Local Options Talking Points | Fair Vote Minnesota

Local Options Talking Points

  • The 2019 Ranked Choice Local Options bill (H.F. 983) is sponsored by Representatives Steve Elkins (DFL-Bloomington) and Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) along with many of their House colleagues as cosponsors.

  • The 2017 Ranked Choice Voting Local Options bill (S.F. 2071; H.F. 2322) was introduced by Senators Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria) and Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope) and Representatives Tony Albright (R-Prior Lake) and Laurie Halverson (DFL-Eagan). It was reintroduced in 2018.

  • Only 15% of Minnesota cities have their own charter, permitting them to make their own rules about how they run their local elections. The remaining 85% of cities, all townships, all school districts, all soil & water boards, every county except Ramsey, and any other type of jurisdiction that holds an election would have to go begging at the Minnesota Legislature to ask permission to use Ranked Choice Voting. This is not a good use of resources for these units of government.

  • The bill promotes commonsense reform and innovation that helps military voters, saves communities money and increases civic engagement.

  • Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is a tested, trusted method of voting that allows voters to rank their candidate preferences on a single ballot – 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc. 

  • RCV decreases barriers for military voters by offering a more convenient, more reliable method of casting absentee ballots from remote, overseas locations. Oversees voters would benefit from having one less election for which they need to receive and return ballots in a timely fashion. If local officials want their communities to make it easier for deployed service members to participate in elections, the Legislature should support this.

  • RCV works like an instant runoff in a single election to ensure the winner receives a majority of votes.  In a single-seat election, if no candidate receives a majority (50% + 1) of first-place rankings, the least popular candidates are eliminated and their ballots are redistributed to remaining candidates based on their voters’ next rankings until one candidate receives a majority of ballots remaining.

  • RCV simplifies the election process and saves money.  RCV consolidates two rounds – a nonpartisan primary and a general election or a partisan general election with a runoff – into a single general election, reducing the cost of elections for taxpayers and candidates and producing winners in the higher turnout election in November. 

  • Voters find RCV easy to use. In fact, 95 percent of first-time RCV voters polled in Minneapolis by St. Cloud State Research in 2009 found RCV simple to use.

  • RCV discourages negative campaigning and promotes issue-based debates by providing a real incentive for candidates to appeal to voters for second-place votes.

  • RCV upholds the important principle of “one person-one vote.”  The Minnesota Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that RCV is constitutional and does not violate any federal or state constitutional protections, including equal protection claims under the principle of "one person, one vote" or the right to free political association.

  • Supporting this bill is taking a stand for military voters, local control, municipal cost savings and political innovation by supporting this measure. 

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