Authored on March 13, 2019
stack of newspapers

This story ran in the Sun Sailor newspaper on February 26, 2019.

 

Rep. Cheryl Youakim (DFL-Hopkins) is supporting a bill that would allow more local governments in Minnesota the opportunity to adopt ranked-choice voting.

The bill had its first hearing in the House Subcommittee on Elections Feb. 20.

Ranked-choice voting consolidates local nonpartisan primaries and general elections into one election in which voters rank candidates in each race by preference. When candidates are mathematically eliminated during tallying, the next-highest preferences of people who voted for them are considered instead.

The bill, HF 983, would allow all cities, townships, counties and school districts to use ranked-choice voting if they choose to do so. It also establishes implementation standards for consistent use of ranked-choice voting across Minnesota and equipment guidelines to ensure replacement voting equipment is capable of using the system.

Currently only charter cities, which make up 15 percent of Minnesota’s cities, are able to implement ranked-choice voting without Legislative permission. Minneapolis, St. Paul and St. Louis Park are charter cities that have adopted the system. Youakim’s district includes a section of St. Louis Park along with Hopkins.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, who authored a similar bill while representing the district Youakim now represents in the Minnesota House of Representatives, continues to support the measure. He called it a “Goldilocks option.”

In a statement, Simon said, “It’s a compromise that says not that any jurisdiction should have Ranked Choice Voting, but if they want to have it, they shouldn’t have to come on bended knee to ask the legislature to ask special permission.”