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What you're looking at is unique.
As far as we know, no other city in the state has attempted to publish an election archive COMPLETE on the web. Minneapolis, fortunately, keeps its records in its own safe keeping in City Hall. Other towns and cities rely on county government to maintain their records. Thanks to tax cuts, county governments no longer enjoy sufficient resources to handle the job.
This website can answer all your questions about the political history of Minneapolis.
You want to know when Betsy Hodges first ran for City office? Our database will tell you. Without a trip to the library or a call to her office.
Interested in the municipal career of Sharon Sayles Belton, or Don Fraser? We have the whole thing, available wherever the Internet is available.
How many times did Hubert Humphrey run for Mayor of Minneapolis? Our site can tell you, AND who ran against him and the vote for each candidate by ward.
What is Mayor Rybak's full name? We have that, too.
Of course, even though the records of Minneapolis are complete, doesn't make them all easy to find. While most records can now, at last, be found in the stacks of the downtown library, there are gaps. Publications started have been dropped, like the Budget Facts and Financial Statistics of the City of Minneapolis. In addition, the oldest material has aged considerably. These papers handle very poorly, tearing even with the most careful use. Many are really huge sheets, folded many times, that tear along the creases as the reader opens them for a look. So, preservation of these historic documents, the very history of our city, is long overdue. They may not last much longer.
Errors we found in published lists:
The list of officials on the Board of Estimate and Taxation, for instance, involved looking through minutes of the Board from 1939 to 1996 for the names of members* the Approved Capital Improvement Budget for the Board membership listed therein searching the Park, Library and School Board lists for their representatives on the Board hours looking through issues of Finance and Commerce for official Estimate Board news tracking those elected to the Board from 1921 to the present, and searching the City Council Proceedings, to learn how and when the Board was begun, and when the Mayor picked the Board's first members. The whole process took months, and when I finished the Board's secretary couldn't have been more delighted. No one had ever assembled a complete list of all the membership before! Before the new downtown library opened, all the above would have been impossible.
The membership of the Boards of Education of Minneapolis and St. Anthony are also unique. These lists/inventories result from several years of digging through the election results, newspaper accounts of the elections, and inventories from various official publications of the Minneapolis Public Schools. Thanks in part to an early fire, that destroyed all the school records, a complete inventory of School Board Commissioners has never been attempted before. Until now.
What you'll see nowhere else:
Thanks for visiting the site. We hope it fills a need, and we hope to see you again here.
—Neal Baxter & the Election Trends Project
* Jack Qvale, Secretary of the Board of Estimate & Taxation since 1981, told me in 2008: the Board used to pay a full-time stenographer to type its minutes. Budget cuts since the 1980s made her an expensive luxury. Jack tried typing the minutes from tape transcript, but found he wasted too much time on that. The City Council publishes "80%" of the Board's business anyway, since the Council asks for the paperwork. So, Jack and the Board decided to stop publishing the minutes of the Board's meetings, around 1996