At their state convention in May 2003, the League of Women Voters of
Minnesota decided to conduct a study of alternative voting methods and
investigate their merits relative to the plurality and two-round methods
currently used in Minnesota. A committee was formed to organize the effort.
The committee recently issued the following statement, also available
From the League of Women Voters of Minnesota
Tuesday, August 26th, 2003, is the 83rd anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
This landmark legislation, which passed in 1920, granted women the right
to vote. The League plans to use this occasion to reflect upon the positive
changes and progress made on voting rights in the past 83 years and emphasize
the continued need to improve our election process.
In light of this need, the League of Women Voters of Minnesota has
adopted a new study, "Change in the Voting Booth: Would an Alternative
Voting System Serve Democracy Better?" The study will evaluate Minnesota's
current plurality (as opposed to majority) system of voting, as well
as three alternative systems: approval voting, instant runoff voting
and the Borda count method.
The study is co-chaired by Jane Gilley of the Duluth League, and Marsha
Oliver of the Arden Hills/Shoreview League. According to Gilley, "These
three alternative systems are the most compatible with our current system
and would require relatively few changes to implement. Our study will
be limited to elections in which there is a single winner, such as governor
or mayor, rather than elections in which there is more than one winner,
such as city council or school board."
"Each of the four voting systems will be evaluated against a set of
criteria that represent desirable characteristics of an election system.
The challenges include the fact that no electoral system is perfect and
desirable characteristics may be mutually exclusive. How you count the
votes in each system significantly changes the election's outcome." Oliver
Local leagues will study the pros and cons of each system in the spring
of 2004. The goal is to come to consensus and adopt a new position on
voting systems by September, 2004.
"The League of Women Voters, founded by women suffragists after passage
of the 19th Amendment, has worked tirelessly for the past 83 years as
a voice for citizens and a force for change. League members across the
nation continue the fight to improve and reform our election systems
for the benefit of all citizens regardless of gender, age, or ethnicity.
We're working here in Minnesota to make the system better until every
voice is heard and every vote counts," Palmer stated.