To the Editor:
In 2020, we joined with members of our community to bring ranked choice voting to Minnetonka to make our local elections more representative and inclusive, and in November of that year, RCV was approved by 54.7% of Minnetonka voters.
Now, less than three years after it passed and after only one election using RCV, some of the same extreme opponents who worked to thwart RCV in 2020 are attempting to repeal it. While some opponents have been spreading misinformation, we would like to ground this important discussion with facts.
RCV allows Minnetonka voters to rank up to three candidates and requires candidates to earn a majority in the “instant runoff” to win. Prior to RCV, Minnetonka held a city primary in August (which typically had a voter turnout of around only 5%) to narrow the number of candidates considered in the November general election. RCV eliminated the low turnout primary and combined these two elections into one election in November when turnout is higher and more representative of the community. It’s not only more inclusive, but it also saves time and money for candidates, voters and the city.
While we‘ve only had the opportunity to hold one municipal election with RCV, it showed promising success. We had 12 candidates running for three offices, the most ever for a Minnetonka City Council election. And with all of these choices, no one had to worry about vote splitting. Voter turnout increased dramatically: 52% higher than the average for general city council elections since 1985 and 95% higher than the average over the past 10 years, and the highest in the past 10 city council elections. This was not an accident; RCV opens up city elections to encourage more candidates to run and empowers voters with more choice. More choice and competition increases the likelihood voters will find candidates that reflect their values which, in turn, encourages them to vote.
RCV simply ensures that a majority of voters support our elected leaders, and we wonder why those attacking RCV would oppose that basic democratic principle. If this group adds an RCV repeal to the city ballot in November, we urge our neighbors to vote no!