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Statement from DFL Party Chair Ken Martin on anti-RCV bill

 

 

 

 

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April 1, 2018

 

 

As chair of the Minnesota DFL Party, which endorsed RCV as part of the party’s Ongoing Platform, I’m delighted that Twin Cities voters are ranking their ballots. DFLers statewide adopted Ranked Choice Voting in our party platform because we believe it makes elections more inclusive and participatory, values that Democrats strongly uphold. I’ proud of our party’s commitment to improving our democratic process. 

 

Minneapolis and St. Paul voters elected their new mayors and city council members using Ranked Choice Voting last year and have been doing so since 2009. In St. Louis Park, the Charter Commission recently voted 10-2 to recommend the City Council adopt RCV.  Communities’ ability to determine how they’d like to conduct their local elections is embodied in the “home rule” powers granted in the Minnesota State Constitution.  

 

The experience of RCV has been overwhelmingly positive, both for votes and candidates. The outcomes this past November in Minneapolis and St. Paul were especially impressive: record turnout at the polls, notably more civil campaigns, high levels of ranking (nearly 90 percent of voters ranked at least two candidates) and polling that showed that most voters understand, like and wish to continue using RCV. 

 

Given the demonstrated success of RCV to date — and the fact that no community is asking to be denied RCV, but instead just the opposite; more communities are exploring this option — I’m baffled as to why Republicans are leading an effort to nullify its use in Minneapolis and St. Paul and to abolish its future use anywhere in Minneapolis. 

 

I urge the Legislature to reject any such effort. S.F. 3325 (H.F. 3690)) would strip Minnesotans’ control over their own elections and abolish future opportunities for communities to consider RCV, it would negate the will of the voters who already have adopted this method. Such a grab of state power has never been seen in Minnesota. In every aspect, this bill is alarming in its reach of state control and big government.  It’s beyond ironic that the party that espouses local control and small government would advance such a measure. 

 

The DFL party is proud to continue to make our democracy better and applauds Twin Cities voters for being leaders in adopting RCV. At a time when citizens across the nation are becoming discouraged and politically disengaged, the Twin Cities are demonstrating to the rest of the state how RCV can more fully engage voters and help to build a stronger democracy. 

 

I urge all legislators to oppose this bill and to respect community rights to adopt this system if they so wish.

 

Ken Martin

Chairman

Minnesota DFL Party

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