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‘Palate to the Ballot’ Promotes RCV and a Better Democracy

‘Palate to the Ballot’ Promotes RCV and a Better Democracy

(October 26, 2012) A civilized, substantive, grownup politics that offers greater voter choice and the prospect of majority winners? Nearly 100 democracy advocates drank to that Oct. 24 at a lively, full-bodied FairVote Minnesota fundraiser and wine-tasting in Edina.

Held at the Edina Country Club two weeks before Election Day – in a campaign season rife with costly negative advertising and nasty, divisive wedge politicking – “Put Your Palate to the Ballot” raised spirits, funds and hopes for fundamental voting reform. Participants sampled an array of exceptional wines, both red and white, and voted on their favorites in a mock Ranked Choice election. The event attracted a politically diverse audience of Twin Cities business, nonprofit, civic and political leaders, including Edina Mayor (and RCV supporter) Jim Hovland.

Presenters Peter Hutchinson, business and philanthropy leader and former Independence Party candidate for governor, and FairVote Minnesota Executive Director Jeanne Massey made a compelling case that now is the time for meaningful electoral reform in Minnesota. They shared how FairVote Minnesota is working daily to enable interested local communities to implement Ranked Choice Voting – while also striving to bring RCV statewide by the end of the decade.

“RCV returns politics to the art of representing all of us and will transform our politics for the better,” said Hutchinson. “It’s in place in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and it’s time to adopt RCV for elections statewide.”

Hutchinson and Massey invited participants to get involved in the fight for a better democracy by spreading the word, hosting a house party, calling legislators, volunteering at events and providing financial support.

Democracy was the biggest winner of the evening, but chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon came out majority winners as well. In the white wine election, chardonnay edged out Sauvignon Blanc – after handily beating Pinot Grigio – in two rounds of voting. Among the reds, Cabernet decisively defeated Pinot Noir and Zinfandel in two rounds.

“A wine tasting is a fun and simple way to demonstrate how Ranked Choice Voting works and the guests loved it,” said host Molly Rice. “RCV gives voters the confidence to vote their hopes, not their fears; a way to vote for something, not against something.”

And it fosters a healthier political climate, added Molly’s father, Jack Rice. “RCV is an important solution to rising partisanship and polarization because it gives candidates a tangible reason to reach beyond their narrow base to win and to be accountable to a broad majority of voters once they take office.”

Thanks to hosts Jack and Ede Rice and Molly Rice and Andy Slothower for a fun, engaging and delicious evening raising awareness of RCV as a smart and doable solution to the political dysfunction plaguing our state (and nation). To join the multipartisan movement for voting reform, sign up to help at http://fairvotemn.org or contact info@fairvotemn.org.