Authored on May 10, 2019

Ranked Choice Voting Testimony 

State Government Finance Conference Committee 

By Kim Nelson on May 7,  2019

 

Good Evening. My name is Kim Nelson, and I am recently retired senior executive  with nearly 30 years with General Mills, here to express business support for the Ranked Choice Voting Local Options bill.  

Employers headquartered here in MN require stability and predictability in our operating environment. We depend on our elected officials to provide sustaining, bipartisan solutions to complex issues like health care, education, infrastructure, immigration, taxes, community safety.  These issues support our ability to conduct business, attract and retain employees and are critical to the long-term prosperity of our state. 

We support RCV because we believe it can help address the political polarization gripping our state and nation.  This is a bipartisan challenge.

We believe our political system works best when elected officials work together to hammer out the kind of bipartisan legislation that tends to stand the test of time - and provide the business climate certainty we need. 

RCV encourages political candidates to appeal to a broader swath of constituents.  By requiring candidates to achieve at least 51% of the vote, it naturally incentivizes policy solutions more representative of the center of the electorate.

RCV is not a new, confusing or radical practice. It is used in states like Arkansas, Louisiana, and South Carolina for military and other overseas voters.  It is used in cities like Memphis, Santa Fe, San Francisco and in the state of Maine.  And it is used in countries like Australia, Ireland, Scotland and New Zealand. 

We have observed the use of RCV right here in Minneapolis and St. Paul and concluded that it has been successful, efficient and effective. Studies show that voters find RCV easy to use and they prefer it. Elections are more competitive, voter turnout is higher, campaigns are more civil.

I join a number of local business leaders, who have signed the letter before you urging you to adopt the Ranked Choice Voting Local Option bill allowing Minnesota communities to decide for themselves if this system is right for them.  

Thank you for hearing my testimony.