4 maps showing how Minneapolis and St. Paul voted on key ballot questions

By: and - November 4, 2021 6:00 am

A voter walks into Brackett Recreation Center in Minneapolis on Nov. 2, 2021. Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.

In some parts of Minneapolis with lots of progressive voters, the signs were ubiquitous: “NoYesYes.” 

That referred to the ballot questions faced by city voters Tuesday, who were asked whether they wanted to strengthen the mayor’s office; dismantle the police department and create an office of public safety; and allow the City Council to write a rent control ordinance. 

In the end, Minneapolis voters wound up at YesNoYes. They strengthened the mayor’s office, left the police department intact and — in a city with a slight majority who rent rather than own — gave the council the green light to craft a rent control policy. 

Rent control found broad support in St. Paul, too, with about 53% of voters approving the ballot initiative, according to preliminary election results. The initiative in St. Paul takes effect May 1 and caps rent increases at 3% annually on all units throughout the city.

Whiter, wealthier areas with more homeowners generally opposed the rent control proposals in each city while middle-class areas largely voted in favor of the proposals. However, the winning geographic coalitions on each question were fluid and not always predictable. 

Question 1 – Stronger Mayor

Black, Indigenous and Latino voters were warned that by putting more power in the hands of the mayor, they would lose power because the mayor is often picked by whiter, richer voters who are more likely to vote in off-year municipal elections. They seemed to listen, as north Minneapolis voted against Question 1, as did the highly diverse neighborhoods in south Minneapolis around Powderhorn Park. In the end, however, overwhelming support for Question 1 in the southwest and far south areas of the city spurred ‘Yes’ on Question 1 to victory. As a result, newly reelected Mayor Jacob Frey will have more power. Map by Aaron Booth.


Question 2 – Replacing the Minneapolis Police Department

Supporters of the police ballot initiative, Question 2, might have found allies in north Minneapolis, where Black residents say they have been beset with police harassment and brutality. But North Side neighborhoods — some suffering a steep increase in gun violence and carjackings — broke hard against Question 2. The once working class but rapidly gentrifying areas of northeast Minneapolis, however, supported Question 2, cementing the area’s status as a new progressive base. Map by Aaron Booth.


Question 3 – Authorizing the Minneapolis City Council to enact a rent control ordinance

The ballot initiative opening the door to rent control in Minneapolis received the widest support, winning approval in precincts across the city, especially those with a high percentage of renters. Wealthier, whiter neighborhoods such as Kenwood and Linden Hills opposed the initiative. Interestingly, downtown Minneapolis, with a relatively high percentage of renters, voted against the rent control proposal. Map by Aaron Booth.


Question 1 – St. Paul rent control

The proposal to cap rent increases at 3% annually found the greatest support in neighborhoods with a higher concentration of renters, who skew lower-income and more diverse than homeowners. Areas with a large share of homeowners, such as Highland Park and Cathedral Hill, were more likely to oppose the ballot initiative. Map by Aaron Booth.

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J. Patrick Coolican
J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican is Editor-in-Chief of Minnesota Reformer. Previously, he was a Capitol reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for five years, after a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan and time at the Las Vegas Sun, Seattle Times and a few other stops along the way. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and two young children

Aaron Booth
Aaron Booth

Aaron Booth is a Twin Cities actor and elections reporter and analyst for Decision Desk HQ who is a regular contributor to the Reformer.