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For Immediate Release: Local Option Ranked Choice Voting Bill Moves Forward

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 13, 2013

Contact: Jeanne Massey, Executive Director of FairVote Minnesota, jeanne.massey@info@fairvotemn.org, 763-807-2550 

 Local Options Ranked Choice Voting Bill Moves Forward

ST. PAUL Real change starts at the local level.

Recognizing that, a bipartisan-backed bill [SF 335; HF 367] has been introduced to support and promote political innovation in communities across the state.

Authored by Elections Committee Chair Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park) and Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope), the RCV local option measure would give Minnesota counties, cities and towns the freedom and flexibility to use Ranked Choice Voting without seeking legislative approval.

If forward-thinking Minnesota communities want to innovate if theyre eager to embrace change that will broaden political participation, encourage substance and civility in campaigns, and foster smarter, more effective, more representative government the least we can do is get out of the way and let them do it, Simon said.

Minneapolis and St. Paul already successfully use RCV, and are preparing for municipal elections again this fall. Meanwhile, support for this tested, trusted reform continues to grow across Minnesota, with cities such as Duluth, Red Wing and Bloomington in various stages of exploration. Many communities are interested in RCVs potential to save taxpayer dollars by eliminating costly nonpartisan primary races.

Rest pointed to RCV as a more convenient and reliable method of casting absentee ballots from remote, overseas locations. Eliminating barriers for military and overseas voters is paramount, said Sen. Rest. Minnesota men and women deployed to combat zones overseas deserve every effort possible to guarantee that their vote is counted we should be empowering our cities to improve democracy, for military voters and for all voters.

The measure provides a blueprint for RCV implementation in local jurisdictions; establishes guidelines to ensure that the next generation of voting equipment is RCV-capable; and enables statutory jurisdictions to use RCV while allowing charter cities to approve RCV by ordinance. Its entirely voluntary and contains no mandates.

Without the bill, every non-charter jurisdiction thats most units of government in Minnesota wanting to use RCV must spend time, money and effort seeking special legislation.

A hearing on the bill has been scheduled in the Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee, Feb. 18 at 3:00 pm. Follow updates on hearing dates and other information related to the bill at FairVoteMN.org.

FairVote Minnesota, founded in 1996, is a public interest group working to enhance democracy through public education and advocacy.

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