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Duluth Delegates Overwhelmingly Support Ranked Choice Voting

Duluth Delegates Overwhelmingly Support Ranked Choice Voting

DULUTH, MINN. (March 22, 2104)Delegates to the Senate District 7 DFL convention Saturday voted overwhelmingly to support Ranked Choice Voting in Duluth. That consensus brings the Port Citylong a stronghold of civic engagement and good governmentanother step closer to smarter, more civil, and more inclusive local elections.

The resolution calling for RCV in city elections passed with a whopping 74.8 percent of the vote, plus the support of all four District 7A House candidatesincluding the eventual endorsee, UMD economics professor Jennifer Schultz. Ranked Choice Voting potentially reduces negative campaigning among candidates, Schultz replied in a candidate survey. It also allows voters to provide more information about their preferences for candidates.

Ranked Choice Voting allows voters to rank candidates on the ballot according to their order of preference: first, second, third, etc. Voters cast their vote for their favorite candidate, knowing that if he or she doesn't gather enough votes to win, their ballot will count toward their second choice. In a single-winner election, votes cast for the least popular candidate are not wasted, but rather redistributed to more popular candidates, based on the voters' second choices, until one consensus winner emerges.

By folding two elections into one, RCV accomplishes what traditional two-round elections (such as an August primary + a November general election) dobut in a single, cost-effective election with greater and more diverse voter participation. Its proven effective in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, along with several other U.S. cities including San Francisco; Oakland, California and Portland, Maine.

Two years after a task force appointed by Mayor Don Ness recommended putting RCV up for consideration by voters, a coalition that includes citizen leaders, MPIRG-Duluth and FairVote Minnesota is moving forward to put the question on the 2014 ballot.

City councilors Sharla Gardner and Emily Larson have been outspoken advocates of RCV, which would eliminate the separate, low-turnout, demographically skewed primary election for local races. Having the field of candidates narrowed down by an expensive primary, with minimal voter participation, just doesnt make sense, Gardner said.

Larson spoke to the systems ability to foster more representative governance. Im excited about RCVs potential to help make Duluth politicsand policymakingmore inclusive. Duluth is a diverse 21st century city, and our leadership should reflect that.

To learn more about the Duluth Better Ballot Campaign, visit https://www.facebook.com/DuluthBetterBallot.

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