Authored on June 18, 2020

To the Editor:

On June 8, after a significant show of public support for ranked-choice voting, the Minnetonka City Council voted unanimously to start the process of adding RCV as a ballot question for the November election. A ballot measure would give our entire community the chance to decide if we want to use RCV for our City Council elections - the most democratic way possible.

Now our Charter Commission must review the RCV charter amendment proposal and make a recommendation back to the council for a final vote. This should be very straightforward and brief: the amendment is only a few paragraphs long, and is nearly identical to the language used in other cities, about an election system already ruled as constitutional. However, the Charter Commission has the ability to unnecessarily extend the review up to 150 days, which, as several council members acknowledged, would prevent adding RCV to the November ballot.

The reason cited for this potential delay is the Charter Commission’s stated desire to conduct more research on RCV, though most of it would duplicate information which has already been presented to the City Council and Commission and well established in other cities. I urge the city and commission members to be efficient and timely in their work and provide a recommendation to the City Council so that RCV is on the ballot this November. We should be focusing time and energy educating voters rather than reinventing the wheel on an internal study for a small group of commission members.

Without COVID-19, residents would have collected signatures to unilaterally put RCV on the ballot this year. That simply wasn’t an option. The Charter Commission should recognize and honor the will of the City Council and the community in wanting to consider RCV on the ballot this year, and move it forward. I agree with Mayor Wiersum that 2020 is the best year for voters to weigh in on RCV “because it will more broadly reflect all of the voters in Minnetonka.”

I strongly urge the Charter Commission to finish their work and let the voters decide this November.

Marcia Peck