Ranked choice is better for voters

Today, in most Minnesota elections, a candidate need not earn majority support to win; they can win with less, and sometimes far less, than 50% of the vote. When someone wins with less than a majority, it is called winning “by plurality vote.”

At first blush this may seem reasonable, perhaps even appropriate. But it is neither.

The trouble with “plurality-wins” is that, when three, four or more candidates run, winners are declared the result may not represent will of the people in that community. Consider an election in which a candidate wins with 35% of the vote and 65% of the community did not vote for that candidate.

This dynamic does a huge disservice to voters. First, it results in all voters having fewer genuine, good faith options on their ballots as independent candidates do not run for fear of being called the “spoiler.” Second, it has led to a rash of candidates running explicitly to split votes so their candidates can win without majority support.

If we want candidates to earn at least 50% to win, then we would need either traditional runoffs or ranked choice voting (a.k.a. instant runoff voting). While both would be improvements on our current system, ranked choice voting seems the best option because it combines the election on one ranked ballot on election day in November saving both time and money. It promotes positive campaigns and has very positive reviews by the voters, candidates, and officials that use it.

Jen Scott, Forest Lake

Highway 8 reconstruction project update

Chisago County’s efforts to reconstruct TH 8 between I-35 and Karmel Avenue in Chisago City, expanding it to a four-lane highway, have been progressing. Currently, work is being done on the environmental review, traffic analysis, hydraulics and preliminary design of the corridor.

Fund raising for the project is also moving along. To date, there is over $20M committed to the project. With the help of our state and federal legislators, we will continue to seek additional state and federal funding.

The project team continues to have many people reach out to us about this important project, to ask questions and give input. While we unfortunately cannot meet in person still, Chisago County will be hosting a virtual public engagement event beginning April 12 and running through April 29. By going to the website, you will be able to find updated project information, layouts and alternatives. There will also be opportunities to share comments and concerns, ask questions and provide input on the preliminary designs.

Starting on April 12, please go to the Trunk Highway 8 Project website at chisagocounty.us/1115/Trunk-Highway-8 to participate in the open house and look around.

Joe Triplett, Chisago County Engineer

Humane Pet Store bill means better conditions for animals

It is easy to understand and is common knowledge that many people consider pets as a member of the family.

What is not as well known is that there is a direct link from a puppy mills to a pet store. Puppy mills are legal and keep the mothers in deplorable conditions for life. The cages are only required by law to be six inches larger than their bodies. The dogs live a life without any human interaction.

Puppy mills do have a breeder’s license. The major difference that is important to note is that a reputable breeder would never allow this to happen.

They love their dogs and socialize their puppies. They make sure the mother is healthy and that the pups go to a good home. There are many sites available to help to find a reputable breeder and help to avoid unknowingly supporting a puppy mill.

The other way we all could help is a bill that would serve to prohibit the sale of kittens and puppies in a pet store.

It is called the Humane Pet Store bill (SF 370 and HF 858). It would still allow them to partner with rescue organizations and shelters. More importantly, it will help break one of the ways that the puppy mills profit while allowing them to live in those conditions.

Please call or email your legislators and urge them to support the Minnesota Pet Store bill (SF 370 and HF 858)

Leah Abrahamson, Forest Lake

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