To the editor:
Early voting for local elections in Bloomington starts this Friday, Sept. 17.
Voters can request a mail-in ballot or vote early in-person at city hall 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, with additional hours the Saturday and Monday before Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2.
All Bloomington voters have school board and an at-large city council races on their ballots. Voters in District 3 or District 4, (roughly the northern half of the city,) have an additional city council race. To see who’s on your ballot, request a mail-in ballot, locate your polling place or register to vote, go to MNvotes.org.
You can learn more about the candidates by visiting their websites and social media pages, as well as viewing the candidate videos and forums hosted by the Bloomington League of Women Voters. Since we’re using ranked-choice voting to elect city council members, consider not just your first choice but also your second and third choices as you learn about the candidates. Note that the school board election will not use ranked-choice voting.
Ranked-choice voting eliminates a costly, low-turnout primary, so you only have to go to the polls once. Instead of just picking your favorite candidate for each office, you can rank the candidates in your order of preference: First choice, second choice, third choice and so on. If your favorite is eliminated in the instant-runoff process, your vote will count toward your next choice on the ballot.
If you vote for only one candidate, and that candidate is defeated, you have lost your opportunity to weigh in on the remaining candidates, and your ballot won’t continue to the final round. In the end, the winning candidate will be the one who has a majority of continuing ballots. To learn more about ranked-choice voting, visit rankyourvote.org.
Laura Calbone is a community organizer for The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting Bloomington.