Ranked-choice voting successful

Kate Dobson, Cora Ellenson-Myers, Leah Enter - Co-chairs, Minnesota Public Interest Research Group

On the front page of last Thursday’s Minnesota Daily was outright blame on ranked-choice voting for a short delay in election results from last Tuesday’s mayoral.

What was missing from the reporting was basic research thatwould have explained that with our new voting system (RCV), which is more considerate of voter preferences, many people expected results would come with a minimal lag.

Experts and proponents of RCV have predicted this short lag in results since the incumbent R.T. Rybak announced he wouldn’t be running for re-election.

RCV was a major success. Nearly 88 percent of voters ranked their second-choice candidates, and about 77 percent ranked a third choice.

By taking advantage of this new system, Minneapolis voters had a more representative ballot of candidates by taking out the step of caucusing. Caucusing has historically underrepresented and excluded our student populations because it has been held in August, prior to many students moving into precincts near campus.

Simply sharing the ranking of precincts by voter turnout is not only short-sighted, but not surprising at all. The three precincts that are particularly heavily student-populated have in the past municipal elections been in the lowest of this ranked list.

What is noteworthy is an exponential increase of student voters coming out to the polls. The increase in voter turnout from these three precincts is greater than the average increase of turnout throughout Minneapolis.

The Daily article included accounts from political organizers, election judges and voters pleased with the turnout and how easy it was to interact with the new system at the polling locations around campus.

Nothing went wrong with last week’s election. Actually, everything went according to plan or better. Nobody promised immediate results.

Tuesday proved for everyone watching that RCV was successful again in Minneapolis. Democracy won as a more fair system was implemented and a staggering majority of voters took advantage of it. Ryan Kennedy, associate director of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, said the student voice was victorious, as elections results revealed turnout in student-heavy precincts doubled or tripled from 2009.