Obviously, if you want voters to approve something at the ballot box, the worst thing that can happen is they are against you and/or your initiative and they vote against what you’re trying to pass.
But, hey, what are you going to do? If no matter how hard you try you’re unable to convince them to see things your way, you’re simply going to have to accept the fact that you’re not going to get their vote.
But people vote “no” for other reasons, too. Maybe they’re unclear on what the ballot initiative is all about. Maybe they’re confused. Unaware. Not sufficiently informed.
These reasons that spur some voters to fill in the “no” box on their ballots can be addressed, however. They can be remedied. Those “no” votes can be turned into “yes” votes.
You just have to put in the work. You have to go out of your way and above and beyond as you try to articulate to those voters why they should vote in favor of you want.
The Crookston School District will ask voters to approve two ballot questions on Nov. 5. They’re seeking a new bus garage a couple years after a similar proposal that cost around $500,000 more than this year’s proposal was soundly rejected by voters. In addition, a voter-approved, 10-year operating levy that’s set to expire in 2022 is also on the ballot, with voters being asked to extend it another decade. Although statute requires that the ballot question language indicate that voters are being asked to approve a tax increase, in this instance, if the operating levy is indeed extended, district voters would actually see the school district portion of their property taxes go down compared to what they’re paying now, because the district no longer owns the swimming pool, so the pool-specific revenue derived from the existing operating levy referendum is being removed.
Got all that?
If you don’t, Superintendent Jeremy Olson wants to make sure that between now and Nov. 5, you have every opportunity available to you to get it. There will be multiple community forums, several speaking engagements around town, stories and opinions in the local media, and information available online and on social media. Ignorance of what these ballot questions are all about should not be a valid excuse for any voter come election day on the first Tuesday of November.
If you hear all of the necessary information, process it in your mind and decide for your own reasons that you’re against one or both ballot questions, so be it. The thinking here is that it would be extremely excellent if you voted “yes” on both, but, hey, it’s your call.
There was talk, in discussions with the district’s financial advisors, to make the approval of one question contingent on the other. So even if one question was approved and the other was not, both would fail. Wisely, Olson and school board members nixed that possibility, and each question on the ballot will stand on its own merits.
Maybe worse than not knowing all of the facts, you certainly don’t want voters getting ready to fill out their ballot feeling like they’re being manipulated.
November seems like a ways off, but it’ll be here before you know it. If you want more information on these two ballot initiatives, you’ll have ample opportunity to learn the reasons why the ballot questions are being asked, the tax impact on you, and how the school district will benefit if you answer “yes” to both questions.
It all starts Thursday, Aug. 8 at 6 p.m., with a community forum in the Crookston High School auditorium.