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Sept. News: Reformists Rebut RCV Myths in Strib, Insight News Op-Eds

Reformists Rebut RCV Myths in Strib, Insight News Op-Eds

In two recent, high-profile editorials, voting reform advocates took antireformists to task for repeating the long-debunked myth that Ranked Choice Voting disenfranchises voters of color.

The facts belie that claim, wrote a coalition of prominent leaders from communities of color, including Sen. Patricia Torres Ray and Rep. Susan Allen, in an Insight News op-ed. Were puzzled by claims that ranking candidates on a ballot first choice, second choice, third choice is somehow too 'complicated' or 'confusing' for voters of color. The data tell another story. A St. Cloud State University study conducted during that Minneapolis rollout of RCV reported that 97 percent of voters of color found using a ranked ballot simple compared to (a still-impressive) 94 percent of white voters.

RCV also, they wrote, fosters more substantive and positive campaigning, encourages candidates to reach beyond their usual base and in the long run, it yields leadership that's much more reflective of the whole electorate.

Writing in the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune, FairVote Minnesota Advisory Board Member Richard Carlbom and SEIU Local 26 President Javier Morillo called out a recent opinion piece that suggested (without data to make the case) that certain voters may not be able to understand the concept of ranking.]

Their assumptions are questionable at best, and many may find them downright offensive. . . . the case for RCV is well-supported by facts. In 2009, the first year Minneapolis used RCV, city voters cast approximately 46,000 ballots in 25 races. Only one ballot went uncounted. . . . Even though people rank things every day in other aspects of their lives, Jacobs and Miller (and others in their field) would apparently have us believe that such mental feats are beyond those same people when they step into a voting booth.

Voters arent incapable of expressing preferences at the ballot box any more than they are in the marketplace, in educating our children, in choosing a home, or in any of the other ways we rank and choose in our daily lives.

#RankYourVote Campaign 2013 Kicks into High Gear

The high-profile Ranked Choice Voting elections in Minneapolis and St. Paul are just two short months away, and the FairVote MN education teamin cooperation with elections staff from both citiesis at full throttle. Were going all-out to ensure that every single voter, on both sides of the river, is prepared to rank his/her ballot in all multicandidate races.

Theres no substitute for person-to-person voter contact, which is why our #RankYourVote campaign emphasizes grassroots outreach through door-knocking, phone-banking and community events. The nation is watching, and we need your help to make this election an even bigger success than the RCV rollouts in Minneapolis (2009) and St. Paul (2011)!

How You Can Help!

#1. Spread the word! Copy and paste this RCV video from Minneapolis Elections in an email to friends, and/or post it on Facebook and Twitter! 

Attend, and let your friends and neighbors know about, the upcoming city mock elections:
o Mon. 9/9: Roosevelt High School, 3-8 p.m.
o Tues. 9/10: Henry High School, 2-8 p.m.
o Wed. 9/11: Washburn High School, 2-8 p.m.
o Thurs. 9/12: Edison High School, 2:30-8 p.m.
o Every weekday until 9/16: Minneapolis City Hall rotunda, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

#2 .  Join our #RankYourVote team in phone-banking or door-knocking. Its flexible, fun, and training is provided. Email Mike Griffin at mike.griffin@fairvotemn.org.

#3. Host an RCV house party! You supply the site and guests, well provide the speaker(s) and voter education . . . well even help you run a mock RCV election, where guests can rank their favorite appetizers, beers, desserts, you name it! Email Mike Griffin at mike.griffin@fairvotemn.org.

#4. Become a city of Minneapolis voter ambassador (you dont have to live in Minneapolis to help!).

#5. Volunteer as an election judge in Minneapolis or St. Paul.

#6. If you can't donate your time, contribute $10 (or more if you can) to our education fund and help us ensure all voters know how to rank their vote Nov. 5! Your support makes a real difference! 

Thanks for all youve done so far to put Minnesota on the front lines of democracy reformand thanks for your continued support!

RCV is a Hit, Once Again, at the Minnesota State Fair

Despite the stultifying heat, FairVote Minnesota had another fantastic year at the Minnesota State Fairhuge thanks to our 30 amazing volunteers at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. What a terrific 12 days!

We spoke with hundreds of Minnesota voters about the upcoming St. Paul and Minneapolis elections, how RCV works, why its better and about the need for statewide voting reform.

We signed up nearly 500 new FairVote Minnesota supporters, and recruited dozens of new volunteers.

For the fourth straight year, FairVote Minnesota Executive Director Jeanne Massey had a fun and lively conversation with WCCO host John Williams on his afternoon radio program.

We even had a visit from longtime RCV advocate Gov. Mark Dayton!

And in our annual, ranked-ballot Best Fair Food election, cheese curds triumphed again! But not until the third round of counting: Corn on the cob came in first initially, but with just 24% of the vote, it didnt come close to a majority. After various write-ins, deep-fried candy bars and Pronto Pups were eliminated and their votes redistributed, cheese curds came out on top! Second- (and third-)choice votes truly matter: They help separate the candidates with the broadest support from those favored by a narrow plurality.

FairVote Minnesota Mourns Loss of Hussein Samatar

We at FairVote Minnesota are devastated by the lossto his family, his countless friends, the students of Minneapolis Public Schools and our entire communityof Minneapolis School Board Director Hussein Samatar. Hussein fled civil war in Somalia and became a successful business leader, founder of the African Development Center, an inspiration to and advocate for Minnesota immigrants, and a champion for Minneapolis schoolchildren. A political visionary, he was an early and strong supporter of Ranked Choice Voting. His towering intellect was matched only by his huge and generous heart. Husseins premature death leaves an enormous hole in our hearts and in Minnesota. Our deepest condolences to Husseins wife, his children, and everyone who loved this extraordinary man.

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