ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Reviewing what took place in Bemidji's school board election

The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.

122122.OP.BP.LETTER.JACOBS.png
We are part of The Trust Project.

With midterm elections behind us, let’s review what took place in the Bemidji school board election.

As the nearly 40,000 of us who voted in this contest remember, we had five open seats for which three were for a four-year term and two were for a two-year term.

In total, we had 23 candidates on the ballot, plus some write-in candidates. Running in both elections as a slate were five individuals who won three of the five open seats.

RELATED: Read more letters to the editor

Winners are those who garner the most votes, and we might think it sensible to believe that winners received the majority of the votes cast.

ADVERTISEMENT

This was not true in our school board elections because of how many people were running for those five open seats.

And when three of the five from that organized slate of candidates get sworn in as ISD 31 school board members next month, we must remember that their “win” was NOT a mandate for some of their expressions of intolerance and misunderstanding of what it means to support comprehensive public education for all.

Here's the math for the four-year seat. Out of 39,106 votes cast, only 15,281 citizens voted for the three candidates on the coordinated "slate" and 23,825 citizens voted for one of the other seven candidates. That means that the slate of candidates garnered 39% of the total vote. Not a mandate.

Here’s the math for the two-year seat. Out of 25,899 votes cast, only 7,995 citizens voted for the two candidates on the slate and 17,904 citizens voted for one of the other 13 candidates. That means that the slate candidates garnered 31% of the vote. Not a mandate.

RELATED: Quick tips on Pioneer letter to the editor submissions

To me, the moral of the story is that we must be very careful in 2024 to not dilute the field of candidates so much so that a few highly organized and highly funded individuals, whose agenda seems to be to undermine the values inherent in public education, get elected with a minority of votes cast.

We had some very capable candidates in November’s election who did very well; some won, some lost.

I am a strong proponent of our democratic system of government which would encourage any and all to throw their name in the hat and run for office. But our community needs to be smarter about preventing the outcome we got in 2022 by not diluting the vote with too many good candidates running against a coordinated slate.

What To Read Next
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.