To the editor:
For more than a year, there’s been much discussion in Minnetonka about ranked-choice voting, which I’m very excited about. To me, it’s just a simple change to make our elections more inclusive of all our voters, which is what democracy is about. I hear some people worry about what this change might mean to our well-run city. The reality is that ranked-choice voting won’t just ensure that our city continues to be well-run, but more residents will know about and be engaged in the great work of our city. That’s a win-win.
Minnetonka is part of a very small group of cities that holds their city council elections in odd years, when there are no other state or national elections, and the focus is on local issues. Most of the other cities in the same boat (Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Louis Park) have adopted ranked-choice voting to consolidate primary and general elections into a single election because primaries are expensive and so few voters participate in them. And voters who do are not very representative of the overall community. Minnetonka is one of the few remaining cities holding on to these odd-year primary elections. We don’t need to. What reason could we have to continue to run a $50,000 election that just 4% of voters participate in? We’re better off with a single decisive election in November, electing candidates with broad community support when turnout is highest. Our voting equipment can handle it and so can voters – every single survey I’ve seen says that 90% or more of voters think ranked-choice voting is simple and they prefer it over the current system.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s get ranked-choice voting on the ballot in November when we are expecting historic turnout, and let voters decide if it’s right for our community. It’s easy to despair at the dysfunction of our national politics, but we have the power to improve things right here in our own community, show the way forward, and continue to demonstrate that Minnetonka is committed to inclusive democracy.