Authored on November 02, 2020

Your voice can save democracy this November 3. 

That statement may sound overly dramatic, but it is not an exaggeration. At the local, state, and national levels, elections have made some people feel that they don’t have a voice -- candidates who most people vote against win, and our politics have become increasingly negative and polarized at every level. It’s easy to feel that there’s no point in voting at all. You might stay home, deepening a sense of detachment from the political process.  

It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. We want you to know your voice is needed. 

On November 3, voters in the two communities we serve, Bloomington and Minnetonka  have the power to vote YES to Ranked Choice Voting in Minnesota. With your YES vote, yours will be a critical voice that helps us move away from stark, binary election choices. You will move us away from an outdated, narrow system, toward a system that chooses local, state and national elected officials who more broadly represent their voters.

You’ve probably heard the misinformation flying around about Ranked Choice Voting. None of that is true. In fact, the simple truth is RCV gives you as a voter more choice and more power. Here’s how RCV works. 

In the current system, the candidate with the most votes wins -- even if that’s not a majority (50% + 1). With Ranked Choice Voting, that candidate doesn’t win yet because the tally isn’t over until a candidate has earned a majority. Like a runoff, the least popular candidates are defeated and if any of them were your favorite candidate, your ballot now counts for your second choice. It wasn’t wasted. The process continues until one candidate reaches a majority and wins.

RCV reduces the rancor and negativity. One of the most powerful changes RCV incentivizes is less negative campaigning. To win under RCV, candidates must appeal beyond their base for second and third choice support. This gives every candidate a vote-getting reason to stay focused on the issues and refrain from attacking their opponents. RCV encourages candidates to remain civil and build broad coalitions to represent a majority of voters.

RCV fosters more voter participation. Voter participation has increased in places that have adopted it. At the local level, RCV removes the need for the low-turnout, costly and unrepresentative primary and brings together all the candidates in November when voter turnout is highest and most diverse. 

RCV is simple and intuitive. We rank things all the time in our daily life. Have you ever had to decide on a restaurant with a group of people? They’ll usually have 2-3 options each. You rule out a few, and end up at a restaurant that was most people’s first choice and some people’s second choice. RCV uses the same concept.

RCV cuts across party lines and makes our elections more inclusive and diverse. It’s used in big and small cities and in red and blue states across the Nation. It encourages more people of different political beliefs, women, and candidates of color to run because they have a real opportunity to shape the conversation about the future of their communities and stand a real shot at winning. That in turn empowers a far more diverse voter turnout. 

And most importantly, Ranked Choice Voting gives every voter a real voice. You can vote for your preferred candidate without worrying that your vote will be wasted or end up electing the candidate you like the least. It will encourage civic participation in a time when we need that more than ever.

Bloomington and Minnetonka voters, you have the power to transform our democracy on November 3 by voting YES for Ranked Choice Voting and growing the momentum for RCV statewide. You will be joining five other RCV ballot measures, including statewide measures in Alaska and Massachusetts! 

This is the year for democracy.

Rep. Steve Elkins represents HD 49B, which includes parts of Bloomington and Minnetonka

Ann Johnson Stewart is a candidate running for SD 44 representing Minnetonka