Looking forward to a ranked-choice voting election

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October 15, 2013
By: Felicity Britton
Felicity Britton

Having grown up in Australia – which has used ranked choice voting for a century to elect House members (and for 64 years to elect Senators) – I’ve long believed it would improve the political process in Minnesota, too. I’m looking forward to casting first-, second- and third-choice votes in this year’s exciting Minneapolis mayoral race.

At the local level, RCV prevents the “vote-splitting” that can occur in first-past-the-post elections (and that can discourage good, qualified candidates from running). And of course it does away with that separate, low-turnout primary, where a handful of voters with outsize influence shaped the race into a much narrower question.

At the state level, it would honor the reality that Minnesota, today, is a multiparty state – with a diversity of ideas and perspectives, beyond those of the “major” two parties, worth considering. Yet under the plurality system, many of those ideas and perspectives get shut out. Our friends Down Under enjoy a much fuller and richer political dialogue – and outcomes that are far more reflective of voters’ intent.

In Australia there's no debate about whether RCV is difficult to understand. It's not called rank choice voting  -it's simply called voting  -and first time voters and long time voters, minority, non-minority, well educated and less educated citizens all manage to cast votes that reflect their values.

I’m proud to live in Minnesota, which shares my home country’s commitment to political innovation, and I’m excited to see the success of RCV in my new home Minneapolis spur this reform across the state.

Felicity Britton
Linden Hills