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home : about us : about us Saturday, November 18, 2017

10/31/2017 5:13:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Rank Your Ballots November 7

By Bao Vang

Minneapolis and St. Paul voters, this year you will elect your next city leaders using Ranked Choice Voting. As a long-time resident of St. Paul, nonprofit leader in the Hmong community and voting advocate, I'm excited by the use of RCV in my home town and our sister city, Minneapolis.

Ranked Choice Voting is proven to give more choice and more power to voters, especially communities of color, who turn out in very small numbers in the traditional primary system that RCV replaced. Now, voters have to turnout only once in November and everyone gets an equal say in who our next leaders will be.

In both cities, you will be electing a mayor and in Minneapolis, you also will be electing city council members, park board representatives and member of the Board of Estimate and Taxation on November 7. St. Paul voters also will be electing new school board members using traditional - versus ranked choice - voting.

Adopted by voters in 2006 in Minneapolis and 2009 in St. Paul, RCV has been used since 2009. Identifying second and third choices isn't mandatory, but it's smart. Ranking your ballot 1-2-3 gives you more choice and gives your ballot more power.

Ranked Choice Voting works just like two elections - a primary and a general election - but it's done in a single trip to the polls in November. It has eliminated the low-turnout August primary, when historically a tiny, unrepresentative group of voters culled the field to just two viable choices for everyone else. Best of all, RCV requires that candidates receive support from the broadest swatch of voters possible.

RCV allows you to identify two backup choices in case your #1 candidate doesn't gather majority support in order to win in the first round of counting. That means choosing your favorite - plus two other candidates you could live with - and marking them in order of preference on your ballot. Identifying backup choices isn't mandatory, but it gives you more choice and gives your ballot more power.

Each ballot will have three columns. Simply mark the ballot left to right, indicating your first choice in the first column, your second choice in the next column, and your third choice in the column after that. "Bullet voting," marking just one choice or marking the same candidate in all three columns, is identical to only picking a first choice. It's just like voting in the primary, but sitting out the general election if your first choice doesn't make it through.

Fully ranking your ballot in the mayoral and other multicandidate races means that if your favorite candidate doesn't gather enough support in the first or second rounds of counting and is eliminated, your vote will transfer to your next choice and you'll continue to be part of the decision-making process.

To win (in a single-seat race), a candidate needs to receive a majority of votes. If no candidate receives a majority of first choices, the last place candidate is dropped and the votes for that candidate are reallocated to the remaining candidates based on those voters' second choices. This process continues until one candidate has reached the winning threshold.

Identifying three candidates that are acceptable to you takes a bit more effort than choosing one, to be sure. But it's worth it, and ensures there's a bigger chance you'll help elect someone you like - or could live with.

To learn more about who's on the ballot and how RCV works in Minneapolis, visit www.rankyourvote.org and vote.minneapolismn.gov and https://www.ramseycounty.us/residents/elections-voting

Click here to see a video about how Ranked Choice voting works: http://vote.minneapolismn.gov/rcv/index.htm

And click here to download your sample ballot: http://myballotmn.sos.state.mn.us/

Happy Election Day, and remember to rank your ballot on November 7!

Sincerely,

Bao Vang

President and CEO, Hmong American Partnership and member of the FairVote Minnesota Board

P.S. You can help educate your neighbors and friends about ranking their ballots November 7, by sharing the Hmong Times and encouraging them to rank on Election Day.




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