Letter to the Editor l March 3, 2017

There they go again. The same political insiders who fought against the adoption of ranked-choice voting in 2009 are at it once more. They’ve managed to quietly convene a meeting of the St. Paul Charter Commission to consider a ballot measure overturning RCV.

They were on the losing side of this popular measure that gives voters more choice and more voice. RCV is bad for everything entrenched party elites like: winnowing the slate of candidates early in a low-turnout primary resulting in a fait accompli November outcome. As local and state political parties have focused on right/left national issues, they’ve become ladders of upper mobility for local office holders and not a voice for the community in local or state government.

The sad truth is that democracy is in decline and voters have little enough voice in city government already. The vast majority of Americans are angry and frustrated by the lack of viable choices at the ballot box, which has led to the election of one of the most divisive presidents ever. They’re also dismayed by extreme candidates who end up winning with just a small fraction of the vote.

In response, voters in St. Paul already have sent a clear message: they want more choice and more voice in their elections. They wanted it yesterday, they want it today, and they want it in November in the first open mayoral race in many years. Now more than ever, we need to keep daring new voices to challenge the status quo. This includes challenging the two major parties to be more diverse and more inclusive. Ranked-choice voting does just that.

Democracy demands choices — real choices. I implore charter commission members to protect the right of St. Paul voters to choose from among a diverse slate of candidates at the polls. And, St. Paul voters, I have a message for you, too: Please contact the charter commission members and let them know to vote “no” on any ballot measure to rescind RCV.  And attend the charter commission meeting at 4:30 p.m. March 27 at City Hall when they will be voting on the proposal. Let’s let the charter commission know that ranked-choice voting is here to stay!