January 6, 2006
On a 7-4 vote, the Minneapolis Charter Commission on Wednesday approved the Better Ballot Campaign's petition language for the Instant Runoff Voting charter amendment proposal. Better Ballot Campaign organizer Jeanne Massey said this means the petition drive will get underway shortly.
The Commission's duty was perfunctory: to either approve the campaign's proposed summary as accurately reflecting the amendment or to write a substitute summary. However, political opposition to the Instant Runoff proposal was clearly at work in the divided vote on which a roll call was taken.
The dynamics in the commission meeting were reminiscent of the experience of the Minneapolis Election Reform Coalition when it brought an Instant Runoff Voting charter amendment to the commission in 2001. However, in 2005, the sentiment on the commission has progressed markedly in favor of giving the advocates a fair opportunity to exercise their rights as citizens, as indicated by the outcome of the vote. The charter amendment will almost certainly come back to the commission later in the spring. It will face its true test of support at that time.
Several terms of Minneapolis Charter Commission members will expire in March 2006. Minneapolis residents interested in serving may apply by contacting the Chief Judge Lucy A. Wieland, Fourth Judicial District Court, 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55487; (612)348-6000 (General Info).