Editor’s note: This article was submitted by Minneapolis mayoral candidates Dan Cohen, Ole Savior, Abdul M. Rahaman, John Charles Wilson, Bob “Again” Carney Jr., Troy Benjegerdes, Jaymie Kelly, Captain Jack Sparrow, Jeffrey Allen Wagner and Joshua Rea.
On Aug. 21, Star Tribune editorial cartoonist Steve Sack offered his take on the 35 candidates who are on the November ballot for mayor of Minneapolis. His implication seems clear: Voters need help from serious journalists to weed out a couple dozen pesky clowns who have wrecked our shiny new ranked-choice voting process by (gasp) filing for office. Ick!
Permit us, 10 of those candidates, to differ. This year, a roiling group of candidates is holding weekly meetings at “People’s Plaza” in downtown Minneapolis. We have already presented the voters of Minneapolis with a number of ballot issues worthy of serious consideration. Now we’re campaigning to use ranked-choice voting to its full potential.
One main purpose of RCV is to avoid the dreaded “wasted vote.” We want you to have a say on whom you prefer, even if your first choice — or first five choices — won’t win.
Unfortunately, due to limits of our new vote-counting technology, the City Council has decided to count only voters’ top three rankings.
Here’s how it’s supposed to work. If your first-ranked candidate is eliminated, your vote is transferred to your second choice. If that candidate is eliminated, your third ranking is counted. But as things stand right now, if your third choice goes belly up, your ballot is “exhausted.”
The likely result will be a mayor elected by a minority of all voters. That’s both unfortunate and unnecessary. The city (that’s us!) does have the option to count more than three rankings. But it would require a hand count.
This is why we support the demand of Captain Jack Sparrow — whose political principle is “Count All Rankings.” We’ll be laying out a plan to do just that — so your ballot for mayor will be an inexhaustible ballot.
Here’s another reason why “we the people” must demand the right to cast an inexhaustible ballot. Every candidate is allowed to put either their “political party or principle” next to their name on the ballot. This year, a number of candidates have filed for mayor partly to let voters rank and advance an important principle.
Here’s a rundown of issues and ideas you can support on this November’s ballot. For each issue, a “coalition of willing candidates” is forming to advance detailed policies and plans.
• “Stop foreclosures now”: This is Jaymie Kelly’s political principle. She is personally fighting to stay in a home she has lived in for decades. We will be presenting ways to hold banks and the financial system accountable for harms to individuals and the city from the 2008 economic meltdown. Eminent domain can help targets of predatory lenders stay in their homes based on current real-estate market rates — not fantasy values from the housing bubble.
• “End homelessness now”: This is Joshua Rea’s political principle. He also speaks from experience. We will be developing remedies, including a plan for homeless and low-income people to use Minneapolis homes that are currently unoccupied but that can be safely used.
• “Demand transit revolution”: This is Bob “Again” Carney Jr.’s political principle. Carney has published a 150-page e-book detailing his plan. A coalition of willing candidates will consider endorsing his plan in whole or in part.
• “Jobs downtown casino”: This is Dan Cohen’s political principle. A coalition of willing candidates will consider endorsing Cohen’s downtown casino plan in whole or in part, and may expand to a more general focus on economic development and social justice issues.
Let’s not downgrade ranked-choice voting into a guessing game about whom the top contenders might be. Instead, let’s upgrade our voting process — to a system that lets “we the people” demand action on critical issues Minneapolis faces today.