide the future of public safety in the city following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.
Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson on Friday instructed the city to remove an explanatory note outlining details of the proposal before voters, the Star Tribune reported.
“The proper function of the ballot is to assist the voter in easily and accurately identifying what they are voting on,” Anderson wrote. “Even in service of this principle, attempts to enlighten voters on good faith issues may create an unfair advantage one way or the other if extraneous information is allowed.”
The political action committee, Yes 4 Minneapolis, circulated petitions earlier this year and gathered enough signatures to place a proposal before voters. The mayor and City Council were to determine the wording that will appear on the ballot.
City officials approved ballot language asking voters if they want “to strike and replace the Police Department with a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach, and which would include licensed peace officers (police officers) if necessary, to fulfill its responsibilities for public safety.” It referred voters to an attached explanatory note providing more detail.
Yes 4 Minneapolis sued the city, arguing it didn’t have authority to include the explanatory note and that the language was “misleading.”
Anderson said the city can include explanatory notes, but that the wording for this particular proposal was “problematic.”
The city attorney’s office said it was reviewing the order to determine its response.
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