Authored on June 11, 2020

These are painful and demanding times in our country, particularly for people of color, who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, unemployment and police violence. The time is now to address systemic racism in our society and institutions, including our electoral system, to ensure our elected officials represent and reflect our diverse community and their needs.

This is one reason why we support the community effort to adopt Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for our local elections. In Minneapolis, St. Paul, and cities across the country that use RCV, there has been a large increase in candidates of color running -- and winning. Minneapolis and St. Paul have the most diverse city councils in history. 

RCV reduces racial disparities in our local elections by eliminating the low-turnout primary, where voters of color are least represented. And candidates will not be deterred from running simply because they don’t have enough money or couldn’t mobilize their supporters in a summer primary where voters are less representative of the community.

RCV allows new and diverse candidates to enter the race, spend money on one campaign, and be heard through November, when voter turnout is significantly higher and more diverse. A broader, more representative segment of the community is able to weigh in on all the candidates in a single decisive election without worrying about splitting the vote among like-minded candidates. 

RCV is one of the biggest ways to expand representation of people of color in Bloomington. As former African American Council Member Ralph Remington and Senator Mee Moua said when Minneapolis adopted RCV: “The effects of [RCV] are huge, and we believe it is one of the best modifications in our voting system for communities of color since the Voting Rights Act of 1964.” Indeed, Eastpointe Michigan implemented RCV last year as a court-ordered remedy to protect the voting power of African Americans in response to a voting rights lawsuit by the Justice Department.

If we are serious about making change in our community, we should reduce every barrier we can to ensure people of color can run, have their voices heard and gain a seat at the table. We hope that the Bloomington Charter Commission and City Council will put RCV on the ballot in November for voters to decide. We look forward to an engaging conversation about how to make our local democracy more inclusive and representative for all of us. 

Bloomington residents:

  • Yahye Mohamed

  • Basha Salah

  • Johnathon McClellan

  • Dennis Lee

  • Karen Wills

  • SiriAnna Strommen

  • Marcia Wattson

  • Laura Calbone

  • Liz Beckmann

  • Tom Ehlinger

  • Heidi Voss

  • Carolyn Philstrom

  • Lucy Saliger

  • Leah Webb

  • Laurie Aho

  • Anita Smithson

  • Lynn Lundeberg

  • Pat Meyer

  • Lisa Thorpe

  • Dorette Kerian

  • Nan Corliss

  • Keith Guinee

  • Kim Walker

  • Timothy J Hannemann

  • Pat Ekstrom

  • Anne Peek

  • Mia Olson

  • Kathy Crask

  • Phil Burke

  • Richard Laybourn