Authored on September 29, 2020

To the Editor:

Many of you may have heard from the City of Minnetonka about ranked-choice voting and the question on the November ballot that will decide whether or not we use it for our future city council elections.

What the city didn’t communicate were the problems with our current election process that created support for this change. Only 4% of voters participate in our city council primary elections. Every recent city council special election winner had less than half of the votes - i.e. the majority of residents did not want the winning candidate. Can elections like these be called democratic?

Using ranked-choice voting is a modest proposal that would allow us to put every candidate on the ballot on a single election day and ensure consensus winners in every election.

To understand how ranked-choice voting might affect Minnetonka, we can look at St. Louis Park, where it was used last year for their city council elections. It didn’t create drama or problems. They had three candidates for a city council seat and a consensus winner on a single voting day, without the need for a low-turnout primary election. Nearly 50% more residents voted.

But this issue, like wearing masks to protect our community, has become politicized. Opponents of ranked-choice voting have taken this issue to court in Minnesota and in Maine to try and stop it, but they’ve lost. Every. Single. Time.

Because opponents can’t win through the courts, they will try to scare you with disproven claims. Don’t buy it. If voters didn’t like ranked-choice voting, they would stop using it - but its popularity is growing steadily, with millions of voters using it across the US. Consensus-minded leaders like Gov. Tim Walz, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, former Gov. Arne Carlson and former U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger all support it, along with many others.

I’m young, but I recognize that if we can’t take the simple and obvious opportunities to improve our local elections, then broader national reforms will be impossible. Let’s vote YES and take this sensible step forward. More info can be found at RCVMinnetonka.org.

Ian Feagler

Minnetonka