Originally Published in Winona Daily News
Eight months ago, Republican politicians tacitly and explicitly endorsed voter fraud conspiracies, fomenting anger that erupted in violence at the January 6 insurrection. Then, the same politicians – including our representative, Jim Hagedorn – endangered our democracy by voting against the certification of the Electoral College results.
The fact that we even elected such anti-democratic representatives in the first place shows just how flawed the election process is. Fortunately, there is a non-partisan election reform, ranked choice voting (RCV), that has enough traction to address this issue.
With RCV, voters rank their favorite candidates in order of preference. The first choices are tallied, then the least popular candidate is eliminated. The ballots for this candidate are then counted for voters’ second choices. This process continues until a single candidate prevails with majority support.
Among many other benefits, RCV removes the spoiler dynamic from elections. In our district, Hagedorn won his 2020 re-election just marginally over Dan Feehan. However, there was a third candidate, a spoiler candidate, who is credited for siphoning just enough votes from Feehan to cost him victory. Had RCV been used in this election, it is unlikely we would be stuck with an undemocratic representative who was not supported by the majority.
Many people are still frustrated that we don’t have accountability for what happened in January. If nothing else, we must hold our representatives accountable, especially Hagedorn, by forcing them to do what they won’t: offer intelligent, thoughtful solutions for the benefit of the majority. With ranked choice voting, we can elect real leaders and ensure that the bad politicians never see public office again.