To the editor:

I am thrilled that Minnesota has moved to a presidential primary and abandoned the exclusionary caucus system. However, as I follow the Democratic 2020 field, I believe there is more we can do to promote a fair and productive process for choosing our leaders.

We currently exist in a zero-sum game of undercutting the ideas and attacking the character of candidates with whom we might otherwise largely agree.

This year, in particular, makes me wish our state used ranked-choice voting like several other states are doing. There are several candidates I would be happy to support for the presidency, and I believe that the current system does us no favors in terms of reducing division and polarization. I was happy to see our local paper also advocate for ranked-choice voting in the presidential primary.

Imagine if candidates had to consider that being an opponent’s supporter’s second choice was also valuable, should that opponent be mathematically eliminated. Imagine if supporters and organizers were encouraged to find common ground instead of focusing on and exploiting the smallest of differences.

Ranked-choice voting allows for the expansion of ideas by empowering voters to offer meaningful support to candidates who may not be top tier without fear of spoiling the election results. Here locally, it can end the effects of “bullet balloting” in school board elections. It can eliminate the need for costly, low-turnout primaries in municipal elections. Most importantly, it can enhance the democratic process by ensuring the winner has the broadest possible base of support, even among those whose first choice did not win.

Bloomington has the opportunity to be the next city to implement ranked-choice voting and continue the momentum toward passing it statewide. I encourage voters to voice their support to our city council. We can do more to make our elections representative of our values.

Laurie Aho

Bloomington

Aho is a member of the advisory committee of Ranked Choice Voting Bloomington.

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