Authored on April 16, 2019

The more I learn about ranked-choice voting, the more I think it is the right choice for Minnetonka. Thankfully, Minnetonka is governed by its own charter and is able to adopt and implement it right now.

Not every city in our state has this freedom. In fact, Minnetonka is one of only 15 percent of Minnesota cities that can determine how to conduct their own elections. And even then, we don’t have guidance in statute on how to conduct ranked elections.

That’s why I urge our state legislators to pass the “local options measure,” which now is part of the state government finance division omnibus bill, House File 1935. This measure simply says that if a city wants to use ranked-choice voting, it may. It also offers tools for how it can be implemented in a city, town, county or school district.

Minnesotans are coming to understand the value of ranked-choice voting in elections for city council and mayor. It eliminates low-turnout, unrepresentative primaries where, as in Minnetonka, only about 5 percent of voters tend to show up. It lets voters rank their choices in November, when most people vote, and ensures candidates win with broad majority support in a single election.

Additionally, in Minnetonka, mid-term vacancies often are filled by council appointments or special elections that can result in candidates winning with less than a majority of votes. With ranked-choice voting, we could conduct special elections and ensure winners have the support of the majority of voters.

Ranked-choice voting would promote greater civic engagement and ensure our elected officials are accountable to all Minnetonka voters. That’s how democracy should work. I hope everyone will take time to learn more about ranked-choice voting, urge our legislators to pass the local options measure and encourage our city leaders to study adopting it here in Minnetonka.

Paula Ramaley