Authored on February 29, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

CONTACT: Jeanne Massey, FairVote Minnesota Executive Director, jeanne.massey@fairvotemn.org; 612-850-6897

Breaking: Phillips Introduces Bill to Promote Ranked Choice Voting

February 28, 2020 (St. Paul, Minnesota) -- Yesterday, Congressman Dean Phillips (D-3rd District, MN) and Senators Michael Bennett (D-CO) and Angus King (I-ME) introduced legislation that provides support to local and state governments to implement Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). The Voter Choice Act would allocate $40 million in federal grants to cover up to 50 percent of the transition costs for local and state governments that adopt RCV. 

“FairVote Minnesota, which has been helping Minnesota cities implement Ranked Choice Voting for more than a decade, applauds this legislation that supports local and state efforts to make that transition and is grateful to Congressman Phillips and Senators Bennett and King for their leadership on this important issue,” said executive director, Jeanne Massey. “The bill doesn’t mandate anything, but instead provides critical guidance and financial assistance to cities and states that choose to use RCV.” 

“This is just the kind of state-federal partnership we are hoping for,” said Bloomington Representative Steve Elkins (DFL-HD 49B), who is chief author of the RCV Local Options legislation in Minnesota, a bill that would provide the opportunity for all school districts, cities and counties in the state to use RCV if they wanted. “I often hear from election administrators that resources are needed to implement changes in the way elections are conducted. This bill would provide them with the necessary resources to make the transition to a new voting system more easily and efficiently.”

Bloomington Councilmember Jenna Carter, who is working to bring RCV to her community added, “This bill empowers cities like ours to do what we believe is best for our community. I believe that RCV will make our local elections more inclusive and diverse which is important in a changing community like ours and I’m grateful to Congressman Phillips and his colleagues for recognizing the importance of this reform and ensuring the support we need to implement this change.”

Minnetonka Councilmember Bradley Schaeppi also expressed his excitement for this bill. “Our community is exploring RCV for local elections and I welcome the kind of implementation support this legislation would provide. I’m grateful that Rep. Phillips is supporting our local efforts in this way.”

Minnesota has long led on implementing Ranked Choice Voting, thanks to the leadership of advocates and elected officials. That momentum is gaining across the state and country. Our leaders here at home are pleased with the opportunity Rep. Phillips' bill gives states.

“As a strong champion of Ranked Choice Voting and local control, I am so appreciative of Congressman Dean Phillips for supporting our legislative work here in Minnesota,” said Representative Kelly Morrison (DFL-HD 33B). “Rep. Phillips believes deeply in the power of our democracy to work for everyone and this legislation not only reflects his values, but puts resources behind those principles.” 

Senator Scott Jensen (R-SD 47) said, “As the chief author of the RCV Local Options bill in the Minnesota Senate, I believe that communities should be given the opportunity to decide for themselves if Ranked Choice Voting is a method they want to try in local elections. This bill provides resources for local choice, and I think that’s a good idea.”

We are hopeful for passage of this important legislation and look forward to working with Rep. Phillps and Senators Bennett and and King in strengthening democracy across the country.