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Election Day 2015: Races to watch, what's on the ballot

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'I Voted' sticker in Denver
"I Voted!" stickers sit atop a ballot box at the Denver Elections Division Building in on Nov. 4, 2014.
Getty Images | File 2014

It's Election Day in Minnesota. 

The Minnesota Secretary of State's office says 28 Minnesota cities are holding elections, though Minneapolis won't hold a citywide election until next year. School boards and local offices dot the ballots of municipalities across the state.

Most polling places open at 7 a.m., and all are required to close at 8 p.m. Eligible voters can register at their polling place today with proper documentation.

School boards

Eight candidates for the St. Paul schools at forum
Eight of nine candidates for the St. Paul Public Schools Board of Education participated in a candidates forum with a sparse audience at Capitol Hill Magnet School in St. Paul in October.
Richard Marshall for MPR News

Voters in more than 50 school districts — including some of the state's largest — will be choosing school board members today, including:
• Anoka-Hennepin
• St. Paul
• Bloomington
• Mounds View
  • Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan
• South Washington
• Wayzata 
• Mankato
• St. Peter
  • Hastings

St. Paul's school board election looks poised to set up a new majority. Only one incumbent, vice chair Keith Hardy, is seeking re-election to the district's school board. 

The other three members up for re-election to the seven-member board declined to run, including two who dropped out after the DFL city convention in April rejected the incumbents and endorsed four challengers at the urging of the district's powerful teachers union and angry parents.

Among the district's chief concerns: Discipline, and falling enrollment. St. Paul's disciplinary policy shifted several years ago to cut suspensions and keep kids in school where they could learn. That's roiled the staff, students and parents. 

School levies

Apple Valley High School
The Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district, fourth largest in the state, is asking voters for $180 million.
MPR News | File 2012

Officials report more than 110 school levies are going before voters in dozens of districts today.

Fifty-three districts around the state will ask voters to OK new operating levies or renew current ones that help pay for teacher salaries, utility bills and other basics.

Forty districts are also seeking a total $1.8 billion in 50 separate requests to finance school buildings and other capital projects. In total, including requests made previously in the calendar year, 68 districts are asking for capital project or building bond levies. That's a record number going to voters in a single year, said Greg Abbott, director of communications with the Minnesota School Boards Association.

Citywide races

Joan Mattson voted on a mock ranked choice ballot
Duluth resident Joan Mattson voted in a mock ranked-choice election on Duluth tourist attractions at the Duluth Senior Expo in October.
Dan Kraker | MPR News

St. Paul's entire city council is up for election, as are open mayoral seats in St. Louis Park and Duluth. 

Duluth voters will also take up a ballot question on whether city elections should move to ranked-choice voting, which is already in place in St. Paul and Minneapolis. 

Ranked-choice voting lets citizens choose up to three candidates and rank them first, second and third among all the candidates in an election.

Legislature

House members sworn in
Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, and other members of the House are sworn in during the first day of the 2013 legislative session. Dill died in August.
MPR News | File 2013

Only three seats are open in the Minnesota Legislature, one representing northeastern Minnesota, another representing Anoka County and the third in Golden Valley.

The first of those elections will be held today, as District 46A voters choose a successor to Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, in a special election.

Next, voters in District 3A will head to the polls on Dec. 8 to fill the spot vacated by the late Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, who died in August.

In February, voters in Senate District 35, which covers part of Anoka County, will choose a successor to Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, who announced his resignation this fall. A special primary, if necessary, will be held Jan. 12 for the seat.

MPR News reporters Dan Kraker and Tim Nelson contributed to this report