Election 2021: Where to find information on who and what's on your ballot
Tuesday is Election Day across Minnesota. While there aren’t any statewide elections or decisions to be made, there are over 50 regularly scheduled local elections and dozens more special elections for voters to weigh in on.
To help you make an informed decision, here are a few sources and tools you can use to decide how you’ll be casting your ballot this year.
How to find what’s on your ballot
First off, you’ll need to know if there’s even anything to vote on where you live. The Secretary of State Office’s website is a good place to start. Search your address using their sample ballot tool to find the candidates and questions you’ll encounter at your polling place.
A big caveat here: Sample ballots aren’t available for all local elections, so if you search your address and nothing comes up, it’s a good idea to double check with your county’s election office or local government. You should also be able to find more information on where and how to vote on your city’s website or by using this statewide polling place finder.
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You can also use the Secretary of State’s website to find a full list of candidates who filed across the state and a spreadsheet of ballot questions submitted to the office — but again, this list may not be exhaustive.
Not registered to vote? No problem. Minnesota has same day registration so you can take care of that right at your polling place. Find what you’ll need to bring here.
Where to learn more about candidates and issues from trusted sources
MPR News: Our newsroom was able to go in-depth on several large issues this election. Minneapolis voters can find guides to the mayoral race, the public safety charter amendment, rent stabilization measures and the ‘strong mayor’ amendment. We also held an extensive discussion with an expert, a supporter and an opponent of St. Paul’s potential rent control measure. And, for the cities that use it, an explanation on how ranked choice voting works.
Sahan Journal: Our news partners at Sahan Journal have written several in depth profiles on diverse candidates around the state, they also have reporting on community support for certain measures and helpful explainers on the election process.
Pioneer Press: On the Twin Cities-based newspaper’s website you’ll find election explainers and candidate guides – notably, they sent surveys to city council and school board candidates in several metro area cities to help you get to know those running.
KARE 11: Also Twin Cities focused, voters living in Minneapolis or St. Paul can find guides to what they’ll find on their ballots this Tuesday.
MinnPost: One more for the Minneapolis-St. Paul voters – MinnPost has a collection of explainers, candidate guides and updates from the campaign trail.
Forum Communications: This media company runs several local newspapers around the state where you can find a variety of coverage on local races – including in Duluth, Bemidji and more.
How to know if a source is credible
As you seek out more information online or encounter campaign material in your everyday life, here are a few things to watch for.
First, identify the source of what you’re reading. Asking these questions can help: Was it written by a reporter, and if so, do you recognize the publication they work for? Does the newsroom have an ethics policy on their website? Do their articles cite and link off to the sources of important information? Are multiple viewpoints included in the article? Here’s a helpful guide with more tips for vetting a news source.
You may also encounter web posts or printed material directly from a candidate or supporter of a candidate or ballot measure. The information they share isn’t necessarily incorrect and can be useful for learning about different viewpoints, just keep in mind there are likely dissenting views and opponents that are also worth researching.
You should also use some of the same strategies for measuring credibility when looking at campaign material. Does the candidate or group provide a way to contact them for more information? If they receive outside funding, is it clear where the support is coming from?
For more strategies on evaluating election information, check out our initiative dedicated to fighting misinformation during the 2020 election, “Can You Believe It?”