Ranked-choice voting really is as easy as one, two, three. Depending on how many candidates there are on the ballot, you can rank as many as you want. The more you rank, the more power your vote has. More than 104,000 Minneapolitans and 61,000 St. Paulites cast a ballot indicating their top-choice candidates for mayor, park board and city council in their respective cities – far more than turned out in either city for a “non-presidential” election year in 2013. According to an Edison exit poll, 92 percent of Minneapolis voters said ranked-choice voting was simple to use.
There was something else about ranked-choice voting that I, as a Latino with skin in the game of politics and a recent transplant to St. Louis Park, noticed when the dust settled after the historic elections that took place in both St. Paul and Minneapolis. It is how ranked-choice voting encourages participation and dismantles the status quo. Incumbents that have held seats for more than 40 years were essentially dethroned. That type of change needs to happen, and elected officials need to be open to it in order to allow for the most marginalized communities to thrive. Members of their respective communities are the ones to best provide the information a leading body needs to operate effectively.
Ranked-choice voting creates a sense of inclusivity for the Latino community. As a community organizer, I’ve been able to witness those positive changes happen firsthand. As voters, it encourages us to put our best foot forward, do research on the candidates and rank your vote. “Rankéalo” is the term we have adopted in Spanish. St. Louis Park is an area that is becoming more and more diverse. On that very basis, I am depending on the charter commission to send a favorable recommendation to the city council so we can enact ranked-choice voting as soon as possible in the city of St. Louis Park. People of color have been ignited and are showing up at the polls.