That is the Question
The ballot questions and what your vote means




Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) Hot Takes

Minneapolis & St Paul Elections 2021

J. Deebaa Sirdar, Guest Editor BVM


RCV: what is it?

Minneapolis and St. Paul utilize a Ranked Choice Voting system. Ranked choice voting, sometimes called “instant runoff voting,” allows voters to rank as many or as few candidates as they like, from their most favored to least favored: first choice, second choice, third choice, etc. Voters can, but are not required to, rank multiple candidates. A voter may vote for only one candidate if they so choose. 

Minneapolis, St. Paul & Metro Area

2021 Election Hot Takes

J. Deebaa Sirdar, Guest Editor BVM

Incumbent leadership is upheld in the Twin Cities as Mayors for St. Paul and Minneapolis were re-elected following the most tumultuous, politically charged election cycle since….2020.

Minneapolis City Council swings more conservative, overall, despite voters electing the first Democratic Socialist and Black woman – Robin Wonsley-Worlobah - and a majority of people of color. 

Ballot Question Takeaways

Minneapolis & St Paul Elections 2021


J. Deebaa Sirdar, Guest Editor BVM


Minneapolis voters decided: “yes,” “no,” “yes.”

“Yes” to Ballot Question 1: Government Structure: Executive Mayor-Legislative Council – Approved

Administrative and executive power over the departments, hiring and firing department heads, transfer away from the city council and to the mayor. 

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What Happens Nov 3rd?

A Closer Look at Minneapolis Ballot Question 2


J. Deebaa Sirdar, Guest Editor BVM


Abolish. Defund. Transform. Reimagine. There is charge in words. This year, Minneapolis voters will collectively determine whether structural change of the department in charge of protecting and serving their city and neighborhoods is possible. Broadly penned policies tend to lose efficacy. Lawmakers are well aware of this, as are the marginalized communities who lose out once all of the layers of government, bureaucracy and democratic processes are applied. 

Making the List
Black Votes Matter MN Editorial Policies


J. Deebaa Sirdar, Guest Editor BVM

There is significant interest in this year’s municipal elections! Early voter turnout in Minneapolis is unprecedented this year, and will likely continue through Election Day. Voter referendum questions for both the Minneapolis and St. Paul ballots have the potential to transform establishment politics and bring about bold change.

Laws Regulating Rent Increases

A Good Step and Not Enough


J. Deebaa Sirdar, Guest Editor BVM


The effectiveness of rent stabilization laws varies. How rent caps are determined and their relationship to market variables, such as rate of inflation, complicates results and can either help or hurt the gap in who can and cannot afford to remain housed. Both Minneapolis and St. Paul are majority-renter cities.

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Now What?

From Protest to Power: Civic Engagement 101

Anika Robbins, Founder & Editor-In-Chief

The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police drew unprecedented outcry and protests worldwide. In fact, there have been protests every day since…and for good cause. But what can we do between now and the upcoming elections-and thereafter-to bring about lasting change?

What The Hell?

What the Hell Is …The Census?

Breaking Down The Census:  Why We Need To Make This One Count

Ms. Margaret, Guest Contributor


“What the hell is the census?” A common response heard around the nation as we begin to approach the 10 year mark to complete the census again. While we talk a lot about the importance of voting with the 2020 U.S. Presidential election right around the corner, the important conversation about the census is often left on the table.

Are You Ready to VOTE?

Early voting starts Friday!

Anika Robbins, Founder & Editor-In-Chief


As of August 2020, 38 states - including the District of Columbia - have early early voting provisions. Early voting opens in Minnesota Friday September 18th. 

Look up your state here.



We are a non-partisan voter engagement campaign designed to increase civic participation and leadership development in the Black Community of Minnesota.

Anika Robbins, BVM Founder

Assuming your Role as an Unapologetic Tax-Paying Voter


“I’m not really political” something I used to say-even as recent as 1 year ago-although I’d been engaged in civic engagement for at least 10 years prior. My first election was in 2007 to help elect President Obama. When he won, I remember how proud and hopeful I was that my vote counted. It was an exciting time to be alive, to see the first African American become President of the United States. 


After that, I became involved in local campaigns. But I quickly realized the need for ongoing voter education. People were turned off by political tactics, namely: only hearing from candidates during campaign season to ask for money and votes. Beyond that, there was no further engagement, no rapport developed, and no invitation to participate in governance. 


People of Color have not been issued an invitation to participate in their government, nor do we need one. However, if you’re not familiar with the process or know where to start, it can be intimidating-and that’s by design. Black Votes Matter MN has made it our cause to inform fellow citizens of their right to participate. And while, we would love to see more of us voting or, running for office, there are other ways to plug in, support and let your voice be heard.


What is your role in elections?

Choose a Cause The first step is to educate yourself on the issues. Clarify what issues matter to you and your family? The next step is to research the candidates and political parities to see where they land on your issues. This will inform how you activate from there. Volunteer Running a campaign is a lot of work-for at least 6-15 months, it can be a full time job. Volunteers are a valuable support system to a political candidate-especially those operating on a shoe-string budget. Volunteers help make calls to voters, canvass neighborhoods, help table at events, perform data entry, and then some. This is also a great way to see the candidate up close and personal. You’ll learn a lot about the issues, their values, and you’ll learn a lot about the process. Not to mention, it’s great on your resume! Donate Campaigns costs money to be effective. Lawn signs, food, printed mailers, paid campaign staff, all cost money. Small campaigns are especially dependent on campaign donations. Consider donating to your candidate. Trust us, they appreciate ANY amount you can give. VOTE At the very least, be sure to cast your vote on Election Day! Elections have been won-and lost-with as little as 5-10 votes. Don’t believe the rhetoric; every-single-vote-absolutely-matters! What should I do after the Election?

What should I do after the Election?

Lobby Follow the issues you identified that matter to you. Support issue-based advocacy groups i.e. NAACP, ACLU, Teachers of Color, Restore the Vote, etc. Show up at the State Capitol for rallies, sign petitions, call your legislators and let them know how you feel about an issue and their position on it. Many legislators say they don’t hear from their constituents, but if they did, they would be responsive. Some are not always receptive, but many are…if you show up. Attend Government Meetings Look up your city’s website to see the meeting calendar and decide what meeting you will attend. Or, if you get a notice in the mail about a public meeting, make it a point to attend. Most, if not all, government meetings are open to the public. There is usually a period for public comment, too. This is a great opportunity to see your tax dollars at work! Not to mention, you learn the process and see how they arrive at decisions. From there you can decide how you want to engage. Don’t forget, your neighborhood association, school board, PTA, etc, are also forms of government with opportunities for you to deepen your civic participation. Call Your Representatives Most public officials have newsletters, community meetings or ‘public office hours’, etc. Attend these smaller intimate conversations to learn more about your representative, and maybe even pick their brain about issues. Voting and civic engagement is not new to us. It is an integral part of our heritage. Back in the day, our parents and grandparents supported campaigns by voting, holding bake sales, and other fundraisers, for their chosen candidates. Today, babysitting, driving voters to polls, sharing candidate events on Facebook, rallying your friends and family to vote-all count as civic engagement. If you are 50 and younger, it’s time to start assuming that role. The truth is, whether you feel political or not, your very being and Blackness is political. Political decisions are being made everyday that affect you-with or without you. The more you become involved now-on a consistent basis-the less you have to protest later.




NOVEMBER 2, 2021