On the ballot 2023

In our readership area, the following are on the ballot for St. Paul City Council:

Ward 1:

Anika Bowie, anikabowie.com
Yan Chen, www.chen4ward1.com
Travis Helkamp
James Lo, jameslo.org
Lucky Tiger Jack Rosenbloom
Omar Syed, www.omarward1.com
Suz Woehrle, https://wilsonkatasha.wixsite.com/suzforward1
Jeff Zeitler

Ward 4:

Robert Bushard, bushard4ward4.com
Mitra Jalali, mitrajalali.com

Ward 5:

David Greenwood-Sanchez, votedavidgs.com
Hwa Jeong Kim, hwajeongkim.com
Nate Nins, natenins.com / nins4ward5.com
Pam Tollefson, pamtollefsonward5.com

The following are on the ballot for St. Paul School Board (elect 4):
• Chauntyll Allen, chauntyllforschoolboard.com
• Yusef Carillo, yusef4spps.org
• Zuki Ellis, neighborsforzuki@gmail.com
• Carlo Franco, carlofranco.org
• Abdi S. Omer
• Erica Valliant, valliantforschoolboard.com
• Gita Rijal Zietler


Vote 411

VOTE411 is committed to ensuring voters have the information they need to successfully participate in every election. Whether it's local, state or federal, every election is important to ensuring our laws and policies reflect the values and beliefs of our communities. More at www.vote411.org


League of Women Voters St. Paul

A non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in all levels of government, works to increase understanding of major policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Just what is happening this election season? What do these elected officials even do? What are their job descriptions? Get informed at their site: www.lwvsp.org

St. Paul voting info

Get information on the city of St. Paul election at the Ramsey County voting site. Find election maps, polling locations, information on how to register to vote, details on ranked choice voting, how to file for office, and more. Go to: https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/city-clerk/elections

Secretary of State

View sample ballots and get election results on the Minnesota Secretary of State web site. You can also sign up to be an election judge, learn about other ways to vote, and register to vote here. Information is available in multiple language, including Somali, Hmong, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, Lao, Oromo, Khamer and Amharic. More here: https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/

Elections: how they work

How do our elections work and why are they are fair and accurate? Skim this resource or dig into specific aspects/issues for a deeper dive. Go to Elections 411 

2023 Candidate forums

The following candidate forums are being held:

1% Sales Tax Forum, Sept. 18, 6:30-8 p.m., online. The UPDC Committee on Land Use and Economic Development in partnership with the League of Women Voters will host a forum to provide facts and context that will help prepare residents to better understand the 1% Sales Tax that they will vote on this November. Confirmed panelists: Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Parks and Recreation Director Andy Rodriguiz, Public Works Director Sean Kershaw, Lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota's Department of Geography, Environment and Society Dr. Bill Lindeke, Vice President of Government Affairs for the St. Paul Area Chamber Amanda Duerr and Economist at Center of the American Experiment Martha Njolomole. This forum will be moderated by Eric Molho. This forum will be held via zoom. Community viewings and other updates will be announced in the coming days. Please stay connected though UPDC Facebook and Twitter page and subscribe to UPDC bi-monthly newsletter.  Please submit questions in advance to: info@unionparkdc.org . RSVP: bit.ly/salestaxforum

St. Paul School Board (ISD625), Sept. 18, 7-8 p.m., SPNN TV Studio (550 Vandalia St #170, St Paul, MN 55114). Partners Include: NAACP St. Paul, Ayata Leads and St. Paul Neighborhood Network. Watch live on channel 19 or YouTube: https://youtube.com/live/ukQ8ulCUwIM?feature=share

Ward 1: Sept. 28, 7-8 p.m., Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, Cantina Room (270 N Kent Street, St. Paul, MN 55102). Partners Include: Union Park District Council, Frogtown Neighborhood Association, North End Neighborhood Association, Summit University Planning Council, Ayata Leads and St. Paul Neighborhood Network

Ward 4: Sept. 14, 5-6:30 p.m., SPNN TV Studio (550 Vandalia St. #170, St. Paul). Partners Include: District 10 Como Community Council,  Ayata Leads and St. Paul Neighborhood Network. Watch live on channel 19 or on YouTube https://youtube.com/live/EhV9ivvSTFw?feature=share

Ward 5: Sept. 22, 6-7 p.m., Dock and Paddle at Como Lakeside Pavilion (1360 Lexington Pkwy N, St. Paul, MN 55103). Partners Include:  Ayata Leads, District 10 Como Community Council, North End Neighborhood Organization, Dock and Paddle, and St. Paul Neighborhood Network.

Plan ahead

Key election dates 2023

Aug. 1

First day to file affidavits of candidacy for cities and school districts without the potential of a primary.

Aug. 15

Last day to file affidavits of candidacy for cities and school districts without the potential of a primary.


Sep. 22

Begin absentee voting for Nov. 7 general election.

Oct. 17

Preregistration deadline for general election.

Oct. 24 2-week report due for Saint Paul and ISD 625 candidates on the ballot who have open campaign committees.

Oct. 27

Pre-general election campaign financial reports due (4:30 p.m.) for city and school district candidates on the ballot who have open committees (excluding Saint Paul and ISD 625).

Oct. 31  Extended hours and expanded locations for in-person absentee voting

Nov. 4

Extended hours for absentee voting for general election: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Nov. 7

General election – polls open 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

What's it about?

Local government

Did you know? Local government bodies make decisions on a lot of things we may encounter each day. There are local government offices at the county level, city level and school board. Voters will vote on representatives for their district, city or ward based on where they live. Here are a few of the decisions local government bodies make that affect all Minnesotans:  

  • County budget.
  • Roads maintenance.
  • Health and human services.
  • Public health.
  • Libraries.
  • Parks and nature preserves.
  • Recycling and refuse.
  • Elections and voting.
  • Veteran services.
  • Human services. 
  • Justice system.
  • Law enforcement.
  • Infrastructure.
Get involved

Be an election judge

Serve the community and promote the democratic process.

Election judges staff local polling places for the primary and general election as well as during early voting. You can earn money, meet your neighbors and help ensure that elections are administered in a fair manner. Judges must be 18 years old or older. There are positions for student election judges who are 16 andd 17 years old.

Learn more here.


Ward 4: Mitra Jalali files for second full term

Councilwoman Mitra Jalali proudly filed again to continue representing the neighborhoods of Merriam Park, Union Park, Raymond-University, Saint Anthony Park, Hamline-Midway, and parts of Como and Mac-Groveland on the Saint Paul City Council. Jalali filed with a broad coalition of support alongside a historic field of candidates. 
Over the last five years, Jalali has led efforts to develop and pass comprehensive renter protections, including rent stabilization; championed and supported the creation of thousands of new homes across the city at all income levels; led the work to create an expanded public safety system with a range of trained emergency responders and more funding for community intervention programs; secured millions in public and private funds to help businesses in neighborhoods experiencing commercial displacement; and fought for sustainable city policies and practices that take on the climate crisis.
In 2018, Jalali’s election brought a salvo of “firsts” for the council, as its then-youngest member, only renter, only woman of color, first Asian-American woman in Council history and only out LGBTQ elected. Five years later, as she files for office, she is joined by the most diverse and progressive field of council candidates in city history – like social entrepreneur and organizer Anika Bowie (Ward 1), civil engineer and district council leader Saura Jost (Ward 3), non-profit executive director and former policy aide HwaJeong Kim (Ward 5), organizer and current Councilmember Nelsie Yang (Ward 6). 
“I’m running for re-election to the Saint Paul City Council because our work isn’t finished, and together, we’re leading Saint Paul forward,” Jalali said. “I am so proud to file alongside passionate, motivated and experienced leaders from the East Side to Highland Park. This November, we have the chance to elect leaders who truly reflect our city and bring our community’s agenda to the council table.”
Even more importantly, these campaigns are united around a community policy vision of taking urgently needed city action on climate change, championing and expanding affordable housing, restoring strong rent stabilization, fully funding long-overdue investments in core city services and neighborhood institutions like streets, parks, libraries and rec centers, and taking a more holistic approach to public safety. More at mitrajalali.com.

Cheniqua Johnson files in Ward 7

Cheniqua Johnson, DFL-endorsed candidate for Saint Paul City Council in Ward 7, filed to run for office alongside a historic slate of progressive, women of color.
“I’m so proud to file for office to represent Eastside neighbors in Ward 7,” said Johnson. “We are in a historic moment for Saint Paul with an opportunity to elect the first, all-women council that will work to improve the lives of all residents across our city. I am running to be the positive, community-focused leader who has the experience, relationships, and Eastside coalition to get things done with and for Ward 7 neighbors. I will be a fighter and advocate for more affordable housing, a communityfirst public safety plan, big funding investments in all our communities, expansion of our transit system, and ensuring that we do our best to protect our climate.”
Johnson is a lifelong Minnesotan, community organizer, and first-generation homeowner on the Eastside in Dayton’s Bluff.
As a Program Officer at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation and member of the East Side Funders Group, she has worked to invest millions of dollars into local neighborhoods and organizations on the Eastside and across Minnesota. She is the sole candidate who has worked in every level of government, including for Governor Mark Dayton, Senator Al Franken, Attorney General Keith Ellison, and Commissioners Angela Conley and Rena Moran. If elected, she would be the youngest and the second African American woman elected to the council.
Johnson has built the a diverse coalition of supporters in Ward 7. Endorsements of Cheniqua Johnson’s campaign include the Saint Paul DFL as well as unions and organizations like: The Saint Paul Firefighters, the Saint Paul Build Trades Council, SEIU State Council, LIUNA, Faith in Minnesota, Women Winning, and Stonewall DFL. She has also been endorsed by elected leaders like: Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Attorney General Keith Ellison, Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Saint Paul Council President Amy Brendmoen, Ramsey County Commissioner Mai Chong Xiong, MN House Majority Leader Jamie Long, State Representative Jay Xiong, and many more. For a list of all endorsers and more information about Cheniqua Johnson, visit: cheniquajohnson.com.


Ranked Choice Voting

Ranked voting allows voters to rank multiple candidates for the same office in order of preference.

Winning the election: A candidate wins the election by getting an absolute majority of first-choice votes – 50% plus one. If no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes on Election Day, a reallocation to determine a winner is anticipated to begin on Friday, November 5.

Reminder about school board: The Saint Paul School Board race, located on the other side of the ballot, does not use the ranked voting method. School board members will be elected using the traditional voting method.

Instructions: Pick your first choice by completely filling in the box next to that candidate’s name. If you have a second choice, fill in the box next to that candidate. Continue this process to pick your remaining choices, if you have any. Note: marking a candidate means that you would like them to receive your vote; there is a chance that any candidate you mark will have that vote counted toward their total. To learn more about the legal process for counting votes in the ranked voting method, visit the Ramsey County election results page for information on ranked voting reallocation.