As a college student of voting age, I’ve gained a greater awareness of elections and the relevance of the voting process in truly reflecting voters’ choices. It is particularly upsetting to me that my community, Edina, has lagged behind St. Paul, Minneapolis and St. Louis Park in implementing ranked-choice voting. Not because it may not want to, but because it can’t. Currently, Edina is unable to implement ranked-choice voting due to its lack of a city charter, which allows cities to deviate from state law. Like in the Twin Cities, in the Bay Area, where I go to school, ranked-choice voting received a warm welcome by area residents and I’d love for my community to have the option to use it. This legislative session, Ranked Choice Voting bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Heather Edelson, passed the House, but stalled in the Senate. I hope it passes next session.
It is vital that we recognize the optimism ranked ballots brings to the new generation of young voters who see voting as a futile exercise when the choice is between voting the most electable candidate that is not their first choice versus “wasting” their vote.
As a student, I urge my peers to demand a change in state law that supports passage of the Local Options Bill so Edina can implement ranked-choice voting. As young voters are entering the democratic process, we must recognize and support a fair voting process, and drive the change necessary to empower local communities. Let’s build true democracy one brick at a time.