Minnesota lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are poised to notch a victory for local control and political innovation: A bipartisan bill that would make it easier for efficiency-conscious communities to try Ranked Choice Voting stands its best chance yet of passage. The House version of the bill, H.F. 1280, was introduced late last week. Sponsored by Rep. Tim Sanders and Rep. Laurie Halverson, the proposal is modest, sensible, and straightforward.
Lake Park Mayor Aaron Wittenbel spoke for many municipal leaders in calling RCV yet another tool that statutory cities, like Lake Park, can have in our toolbox. In a time when many cities are concerned about preemption and unfunded mandate measures, the local options bill serves a great purpose in giving cities more choice about how to govern.
This is a critical first step in passing the RCV local options bill this year! Please contact Rep. Sanders and Rep. Halverson to thank them for their leadership on this important bill and then contact YOUR representative to ask for their support when it comes to a vote! If you dont know who your representative is, click here.
Over 200 Duluthians Sign RCV Petition at Campaigns Outset
Our friends at the Duluth Better Ballot Campaign are in high gear, engaging voters throughout the city at public events and gathering signatures for the petition to bring Ranked Choice Voting to Duluth. Duluth City Councilors Emily Larson and Barb Russ, former Councilor Jeff Anderson, and Rep. Erik Simonson are among the 200+ Duluthians to add their names in the past two weeks.
If you live in Duluth and havent signed yet, nows the time! Duluth Better Ballot Campaign Manager Casey Krolczyk is hosting campaign coffee hours on Mondays between 9 and 11 a.m. and Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m. at Jefferson Peoples House on 15th and Superior Street: drop by or arrange another time to meet and add your name to the list of those who want a smarter, more inclusive, and more representative way to conduct elections! Learn more and stay up to date at http://rankyourvote.org.
Brooklyn Park, Crystal Move Forward on RCV
The Twin Cities metro cities of Brooklyn Park and Crystal are moving forward to explore Ranked Choice Voting for municipal elections.
A subcommittee of the Brooklyn Park Charter Commission is hosting presentations and facilitating conversations across the city to educate voters about RCV. Im hopeful that RCV offers one tested, achievable way to expand political engagement and help diversify our citys leadership, said David Williams, a member of the Brooklyn Park Charter Commission. In Crystal, elected leaders and local activists are continuing discussions; the city is awaiting a decision about upgrading its ballot until 2016.
FairVote MN Welcomes Five New Board Members
Were proud to announce the addition of five new board members thought leaders from the business and nonprofit sectors who bring a wide range of experiences, skills, and perspectives to the critical work of voting reform. Were grateful these visionaries have committed to sharing their time, energy, and expertise with us as we help prepare St. Paul for another successful RCV election, work to pass the RCV local options bill, help Duluthians adopt and implement RCV for local elections, and assist other Minnesota cities including Crystal and Brooklyn Park in exploring Ranked Choice Voting. Join us in welcoming Gail Dorfman, Matt Lewis, Tim Penny, Jack Uldrich, and Jim Watkins to the FairVote Minnesota board of directors. Click here to read more about each of them.
Sarah Clarke Returns to Fairvote Minnesota
Its a joy to welcome back two familiar faces: Sarah Clarke joins the FairVote Minnesota staff as our new policy and operations consultant. Sarah, who served as our St. Paul voter education coordinator in 2011, also works as a clean energy business development consultant. I look forward to working again with FairVote Minnesota on improving elections, empowering voters, and developing new RCV leaders across the state, Clarke said.
Josh Nussbaum, who managed the 2013 RCV education campaigns in Minneapolis and St. Paul, also rejoins the Fairvote Minnesota staff. Josh will oversee various campaign and special project initiatives.
Jeanne Massey Talks RCV at Voting Summit in D.C.
Last month, FairVote Minnesota Executive Director Jeanne Massey along with our friend Dave Meslin of the Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto had the privilege of discussing Ranked Choice Voting from the Political Left, Right and Center at the Voting and Elections Summit in Washington, D.C. If your first choice is defeated, then your backup choice can count thats very empowering for voters, Massey said. She spoke about the overwhelmingly successful RCV mayoral election in Minneapolis in 2013: It required candidates to reach all voters . . . no one was written off. Thats a very powerful shift in the dynamic for both candidates and voters. Click here to watch video of the discussion.
Voter, Candidate Outreach Underway in St. Paul
Our voter and candidate education effort in St. Paul is off to a fast, fun, and successful start, with dozens of great conversations taking place at precinct caucuses and ward conventions. With no endorsements coming out of the conventions in Ward 2 or Ward 5, it looks like there will be at least a couple exciting Ranked Choice Voting council races ahead. And we anticipate a likely competitive race for the open seat in Ward 7 where there was an endorsement last week.
The Ward 1 DFL convention is Saturday, March 6. Well be scaling up our education efforts throughout the spring, summer, and fall to ensure the 2015 St. Paul elections go as smoothly as they have in 2009 and 2011.
Hats off to our charming and energetic volunteer corps! If youre interested in joining them this weekend, contact Mike Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Were Making Big Strides Across MN and We Need Your Help!
Our work at the Legislature, in St. Paul, and in Duluth as we help our friends at the Duluth Better Ballot Campaign all requires support from individual democracy reformers like you. This is a pivotal time for Ranked Choice Voting in Minnesota, and your support is crucial: Can you help today with a donation of $25, $50, $100 or more? Every dollar you contribute to FairVote Minnesota makes a difference together we can make our democracy smarter, more inclusive, and more representative!