By Kathy Kranz, Co-Chair, Senate District 50 Republicans
Question 3 on the Bloomington Ballot will read: "Should the Bloomington City Charter be amended to elect the Mayor and City Council members by the Ranked Choice Voting Method?”
The Ranked Choice Voting method has been marketed to our City Council and our voting masses to appeal to all the heightened emotions of our turbulent times. It is a proposed solution in search of problems that it cannot address. Make sure you are an informed voter about what RCV really is, a redistribution of your votes.
In previous articles we have worked to keep you up to date with this issue.
Today, let’s look at the emotional advantages pro-RCV supporters will try on you:
RCV supporters say that it "Ensures winners with broad majority support" - Untrue. Minneapolis' Mayor Frey for example, won with far less than a single candidate majority. The inexperienced mayor won in the 5th round and was the top choice of fewer than 25% of the voters. Minneapolis made the outrageous claim that the mayor won with a "broad majority." An intentionally misleading claim, especially given the number of disqualified ballots. The number of votes needed to be "a majority" diminishes with each round of vote redistribution.
RCV supporters say that it "Eliminates the low-turnout, unrepresentative primary" - A better alternative is easily available. By simply changing the election cycle from odd to even years (when state-office primaries are already held), low turnout goes away. Prof. Schultz of Hamline Univ. spoke to the City Council and said that even-year primaries are the “silver bullet.” The fastest way to increase interest in something is keeping it simple; not anything RCV will do.
RCV supporters say that it "Saves taxpayers’ dollars" – Untrue. Bloomington can’t really quantify yet, but Santa Fe, similar in size to Bloomington, spent $350,000 on RCV education in a mayoral race that had 20,000 voters turn out. Is Bloomington underestimating the additional cost to its taxpayers? Minnetonka estimates that it will pay $106K annually to run RCV. They will pay for new machines, new counting processes, legal challenges, and various miscellaneous expenses.
RCV supporters say that it "Promotes more inclusive and representative elections" - This is nonsense and entirely impossible to prove. The current city council and the mayor were elected through our traditional voting process and it was entirely fair and inclusive. In the real world, data shows that turnout dropped in San Francisco mayoral elections following the adoption of RCV, especially among minority groups. Even the NAACP finds this type of “run-off” voting “Complicated and discriminatory”. The ACLU even believes that economic and racial disparities are not solved with RCV type systems.
RCV supporters say that it "Provides more choice for voters" - Misleading! The traditional primary process puts forth plenty of candidates and always has. Stacking many candidate choices only attempts to ensure that people remain in their positions for decades and that one party or the other stays in place. Most voters are only able to "know" one or two candidates and are satisfied with the primary process. More choice also means that candidates water down their positions in order to compete so that issue-driven dialog becomes obscured. Voters also become burdened with having to research and understand more candidates, including those who are fringe and unqualified.
RCV supporters say that it "Ends spoiler and wasted vote dynamics" - Voter's ballots are exhausted in high numbers using RCV. RCV only changes the dynamics. Issues will still exist. Even California's Gov. Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown before him vetoed RCV in California because it was too confusing and less democratic.
RCV supporters say that it "Fosters more civil campaigns" - Nonsense! They have no history to support this claim.
RCV disqualifies at least 10% of ballots during elections and can re-direct your vote to candidates you do not support. RCV was rejected by Bloomington’s Charter Commission after they cut through the one-sided stories from outside influencers and their money during emergency times. RCV elected the failing Mayor and Minneapolis City Council with the same over-the-top promises we are now hearing with a 21% ballot exhaustion rate last election. How does that help more people vote and have greater support for the winner?
Join with your fellow grassroots residents to put this silly notion to bed once and for all by voting “NO” on Ballot Question 3. We will be outside the Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning till 1PM if you want to engage and ask questions.
I offer you yet another great resource to review. Keepvotingsimple.com along with our own website rcvcam.com where you can download additional information. And if you would like to host a lawn sign, email Kathy Kranz at [email protected].