I moved to Bloomington recently from Minneapolis. I appreciate many things about Bloomington, but I miss using ranked-choice voting for citywide elections.
While researching candidates for the primary for mayor and city council on Aug. 13, I learned that less than 7% of registered voters turned out for the last city primary. And the city primary before that, turnout was less than 5%. Holding an August primary when so few participate is unrepresentative and expensive for the city. Ranked-choice voting — which is currently used in Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Louis Park, several U.S. cities, Maine and a handful of other countries — provides a better alternative.
RCV ensures candidates with the broadest support win in one, higher-turnout general election. Voters rank candidates in order of preference. If a candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, that candidate wins. If not, the least popular candidate is eliminated and their votes are reallocated to remaining candidates based on voters’ second choices. If there’s still no majority winner, the process repeats until a candidate reaches the winning threshold of 50% plus one.
One of the things I most appreciate about RCV is that it allows us to vote our consciences without having to worry about “wasting” a vote or indirectly helping a candidate we don’t support by voting for a lesser-known candidate. Just as important, ranked-choice voting produces a result that more accurately reflects the will of a majority of voters, rather than just a plurality in which a candidate has the most votes but doesn’t actually have a majority when there are more than two candidates.
RCV encourages a more diverse set of candidates to run and therefore a wider range of perspectives to be represented. RCV provides all candidates more time to talk with voters and voters more time to learn about candidates.
I urge the Bloomington City Council to adopt RCV for city elections and residents to let our city council members know the benefits we see with ranked-choice voting.