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• The cast of known candidates at filing time did not include a clear front-runner. (It still doesn’t.) That looked inviting to people with axes to grind and egos to feed.
• Those factors made this the year to boost the city election filing fee. It’s been at $20 since 1967 and is overdue for an increase. By comparison, St. Paul’s mayoral filing fee is $500. In April, City Council elections chair Cam Gordon gave his colleagues a chance to raise the mayoral fee to $250. Council members declined.
• Yes, some candidates may have decided to run because of RCV. They may have thought the absence of a primary improved their prospects. They may have been buoyed by the idea that they could win enough second- and third-place votes to be contenders. But that thinking rests on the wrongheaded notion that one can win an RCV election purely on the strength of second and third choices. One cannot.
• In a multicandidate election, RCV isn’t the problem. It’s the solution. It may warrant a little voter education. It may challenge candidates to craft messages that distinguish themselves without repelling voters who favor their opponents. But chances are that it will give the next Minneapolis mayor stronger claim to democratic legitimacy than a low-turnout primary and subsequent two-way general election campaign could.
Lori Sturdevant is an editorial writer and columnist. She is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.