Duluth News Tribune: Ranked Choice Voting could help in Ely

Published on April 2, 2021

Tom Benson in the Duluth News Tribune

I could barely keep from spitting out my coffee at the laughable statement on ranked-choice voting in the News Tribune’s March 15 “Our View” editorial, headlined, “Like Duluth, state can reject confusion of ranked-choice voting.”

“A resulting lack of understanding … could leave the validity of election results in question, especially when races are close,” stated the editorial. Apparently, the News Tribune hibernated with the rest of the bears this winter and hasn’t yet heard about the “Big Lie.”

Here in Ely, we had a unique result in our mayoral election last fall. The incumbent lost to a candidate who had dropped out of the race. Clearly, the local voters said it’s time for new leadership. But with the election result, Ely was left without a mayor, leaving the City Council little choice but to appoint a mayor — the incumbent who had just lost the election!

Now, we have a competitive race for mayor in a special election; six candidates are running. With so many candidates, there’ll be a primary on April 13 to narrow the field to two candidates and a general election on Aug. 10 between the final two. Ely will have an unelected mayor until then.

Under the current system, I’ll vote for my favorite candidate in the April primary and hope my favorite is one of the top two to make it through. Then I can vote for that candidate again in August. But if he or she doesn’t get through, I’ll vote for a second choice in August. With ranked-choice voting, I could do that in one election by ranking my favorite candidate and then ranking a backup choice or two in case my favorite candidate doesn’t win.

There’s no need to spend taxpayer money on a low-turnout April primary when we can consolidate two elections in one. Ranked-choice voting would also save candidates the expense of running two elections.

Tom Benson


550 Vandalia St. #210

St. Paul, MN 55114

(763) 807-2550


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