Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

Big election takeaway: Same mayor, different day. But the council races are bringing a shake-up in city leadership.

Today, I've got a breakdown of the results in all races on the ballot for you. You'll also hear from voters on what brought them out to the polls.

I'll be back in your inbox tomorrow with the regular weekly Simplified issue. Stay tuned!

And now, news:


Paul TenHaken wins another four years as mayor

Simplified: Mayor Paul TenHaken will lead Sioux Falls for another four years after taking just over 73 percent of the vote Tuesday night.

Why it matters:

  • TenHaken continues the decades-long trend of incumbent mayors winning re-election. Since Sioux Falls switched to a strong mayor form of government in the mid-90s, an incumbent hasn’t lost.
  • As mayor, TenHaken will continue to oversee about 1,300 city employees and a more than $650 million annual budget.
  • Challenger Taneeza Islam earned about 25 percent of the vote, with David Zokaites earning the other 2 percent.
“I'm excited residents feel the city's on the right track," TenHaken said, adding that he's relieved the election is over.

How did the race play out?

And what did Islam have to say after conceding? More here.


City Council will have three new faces, one returning

Simplified: Three of the four open City Council seats in Tuesday's election will go to newcomers, with only Councilor Curt Soehl maintaining his seat as an incumbent.

Ok, so who won?

  • At-Large A went to Sarah Cole
  • At-Large B went to Rich Merkouris
  • Central District went to Curt Soehl
  • And the Southeast District went to David Barranco

Why it matters

  • There were always going to be at least two new faces on the council because outgoing Councilors Rick Kiley and Christine Erickson were unable to run for reelection due to term limits.
  • The third new face came when challenger Sarah Cole beat out incumbent Janet Brekke for the At-Large A seat.
  • City Council in total has eight members, so three new faces will mean a "learning curve," Mayor Paul TenHaken said Tuesday night, but he's excited to work with the newcomers, all three of whom he personally endorsed ahead of Election Day.

What did the candidates have to say?

Hear from them here.


Voters reject raise for mayor, support more authority for council

Simplified: Sioux Falls voters rejected a measure to raise the salary for mayor and city councilors on Tuesday. Meanwhile, they approved a separate measure to give council more authority over the city attorney.

Why it matters

  • Voters weighed in on two ballot measures in Tuesday's municipal election.
  • These measures are how the city charter is amended. A 'yes' vote on the amendment changes the city charter.
  • About 56 percent of voters approved a measure to give City Council the option to remove the city attorney if six or more members agree. That'll change the charter.
  • The measure that failed would have increased the mayor's salary to $165,000 per year – up from the current $137,800. It also would've upped councilor salaries from $20,670 to $24,750.

What happens next?

The measure that passed – Amendment B – will be effective 30 days after the election results are canvassed. That's likely mid-May.


What brought Sioux Fallsians to the polls?

Simplified: Nearly 30,000 people voted in Tuesday’s election — about 24 percent of registered voters. Here’s what they had to say about why they cast a ballot.

Why it matters:

  • City elections historically have low turnout — and Tuesday was no exception. That means those who did turn out made decisions about elected leaders who represent the entire city of more than 200,000 people.
  • Sioux Falls Simplified spoke with voters at several precincts. The common theme among voters was that they came out out of a sense of civic duty and a desire to participate in local government.
  • Voter Jenna Szymanski echoed that sentiment, adding that people can’t — or at least shouldn’t — complain about decisions made by elected leaders if they don’t turn up to vote.
“If we want change, it’s the one thing we can do, is show up (and vote),” Szymanski said.

What voters had to say

Meet several people who cast a ballot Tuesday and hear why voting was important to them.


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Reach out

What story do you want to see simplified? Falling for something local? Send any news tips, attaboys, missed typos or the sweet, sweet feeling of starting a new planner to megan@sfsimplified.com.

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