To the editor:

I am writing in support of the adoption of ranked-choice voting for St. Louis Park. Like many Americans, I have been troubled by the negativity of our elections and how polarized we are becoming in our communities. I am proud that our city has been so welcoming and inclusive or differences, and I think ranked-choice voting will help us to maintain an even-handed and listening approach to each other.

I had the pleasure of hearing a presentation about ranked-choice voting given last November in which Karl Landskroener of Fair Vote Minnesota spoke. He outlined, simply and beautifully, how the system would work, allowing each voter to rank candidate preferences on their ballot. If no one candidate won outright, then subsequent tallies would eliminate the lowest-ranked candidates, one by one, and voters for defeated candidates would see their votes added to the totals of their next choice, until a winner emerges.

I was skeptical at first of any tinkering with our system of voting, but he pointed out what was a clincher for me. This system encourages candidates to woo voters who support other candidates in the hopes that, if ranked-choice voting is necessary, the voter will have picked them as a second-choice candidate in their ranking. There is the real possibility that politicians will be motivated to present less divisively, to adopt a more complex view of the issues and to listen more carefully to their constituents. In addition, ranked-choice voting gives more flexibility to voters to choose third party candidates as well since rankings do not siphon off votes from preferred major parties in completely draconian ways but allow for space in the rankings.

I think, “Less polarization and a system open to more parties/voices? What is not to like?” We are fortunate to have been able to see the effects of ranked-choice voting used in last fall’s elections in Minneapolis and St. Paul. I understand that ranked-choice worked beautifully in those cities, and I encourage St. Louis Park to adopt the same, wise method.

Julia Davis

St. Louis Park