Election Day 2017 | Minnesota Public Radio News

Election Day 2017

Voters across Minnesota have a chance to vote for mayors, city council and school board members today. Here's a look at what's on the ballot in your area and what's happening at polling places across the state.

    Transgender woman wins Virginia race, makes history

    A transgender woman has unseated one of Virginia's most socially conservative lawmakers to become the first openly transgender member of the House of Delegates.

    Democrat Danica Roem beat Republican incumbent Bob Marshall in Tuesday's election in the northern Virginia district near the nation's capital.

    Marshall has served in the House since 1992 and has been a lightning rod for controversy. He has often drawn the ire of even his own party.

    Roem is a former journalist. She will make history as the first openly transgender person elected and then seated in a state legislature. But her gender identity wasn't a key part of her campaign. Instead, she focused on jobs, schools and northern Virginia's traffic congestion.

    Voters supportive of Anoka-Hennepin school measures

    "I would say with a high level of confidence that both of our questions passed," Anoka-Hennepin School District superintendent David Law said just before 9 p.m. Tuesday night.
    With 27 out of 32 precincts reporting in the state's largest school district, both ballot questions had about two-thirds support. The Anoka-Hennepin school district is seeking $9.5 million a year for ten years in operating money and a $249 million bond issue for facilities upgrades.
    "With these passing we're going to build two new elementary schools and get rid of 62 portable classrooms across our system within the next 4 years," Law said. He said funds will also go toward security upgrades and lowering class sizes.
    -- Solvejg Wastvedt, MPR News

    In Minneapolis, Andrea Jenkins gets historic council win

    MPR News file photo by Evan Frost
    DFLer Andrea Jenkins has clinched the Ward 8 Minneapolis City Council seat.
    Jenkins is the first transgender person to win a council seat in a major city. She succeeds Elizabeth Glidden in representing several neighborhoods in south Minneapolis.
    Elsewhere in the U.S., Danica Roem won a seat in Virginia's statehouse on Tuesday, becoming the first transgender person in the nation to hold such an office.
    However, Jenkins said Tuesday night that she wasn't so focused on the historical nature of her campaign — she was focused on the issues and winning the election.
    Once in office, Jenkins said public safety, police accountability, the "affordable housing crisis" and economic development will be her focus.

    Duluthians vote in favor of sales tax increase

    Duluth voters appear to have overwhelmingly backed a half-percent increase in the local sales tax to fund improvements to city streets.With most precincts reporting Tuesday night — though absentee ballots not yet counted — the tax proposal had garnered more than 75 percent of the vote, according...
    Results are coming in for the Minneapolis mayoral race. Here are the percent of first-choice votes received by the top five candidates with 133 of 134 precincts reporting:
    Raymond Dehn -- 17.24%

    Jacob Frey -- 25.05%

    Tom Hoch -- 19.32%

    Betsy Hodges -- 18.11%

    Nekima Levy-Pounds -- 15.01%
    Here are the current results from St. Paul's mayoral race. These are the top five candidates' percent of first-choice votes with 95 of 96 precincts reporting:

    Elizabeth Dickinson -- 4.76%

    Melvin Carter -- 50.91%

    Dai Thao -- 12.30%

    Tom Goldstein -- 3.83%

    Pat Harris -- 24.82%

    Maine OKs Medicaid expansion in first-of-its-kind referendum

    PORTLAND, Maine  — Maine voters on Tuesday approved a measure allowing them to join 31 other states in expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the signature health bill of former President Barack Obama.

    The referendum represented the first time since the law took effect that the question of expansion had been put in front of U.S. voters.
    Some 11 million people in the country have gotten coverage through the expansion of Medicaid, a health insurance program for low income people.

    The vote in Maine was a rebuke of Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who vetoed five different attempts by the state Legislature to expand the program. It follows repeated failures by President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress to repeal Obama's law.

    "This is an exciting night in Maine, but also an exciting night for the country," said David Farmer, spokesman for pro-expansion Mainers For Health Care. "Voters have made it clear they want more health care, not less."

    For supporters and opponents of "Obamacare," Maine's question took on the form of a referendum on one of the most important pieces of the Affordable Care Act. And it was taking place in a politically charged atmosphere with GOP efforts to undermine, or repeal, the health overhaul.

    Here in the nation's Northeast corner, the issue was personal to many in a rural state that has the nation's oldest population and the region's lowest wages.
    Passage of the proposal would mean an estimated 70,000 people in Maine would gain health coverage. About 268,000 people currently receive Medicaid in the state.
    Maine's governor blamed an earlier Medicaid expansion for increasing state hospital debt, and he opposes giving able-bodied people more access to Medicaid.
    LePage often summarizes his argument by saying: "Free is expensive to somebody." He also warned that he would have to divert $54 million from other programs — for the elderly, disabled and children — to pay for the state's share of the expansion once it's fully implemented.
    LePage's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Mainers For Health Care touted the proposal as a "common sense move" to ensure health care coverage for more people. Maine's hospitals also supported the Medicaid expansion and say charity care costs them over $100 million annually.
    The initiative's supporters have reported spending about $2 million on their campaign, with hundreds of thousands of dollars coming from out-of-state groups.
    By comparison, the lead political action committee established to oppose the measure has spent a bit less than $300,000.
    This may not be the last state vote.
    Backers of Medicaid expansion in Idaho and Utah have started similar efforts to get the question on the 2018 ballots in their own states. If it passes in Maine, some 70,000 people would gain health coverage.
    -- Patrick Whittle, Associated Press

    Melvin Carter elected mayor of St. Paul

    Melvin Carter addresses supporters at this campaign night party at the Red Cap Room at Union Depot, shortly before it became clear that he had won the election for St. Paul mayor. (Evan Frost | MPR News)
    Melvin Carter has been elected mayor of St. Paul.
    The DFLer, who received about 51 percent of first-choice votes, is the city's first African-American mayor.
    He previously was St. Paul's Ward 1 City Council member and a staffer in Gov. Mark Dayton's administration. Carter succeeds Chris Coleman, who is running for Minnesota governor in 2018.
    Here's what Carter told MPR News on why he ran for mayor:
    "We have more people living here than we have in a generation, more places to catch a game, experience the arts, or just grab a great meal or local beer. I think we have work to do to make sure this is a city that works for everyone, where everyone in every corner of our city knows that they have access to the highest quality of public services possible, and building an economy that works for everyone."

    In Winona, $82 million school referendum shot down

    Winona Area Public Schools' $82 million facilities referendum appears to have been roundly rejected by Winonans and area residents who turned out to the polls Tuesday — a heavy blow to a district with aging school buildings and an increasingly grim budget outlook.

    At press time, the district had unofficial results for two of its five polling places: Winona Senior High School and Goodview Elementary School. Between the two schools, 91 percent of voters checked "No" on this year's lone ballot question: Should the district receive $82 million from taxpayers to consolidate its elementary schools and maintain, renovate or expand several district buildings?

    "In the early results, it's clear that a large number of folks voted against this referendum plan," said Superintendent Rich Dahman, who reiterated that the district was waiting on results from the other three polling places.
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