Charter Commission votes to adopt ranked choiceRed Wing moved closer to adopting ranked-choice voting Thursday when the Charter Commission endorsed the alternative voting system.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing moved closer to adopting ranked-choice voting Thursday when the Charter Commission endorsed the alternative voting system.
Commissioners voted unanimously in support of switching to the system that asks voters to rank candidates by preference. The change would incorporate all city elections.
"I think the issue is one of representation. If you support representation, ranked-choice voting is a superior choice," Commission member Kent Speight said.
The matter will now go before City Council for a vote.
If council approves the change, it would become law. If council votes against adopting ranked choice, voters will be asked to decide the matter in a referendum vote during the 2012 general election.
The commission has been looking at ranked-choice for much of the past year and has heard from both proponents and critics of the system.
Critics have said ranked-choice could disenfranchise and confuse voters.
But the commission sided with proponents of the system, who say ranked-choice ensures a majority winner, encourages third-party candidates and is easy enough for voters to understand.
Ranked-choice voting will not be used in the city's upcoming special election -- which will fill Mayor John Howe's vacated seat -- because there is not enough time to institute the system.
"It's going to take some education and financial planning if we're going to make changes," Commissioner Roseanne Grosso said.
In a ranked-choice election, instead of voting for one candidate, voters rank candidates by preference. If no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, all but the top two candidates are eliminated from the race.
Ballots ranking eliminated candidates first are then redistributed to the remaining candidates in a run-off based on voters' second and third preferences.
The system has been adopted by Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Commissioners proposed Red Wing adopt the same language in its ordinance that Minneapolis has used to adopt ranked-choice.