To the editor:
Thank you to every voter, candidate and election official who participated in Bloomington’s first City Council election using ranked-choice voting.
We appreciate the many volunteers over the past four years who helped bring RCV to Bloomington and educate their neighbors about how to rank their ballots. We were excited to use RCV and thrilled that its benefits were realized.
Instead of having an expensive, low-turnout summer primary, voters only had to go to the polls once in a ranked-choice election. Moreover, RCV allowed voters to fully express their preferences among a broader, more diverse slate of candidates, and they didn’t have to worry about spoilers, wasting their vote, or voting strategically.
Candidates engaged with thousands of voters on a wide range of issues. More than half of the candidates were women or people of color, and Bloomington elected a woman and the first openly gay member to the open seat on the City Council. The runoff process clearly demonstrated voter preferences, providing a fuller picture about voter values and concerns. All three winning candidates received a majority of voter support, making them representative of and accountable to a broad constituency.
Bloomington election officials chose to use a hand count tabulation process rather than the spreadsheet method used in all the other RCV cities in Hennepin County. Although this delayed the results a bit, the physical process of hand counting helped the public visualize how the ballots get counted and reallocated under RCV. Hopefully, Bloomington will use the spreadsheet method, (or better yet, certified software,) in future elections, so we can have results much faster, as was the case in Minnetonka, St. Louis Park and Minneapolis.
Thank you to the city clerk, elections staff and election judges who did an outstanding job of communicating and managing this election!
Laura Calbone and Marcia Wattson
Calbone and Wattson were organizers for Ranked Choice Voting Bloomington