Last fall Minnesota’s two largest cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, held very successful ranked choice voting elections. Now, St. Louis Park could be the state’s next municipality to elect local candidates with RCV.
The Minneapolis suburb’s city council voted yesterday to adopt RCV for local elections. A second reading of the proposal is schedule for May 7, and if council members vote unanimously, ranked choice voting could be enacted later this year in August. The earliest it would be used would be for the municipal elections of November 2019.
The council’s discussion was centered around the lack of diversity on the current city council and how ranked choice voting could increase diversity in the candidate pool and improve representation.
"I'm pleased that St. Louis Park is willing to make an investment in improving electoral reform and improving democracy," said Deb Brinkman, president of the local branch of the League of Women Voters.
The decision to consider RCV in St. Louis Park could be heavily fueled by the positive outcomes that came from Minneapolis and St. Paul last November, where both cities reported an increase in voter turnout and the positive nature of the campaign between the candidates and voters, and, between the candidates themselves. The election also resulted in the first African American transgender woman being elected to the Minneapolis City Council and the first African American mayor being elected in St. Paul.
Given what happened in the Twin Cities, it’s no surprise St. Louis Park is considering adopting RCV. Ranked choice voting provides voters the freedom to vote for the candidates they like the best, without fear of helping elect a candidate they like the least. This allows more voices to be heard and give more choices to voters. It’s time for more cities in Minnesota to give their cities a greater voice at the ballot box.