WELCOME!!!

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.

HOW USEFUL IS IT?

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.

THE NEED FOR THIS SITE

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:

  1. Officials who served less time than they are given credit for (Baldwin Brown beaten by Gilfillan in 1868-St. Anthony, 3rd Ward; Ed Johnson, 2nd Ward, resigned Oct. 18, 1890; his replacement had an extra 2 months in office; Edwin Hendricks only served 2 years on the Park Board--their list gives him a full 6-year term; Robert Finnerty, credited with a stint as 9th ward alderman 1951-1953, never served; Dennis Bow's term as 12th Ward alderman began in 1909, not 1907; Howard Bennett lost re-election to Elmer Anderson, and served for only a year, not the 6 years he City Council Proceedings credits him with)
  2. The lists of City Judges published in the annual City Council Proceedings were usually wrong as to date, and not easy to track, as they came and went at irregular intervals (Tom Salmon's time on the bench began 1917, when elected, not 1919, as stated in Proceedings
  3. Even the names of some officials are in error. The Library Board's Mrs. Angelus Paul, for example. Her real name was Angelice, as I learned when I looked for her in the City Directory.

WHAT WE WENT THROUGH TO BRING YOU THIS ARCHIVE

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.

UNIQUE FEATURES OF THE SITE

What you'll see nowhere else:

  • the complete municipal general elections prior to 1993
  • every special election, held to replace out-going or deceased officials
  • all the referendums the voters have approved, to date
  • the vote for every referendum proposed in Minneapolis, to date
  • the complete Trustees of the Library Board of Minneapolis, 1885-2007
  • the complete inventory of members of the Board of Estimate & Taxation
  • the membership of the School Board, 1860 to the present
  • every elected city official who was indicted or convicted for a crime (all but one; can you figure out whose missing?)
  • complete file of maps of the wards of Minneapolis and St. Anthony
  • complete file of maps of the park districts of Minneapolis
  • complete inventory of the aldermen of Minneapolis and St. Anthony
  • inventories of City offices no longer in the "hire" of the voters, like the Comptroller, and of Township and village offices

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