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IRV Answers in St. Paul-MN Monitor Talks to Kathleen Murphy

Taken from MN Monitor/Article by Sara Reller

Apr 25, 2007 -- 8:03 PM CDT St. Paul citizens who have been pushing for instant run-off voting in have a longer battle in the capitol city than there was in Minneapolis. Several significant problems have been raised about the possibility of implementing alternate voting the biggest stand out would be school board elections.

St. Paul IRV proponent Kathleen Murphy said, St. Paul is the only city that has school board elections during odd years. This could be changed back to even years and then there would not be a conflict with IRV in municipal elections. Resolutions have been introduced in both the Minnesota House and Senate to allow school board elections to use IRV in voting but neither bill is expected to pass this year.

One strong argument for IRV is a more civil discourse and a broader candidate field, Murphy said, A lot of the time the thing that I hear is that they disgusted with having to chose between 2 candidates. This problem stands out because there is low primary participation.

Murphy said the expense could be mitigated because Ramsey County is expected to purchase new voting machines in 2011 and those machines could be bought with the capability to have IRV. And, she added while there would be an additional cost for voter education it could be offset by the elimination of the primary, especially if the school district elections were moved. "What is the cost of better government, better representation, higher voter turnout, and shouldn't we be taking this into account as well when asking about the price tag?" said Murphy.

In St. Paul with the City Council elections there is currently not expected to be any primary races with all wards having only one or two candidates. Currently there are several candidates running unopposed after the DFL endorsements. In the non-partisan city races there is no party designation on the ballot so only 2 candidates go on to the general election regardless of party distinction.

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