Judge rejects ballot question to scrap Minneapolis PD

A judge on Tuesday rejected an attempt to salvage a proposed charter amendment on the future of policing in Minneapolis, ruling just days before early and absentee voting begins in the city where George Floyd died in police custody that any votes on the question won’t count.

Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson said the new language “does not ensure that voters are able to understand the essential purpose of the proposed amendment. It is unreasonable and misleading.”

An 11th-hour appeal is expected. The Yes 4 Minneapolis campaign, which spearheaded the pro-amendment campaign, petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court ahead of time to hear an accelerated appeal in case it lost.

The proposal has its roots in the “defund the police” movement, which gained momentum after Floyd’s death last summer sparked protests, civil unrest and a national reckoning on racial justice.

The City Council updated the language last week, just hours after Anderson ordered earlier wording off the ballot because it was “vague, ambiguous and incapable of implementation.”

The ballots are currently at the printer. Anderson’s order allows ballots containing the question to be used, but prohibits election officials from counting the votes on the issue.

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