Minnesota Supreme Court overturns lower judge: Police Department Amendment is officially added to the state ballot

With+the+influence+of+George+Floyd%E2%80%99s+death+in+2020%2C+the+argument+of+defunding+the+police+has+never+risen+so+high+before.

Elle Chen

With the influence of George Floyd’s death in 2020, the argument of defunding the police has never risen so high before.

Rita Li, Rubiconline

With the influence of George Floyd’s death in 2020, the argument of defunding the police has never risen so high before. The government and the people are still going back and forth over the solution to resolve this issue and potential actions they could take to get there.

On Sept. 16, 2021 the Minnesota Supreme Court gave Minnesota voters the choice in determining fundings for police. From September 17 to November 2, Minnesotan voters will have the ability to decide whether the amendment of police defunding should be passed by checking a Yes or No on the ballot.

The amendment’s purpose is to remove the minimum requirement of city police departments, but not defund the police entirely. Instead, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the passed amendment will remove the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a new Department of Public Safety that could include police officers if necessary. The full ballot question is attached as follows:

Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to remove the Police Department and replace it with a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach to the delivery of functions by the Department of Public Safety, with those specific functions to be determined by the Mayor and City Council by ordinance; which will not be subject to exclusive mayoral power over its establishment, maintenance, and command; and which could include licensed peace officers (police officers), if necessary, to fulfill its responsibilities for public safety, with the general nature of the amendments being briefly indicated in the explanatory note below, which is made a part of this ballot?

I think they need to fix the institutionalized racism before replacing the system with what might or might not work differently.”

— 9th grader Aarushi Bahadur

On September 14th, Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson rejected the ballot. Judge Anderson argued that the language of the ballot itself can be unreasonable and misleading to the voters. It was uncertain to the voters whether voting Yes to the ballot would actually make a difference in this issue. Anderson’s main argument was that the ballot would thus be pointless if the removal of the Police Department was simply replaced with something similar: Department of Public Safety.

At first, there were huge debates regarding the change in ballots. While Judge Anderson was making this proposal, nearly 350,000 ballots were already printed as Kare 11 have stated. It was unclear whether revision on the amendment would cause a delay in ballot delivery. According to NPR, The Supreme Court was under pressure to rule quickly because early and absentee voting opens at 8 a.m. Friday in the Minneapolis municipal elections. By removing police funding reform from the MN ballot, this affects many Americans’ style of thinking as too trustworthy of the government even after months of George Floyd’s issue (read “City Council seeks new proposal to change Minneapolis Police System” from Rubicon). While on the other hand, changing in language provides a more effective result and action responses.

In an interview with freshman Aarushi Bahadur, Bahadur brought up the idea, “I think they need to fix the institutionalized racism before replacing the system with what might or might not work differently.”

After discussion, The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected Judge Anderson’s proposal. Voting in favor of Yes 4 Minneapolis, by letting this amendment pass on to the ballot balances police defund resolution and crime rates rising.

(EX: CORRECTION – the story was updated on 10/1 to correct AP Style errors).