By Kathy Kranz, Co-Chair, Senate District 50 Republicans
A public hearing took place on March 22nd regarding the final ordinance for Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). Decisions were not finalized, and the hearing will continue April 12.
RCV is only for municipal elections, not for school board, county, state, or federal elections.
At this point, most of the council agrees that a voter may rank up to 6 candidates and be able to write-in a candidate IF the write- in candidate registers with the city at least 7 days ahead of the election. There was some discussion as to whether the Charter Commission would get to weigh in on whether a write-in is counted whether registered or not. The Charter Commission meets the first week in May. Busse mentioned he wanted to get this decided on April 12th in Council Session.
Any candidate not in the top 6 in the first round of votes will be dropped. Laura Calbone – RCV Bloomington, mentioned that she supports allowing up to 6 votes to minimize the number of exhausted ballots. Remember that exhausted ballots are those where one has not voted for any of the top remaining candidates and those votes are discarded.
The interesting policy decision is whether a Static Threshold to win or a Dynamic Threshold (which would change through each round) will be adopted. In a Static Threshold to win, the total ballots cast for the office divided by 2 +1 is used for all rounds. The Dynamic Threshold to win is changed in each subsequent round. It will be the total ballots cast for the office in that round divided by 2 +1. Assistant City Manager Kris Wilson said the Dynamic Threshold would change the amount one would need to be declared the winner in a round, but she could not say if the Dynamic Threshold would change who would be declared the winner from who would win under the Static Method. She thought it is more likely the Dynamic threshold might declare a winner with fewer number of rounds. Most of the council members agree that the Dynamic Threshold should be adopted.
Method of counting is still to be determined on April 12. There are three ways to count the ballots: Tabulators, Dynamic Excel Spreadsheets and Hand Counting.
A new city clerk will also be in place on April 12th and will be responsible for elections.
Suggested action: All Republican election judges are encouraged to call the new City Clerk or Kris Wilson and volunteer to count ballots or help perform the self-audit of the RCV election.
You may view the City Council's March 22 meeting on the Bloomington video site. CLICK HERE The RCV Hearing starts at minute 52 and ends around the 2 hour 30 minute mark.
An update on another topic from the Council meeting, Affordable Housing, is below.
City Manager Verbrugge says the Met Council has determined that Bloomington’s need is 586 low-income units while Edina is at 878 and Richfield is at 121. Does this warrant the number of projects the City Council is considering? Residents asked for more specific information. The City Manager said he would have that in April.
More needs to be learned with regard to how Affordable Housing in Bloomington will be run. Those who suffer most under the flawed belief in the goodness of public affordable housing, are those who need the most help. What is Bloomington going to do to allow lower-income and disadvantaged households a pathway to asset ownership instead of relying heavily on the public trough? Are any of the re-zoning proposals taking away from developing the opportunity for local employment so these families can own their own homes? How is the City of Bloomington going to safeguard the corruption that sometimes befalls public housing by public managers and officials taking bribes and extortion that occur by manipulating applications and development contracts?
One good example of the corruption of low-income housing is Luna Park at Coney Island which is all too common. Forgery, bribery and favoritism put three Board members/managers in prison. In the meantime, those who should have been helped were discarded. Eric Gonzales, Brooklyn District Attorney said, “The problems that existed in Luna Park likely exist in other places.” And he’s right, an internet search will bring up several examples.