St. Paul (March 15, 2023) –– On Friday, March 17, the House Elections Committee will hold its first hearing on the Protect and Advance Democracy Act (HF 2486) setting the course to bring Ranked Choice Voting statewide. The hearing will be held at 8:30am CT in Room 5, State Office Building, Room, 100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, St Paul.
Introduced by Senator Kelly Morrison and Representative Cedrick Frazier, the bill:
- Establishes a Task Force to develop standards, procedures and a timeline for implementing Ranked Choice Voting in Minnesota state and federal primary and general elections, and provides an appropriation;
- Gives all cities, counties and school boards authority to adopt RCV for local elections if they wish; and
- Provides grants to local jurisdictions for implementation and voter education.
With political divisions and extremism on the rise, Minnesotans are worried about the state of our democracy and want action to protect and strengthen it. Leading democracy reform advocates in the Minnesota House and Senate led by Rep. Frazier and Sen. Morrison, have offered a proven and achievable solution, Ranked Choice Voting, cited by experts as one of the top reforms to strengthen our democracy.
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is a simple, proven change that empowers voters to rank candidates in order of preference and ensures candidates earn majority support to win. “In our current system, the candidate with the most votes wins, even if they only have a small percentage of the vote,” Rep. Frazier explained. “In contrast, RCV requires the winning candidate to earn a majority and encourages all candidates to campaign to that majority –– by reaching out beyond their base and building broad coalitions of voter support that span differences in background and political ideology.” He added, “In order to have a multi-racial democracy that includes everyone, we need more inclusive and representative elections. Ranked Choice Voting means everyone gets a voice — and it means elected officials have to listen to those voices.”
In addition to the house chief author, the following testifiers will appear at the hearing in support of the bill: Congresswoman Mary Peltola (AK), former General Mills Senior Vice President and business leader Kim Nelson, and Minnesota democracy advocates and community members. Written testimony in support of the bill includes submissions from Congresswoman Angie Craig (MN), Dr. Michael Osterholm, former Carlson chairwoman and CEO Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Bloomington Mayor Tim Busse, Winona County Board Commissioner Dwayne Voegeli, Former Chairman of the Utah Republican Party Stan Lockhart, CEO and Founder of Vote Run Lead Erin Vilardi, and community members. Submitted testimony also includes several resolutions of support from Minnesota cities and counties.
The senate version of the statewide RCV bill, SF 2270, is swiftly progressing through the Minnesota Senate, having passed out of the Senate Elections Committee last week and moving on to State and Local Government and Veterans Committee, this Friday, March 17 at the same time as the hearing in the house.
Congresswoman Mary Peltola –– the first official elected statewide under Alaska’s new ranked-choice system and the first Alaska Native and first woman to represent her home state in the U.S. House –– will testify at the hearings and join Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan and Congressman Dean Phillips at a Rally for Ranked Choice Voting in the State Capitol Rotunda on Friday, March 17 at 2:00 PM CT.
Reps. Peltola and Phillips will be available for interviews with the media immediately following the rally.
“FairVote Minnesota and democracy advocates across the state are thrilled to hear directly from Rep. Mary Peltola speak about the power of Ranked Choice Voting to accelerate opportunities for women and people of color and make our elections more civil, representative and inclusive,” explained FairVote Minnesota Executive Director Jeanne Massey. She added, “I could not think of a better person to state the case for the statewide RCV bill.”
Voters who want to help pass the Protect and Advance Democracy Act can find out more at fairvotemn.org.
Please contact Jeanne Massey or Erin Zamoff (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information about the legislation or Ranked Choice Voting efforts in Minnesota.