Authored on September 20, 2020

To the editor:

I encourage Bloomington voters to join me in voting yes on ballot question 3 to adopt ranked-choice voting for city council and mayoral elections when we vote on or before Nov. 3.

Voting by ranking my candidate preferences makes common sense to me.

Our summer primary elections are a sad joke. I need to be blunt. Only about 10% of Bloomington’s voters cast ballots. And only a small number of party activists typically decide the two candidates who will be on the general election ballot. This does not describe a true democracy.

Making matters worse, we all know how partisan and argumentative the two political parties have become. Let us get a chance to hear from and vote on all the candidates in the November election when turnout is much larger.

Eliminating the primary would save taxpayer money for staff time and reduce the need to recruit and train polling place judges. Furthermore, getting enough volunteers has become challenging in recent years. Dropping one voting day should help.

We already rank choices in our daily lives, it’s not rocket science. To suggest we need more time to learn is really an insult to our intelligence.

What do we do when we need to buy a car? We rank options. What do we do when we plan vacations? We rank options.

As voters we should follow the same process, including gathering good information about candidates and issues. We need to do that as carefully as we do for cars and vacations. It’s tragic how many aspects of American life have become polarized. I realize I’ll be put in a partisan box by some because I support ranked-choice voting. The fact is I refuse to belong to any political party. The political party system in America is broken.

Democracy requires collaboration, working for the good of all of us. Voting is a critically important aspect of a successful democracy.

Please get your head around the value of ranked-choice voting. Please vote on or before Nov. 3. I encourage you to vote yes on ballot question 3.

Jon Oleson


Oleson is a former Bloomington City Council member.