Primary 2020: Southwest voters head to the polls

A sign marks the voting precinct in Cedar-Isles-Dean at the Jones Harrison residence. Photo by Andrew Hazzard

Voters streamed in and out of Southwest Minneapolis precincts Tuesday to cast their ballots in the Democratic primary election. 

Most voters who spoke with the Southwest Journal said they felt a civic obligation to vote in the 2020 primary election. The decision of Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg to drop out of the contest in the 48 hours before Super Tuesday impacted the decisions of several voters. 

By 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, 40,479 ballots had been cast in Minneapolis, according to the city’s election and voter services department. Early and absentee voters submitted 14,402 ballots through March 2.

Nancy Green, who cast her ballot at the Jones-Harrison Residence in Cedar-Isles-Dean, said she decided to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden after Buttigieg and Klobuchar dropped out, citing his experience. 

“I think he is somebody who can bring people together,” Green said. 

Colten Lemons, a 28-year-old CIDNA resident, said she supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders because of his stance on health care. 

“I feel like he is the candidate with the vision for the America I want to live in,” Lemons said. 

Will Kuball, a new resident in the neighborhood, said he was grateful Minnesota has same-day registration for younger voters like him who move frequently. Kuball, who declined to say which candidate he voted for, said the recent narrowing of the field impacted his decision. 

“It was a crazy 48 hours,” Kuball said. 

Judy Takkunen, 76, said Klobuchar and Buttigieg dropping out altered her choice, but added she wasn’t surprised their campaigns ended before Super Tuesday. 

“I think Amy and Pete did the right thing,” said Takkunen, who also declined to share her vote. 

Bryce Burton, 28, said she supported Sanders because she felt the Democrats need a different kind of candidate to defeat President Donald Trump.

At Jefferson Elementary School in the Wedge, fewer voters cited the narrowing field as impacting their decision. 

Nic LaFrance said he voted for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren because he believes she is the most electable progressive candidate. He came to the polls with Timmy Rehborg, who said he voted for Sanders for the same reason. 

Brett Schoenefeld, 32, said he voted for Sanders because he believes the Vermont senator is the strongest candidate for the working class and that he doesn’t believe Sanders’ proposals are radical. 

“There’s been very few candidates I’ve been passionate about,” Schoenfeld said. 

Whitney Dereschuk, 32, cast her ballot for Sanders and said she was set on her decision for a while. 

“I feel like he actually cares a lot more about what’s happening to regular people,” she said.