Editorial: Ranked-choice voting appealsDemocracy isn't cheap. It's rarely efficient.
By: R-E Editorial Board, The Republican Eagle
Democracy isn't cheap. It's rarely efficient. It is, however, the most fair, free and open style of government humankind has developed yet and worth every penny.
If ranked-choice voting benefits local representative government - and not just the government's checkbook - then Red Wing should adopt it.
Money, i.e. the lack of it, shouldn't be the driving factor in the discussion. To date it has not been, and we're glad.
In fact, the Charter Commission is going about its evaluation of ranked-choice voting in a very democratic manner. Commissioners have plenty of data from proponents. Now it's time for opponents to speak up. The commission is soliciting input.
For those new to the discussion, ranked-choice voting is used in a handful of cities across America and in democracies around the world, including Ireland, Northern Ireland and Australia. The track record has been solid.
This system, also called instant-runoff voting, allows voters to rank candidates by preference. The rules vary a little by jurisdiction, but generally people vote 1 for their first choice, 2 for their second and 3 for their third.
When no one receives a majority of votes, the candidate finishing last is eliminated. Those people who ranked that candidate No. 1 then have their second and possibly third preferences counted.
Candidates are eliminated and votes distributed until a majority winner emerges.
Red Wing City Council candidates have been by plurality rather than majority in several recent elections. Sometimes a few dozen votes separated the finalists.
Statewide elections also have resulted in plurality winners. The last Minnesota governor elected by a true majority was Arne Carlson in 1994.
Ranked-choice voting sounds pretty good. If you disagree, alert the Charter Commission.