Mary Pat Blake in The Sun Sailor:
2020 has been an especially challenging year for our country and this is even more true for people of color. I was encouraged to see the article last week in this paper addressing the need for diversity and inclusion in our community.
At this moment, many people have the election on their minds. And one way to increase the levels of participation by minority groups is to make our voting system and running for office more accessible to everyone. This is another reason why I support ranked-choice voting for our local elections, and it’s on the ballot for Minnetonka residents to vote yes right now.
Currently, many candidates are discouraged from running because they simply don’t have time or money to campaign for two election days. Our Minnetonka City Council primary elections only have 4% of voters participating – a group this small cannot represent our community. Cities that have adopted ranked-choice voting, including Minneapolis, St. Paul, and St. Louis Park, have had increasing numbers of candidates of color running for office and winning. By eliminating the primary election, it reduces the racial disparity in our local elections, and provides a more level playing field by holding a single election day for city council races when a more representative group of residents is more likely to vote.
If our community is truly dedicated to empowerment for everyone, we must take an honest look at the structural flaws in our elections process and address them, so everyone has their voices heard.
Mary Pat Blake