Northfield City Council elections might seem less than important when the world is on fire both literally (wildfires, protests) and figuratively (covid-19, presidential election, Black Lives Matter, Supreme Court, climate destruction, recession, unemployment…).
Most people think of city government as the lowest level of government and presumably less important. Local races may not generate the light and heat of other races, but city government gets shit done.
City government gets shit done.
You can’t flush your toilet, take a shower, bike around town, borrow a library book, play in the park, get trash picked up, have a beer, or get a building permit in Northfield without city government. And, relevant to current events, city government plans for emergencies, can adopt regulations and policies which reduce systemic racism, and takes action to combat climate change. How much the city can do – and how we pay for it – depends on your vote.
Vote all the way down the ballot
Council races are “down ballot” races which are sometimes “flip the ballot over and read the back” races along with county commissioners, school board members, judges, and soil and water district commissioners. It’s sometimes harder to learn about these candidates to cast an informed vote, but local races are where candidates can win with some hard work, but without a lot of money or a big organization so new voices can be heard. Voters need to know that many people don’t vote all the way down their ballot, so a few votes can make all the difference (as I discovered). Down ballot races are where change starts.
What’s down your ballot
Every two years, Northfield elects half the Council. Presidential years like 2020 see the Mayor, one at-large seat, and the Ward 2 & 3 seats up for election (2022 will be the other at large seat, plus wards 1 & 4).
Down your ballot you’ll find (depending on where you live in Northfield) these races (with links to on-line information where I can find it)
Mayor: Incumbent Rhonda Pownell and David Ludescher.
At-large: Incumbent Brad Ness and Ricky Livingston.
Ward 2: Incumbent David Delong and Jami Reister
Ward 3: George Zucolotto and Don Stager are running for the open seat created when Council strategic superstar Erica Zweifel decided not to run again.
How to vote
Northfield official election information : polling places, how to vote absentee by mail or in person, ward maps, deadlines, and more.
What’s on my ballot: The Minnesota Secretary of State website will show you a sample ballot for your voting ward and precinct when you enter your address.
Register to vote online or by downloading/printing forms (including information about special situations like being a college student, living abroad, experiencing homelessness and more). You can check your registration online, too, and find out about registering on election day.