Ranked-choice voting prohibition

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The Senate passed a bill this week to prohibit cities, counties, towns, and school districts from implementing ranked-choice voting (RCV), which allows voters to select additional candidates for an office if one candidate does not receive a majority on the first count. In Minnesota, Minneapolis and St. Paul have passed ordinances establishing ranked-choice voting for citywide elections. It’s also used by municipalities in California and Maryland and was recently approved statewide in Maine. The bill as proposed prohibits Minnesota municipalities from enforcing any resolutions or ordinances they have passed to implement RCV.

This is yet another example of the Legislature attempting to preempt local governments, which are better equipped to determine what is in the best interests of their communities. Proponents of ranked-choice voting contend it eliminates the problem of ‘wasted’ votes, increases voter participation, and is cost-effective because it eliminates the need for primaries in nonpartisan elections. They argue RCV opens the political process to more candidates and promotes more diverse political representation and requires candidates to appeal to a broader base of supporters.

The bill passed the State Government Committee and was sent to the Senate Floor. (S.F. 3325)