Authored on November 04, 2020

For Immediate Release

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

Victory for Ranked Choice Voting in Two Minnesota Cities: Voters in Bloomington and Minnetonka Adopt RCV for Local Elections

Bloomington, MN (November 4, 2020) -- FairVote Minnesota (“FVMN”) applauds new victories for Ranked Choice Voting in two Minnesota cities. Yesterday, Bloomington and Minnetonka residents voted to adopt Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for their mayoral and city council elections beginning in 2021. The RCV ballot measure won 51% to 49% in Bloomington and 55% to 45% in Minnetonka. 

“Bloomington residents voted for a better way to elect their municipal leaders,” said RCV Bloomington Organizer Laura Calbone. “The results are a win for better elections, more choice, greater participation, more civil public debate and most of all a win for Bloomington voters.”

“We are thrilled that Minnetonka voters took this opportunity to improve our local democracy and provide more inclusive, representative elections,” said RCV Minnetonka Organizer David Haeg. 

Calbone and Haeg credited the assistance of hundreds of local volunteers who worked in support of the campaigns with creating the momentum for victory: “It’s great to see the grassroots organizing of local residents pay off in such a big win,” declared Haeg, “and we can’t wait to begin using Ranked Choice Voting next year.”

“This is a victory for the voters and residents of Minnetonka,” said Councilmember Kissy Coakley. “Ranked Choice Voting will empower voters, encourage more voters and candidates to participate in our elections, and will lead to better outcomes for our city.”

It is now up to the City Council to write an ordinance implementing the charter change. FVMN Executive Director Jeanne Massey said FVMN’s resources and expertise are available to election officials in Bloomington and Minnetonka as they undertake implementation of their city charter amendments. 

RCV is a simple change to the ballot that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference (first choice, second choice, third choice, and so on). If a candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, that candidate wins. If not, then the last-place candidate is eliminated, and the voters who chose that candidate have their vote allocated to their second choice. This process continues until one candidate reaches a majority and wins. 

With the adoption of RCV, Bloomington and Minnetonka will eliminate their costly, low turnout city primary in August and hold one election for mayor and city council in November when voter turnout is higher and more representative of the community. 

“I am so proud of my community,” added RCV Bloomington volunteer Marcia Wattson. “Ranked Choice Voting is the change we need to create a more representative and responsive government.”

Currently, only charter cities like Bloomington and Minnetonka - 15% of cities in Minnesota -  are able to adopt RCV, but Bloomington Representative Steve Elkins has sponsored legislation, the local options bill, to give any city, school district, or county the option to adopt RCV if they so choose. Rep. Elkins, along with a growing number of RCV supporters in the state legislature, will work to pass that bill in the next legislative session. 

“I’ve long been a supporter of ranked choice voting, and I’m proud my community voted to adopt RCV for our mayor and city council races,” said Rep. Elkins. “We are living in challenging times, and RCV will encourage pragmatic and bipartisan problem-solving at a time when we need it most.”

Bloomington and Minnetonka join more than twenty cities across the U.S. currently using or pending implementation of RCV, including St. Louis Park, St. Paul and Minneapolis in Minnesota, and New York City starting next year. And Maine became the first state to use RCV at the state level in 2018 and used it for presidential and US Senate elections this year. Other major democracies around the world using RCV include Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand. 

“I am pleased that voters in Bloomington and Minnetonka have chosen to adopt Ranked Choice Voting for their local elections!” declared Rep. Dean Phillips. “RCV empowers voters and favors candidates who unify rather than divide. Our country needs such candidates more than ever, and I’m eager to help spread the word and encourage further adoption of Ranked Choice Voting in Minnesota and around the nation.”

The RCV victories in Bloomington and Minnetonka, along with RCV victories in other cities across the country demonstrate the momentum for the democracy reform movement in Minnesota and nationwide.

“Ranked Choice Voting is a proven, powerful election reform that can bring about a more responsive, effective and representative government -- something we need now more than ever,” stated Executive Director Massey. “We congratulate Bloomington and Minnetonka for taking this important step, and we look forward to working with the newly elected legislature to bring this exciting reform statewide next session.”

RCV Bloomington Organizer Laura Calbone (laura@calbone.com, 612.481.4626) and RCV Minnetonka Organizer David Haeg (david.haeg@rcvminnetonka.org, 612.615.9992 are available for interviews via Zoom, by phone or in person (in compliance with Covid-19 guidelines).  

More information about Ranked Choice Voting can be found at https://www.fairvotemn.org/ranked-choice-voting, https://www.rcvbloomington.org/ and https://www.rcvminnetonka.org/.

RCV Bloomington and RCV Minnetonka are supported by FairVote Minnesota, an organization that works for better democracy through public education and advocating for voting systems that lead to greater competitiveness, better representation and more participation.

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