To the editor:
Tired, like I am, of nasty political ads interrupting a pleasant evening? Disgusted, like I am, of political extremism attempting to divide and destroy? There is a solution. It’s called ranked choice voting, and it’s used in Maine, Alaska, and dozens of cities in Utah, Texas and Minnesota. RCV gives more voice and more choice to the voter. Instead of voting for a single candidate in a race, the voter ranks the choices. Mary is my first choice, Brian is my second choice, and I really don’t want Cindy. It’s that simple. If, on the first round of counting, no candidate gets more than 50% of the votes cast, the candidate with the fewest votes (Mary) is dropped off. For voters like me who ranked Mary first, our second-place choice is now assigned to the remaining candidates (either Brian or Cindy) until one of them garners more than 50%.
Why does 50% matter? It matters because a candidate cannot rely solely on first-place votes to get over the finish line. Instead of only attending to his narrow base, a savvy candidate like Brian must attract second-place voters like me. If Brian vilifies his opponents, he’ll have a hard time getting second-choice votes. If Brian holds extreme views, he’ll have a hard time getting second-choice votes. Brian’s only way to win is to build coalitions and broaden his appeal to voters like me.
In this upcoming election, I’m looking for candidates who understand that our current toxic way of electing officials is driving us all crazy and driving our democracy into danger. I’m looking for candidates, regardless of party, who embrace RCV as the way Minnesota will elect its officials in the future. Minnesota Senate and House candidates like Judy Seeberger, Pat Driscoll and Tina Folch get my support because they know giving voters like you and me more voice and more choice will give us all better politics.
Dr. Maureen Reed