To the Editor:
As long-time advocates for ranked-choice voting in Minnetonka, we applaud the effort and planning of Minnetonka city staff for the upcoming November city council election.
Things will be a bit different in 2021. Previously, there were two election days, a primary and general election. While this seems logical, our city council primary elections had less than 5% of voters participating, making it both financially inefficient and woefully unrepresentative of our city. Ranked choice voting eliminates this low-turnout primary and instead allows us to hold a single general election, where more voters will have more choices. Residents have until Aug. 10 to register as a candidate, and until Nov. 2 to engage the community on the issues that matter.
Minnetonka takes voting very seriously. During the complicated election year of 2020, our city staff, volunteer election judges and many others did an exemplary job. They went above-and-beyond, making voting as safe and accessible as possible through in-person absentee voting and on election day, and on the multiple primary election days before it. So we knew that, while implementing ranked choice voting would take some effort during the first year, these dedicated staff and volunteers would be up to the challenge.
The city has committed to mailing all residents a sample ballot in September that shows all the candidates and what to expect when you vote using the new ranked ballot. They’ve created online and paper resources that are being widely shared, and are holding several in-person events to demonstrate how easy ranked choice voting is. They are efficiently including messages within the Minnetonka Memo and through digital communications to city residents and social media. It’s a comprehensive, strategic and efficient plan.
Now more than ever, having trust in the voting system is critical. We are grateful to all the staff and volunteers who are doing voter education and communication, and keeping our local elections running smoothly. Now it’s up to us, as residents, to engage in this process - as candidates, volunteers or voters, to live up to the promise of our local democracy.
Barb Westmoreland and David Haeg