BY MATTHEW PECKHAM, OPINION WRITER
This year, voters in Minneapolis’ Nov. 7 mayoral election will see a new voting system. Minneapolis’ Elections & Voter Services explains, “You can choose to rank up to three candidates for all offices on the ballot in the November General Election.” But how does rank choice function?
The city’s ranked choice mayoral ballots include a first, a second and a third favorite pick for office. If an individual’s first choice does not make it into office, there is still a chance they will end up with one of their two other choices. Ultimately, if a candidate wins over 50 percent of the votes, they are elected. If no candidate wins at least 50 percent, the lowest candidate is eliminated from the race and their ballots are divided based on voter’s second choices. However, this system hardly narrows the field.
The number of party identifications include DemocraticFarmer-Labor (DFL), Libertarian, People Over Politics, Independent, Socialist Workers and Rainbows Butterflies Unicorns. The Minnesota Secretary of State website lists sixteen people who have filed for candidacy. Half of these people are registered as a member of the DFL party: Raymond Dehn, Al Flowers, Jacob Frey, Tom Hoch, incumbent Betsy Hodges, Gregg A. Iverson, Nekima Levy-Pounds and Aswar Rahman.
The other half of the voting pool is a mixed bunch. Ronald Lischeid of the People Over Politics Party, Independent L.A Nik, Libertarian Charlie Gers, Troy Benjegerdes of the Farmer Labor Party, David Rosenfeld of the Socialist Workers Party, Ian Simpson of The Idea Party, Captain Jack Sparrow of the Basic Income Guarantee Party (occupirate.blogspot. com) and David John Wilson of the Rainbows Butterflies Unicorns party (daveunicorn.com).
A ranked-choice election between eight DFL candidates and eight minor party candidates requires Minneapolis’ voters are more informed than is required in a single-vote race of two major party candidates. The candidates’ information listed above are starting points for this research. Local news outlets are covering the election, and the Echo will be running opinion pieces from Augsburg students. However, only referring to a single outlet provides only a snippet of information. Half a million residents will be represented by November’s winner. There are many different visions for the Mill City, and it is up to Minneapolitans to understand them and to choose accordingly.
This article first appeared in the Friday, October 13, 2017, Edition of The Echo.