RANKED-CHOICE VOTING

Disparities? Not like in the primaries

With due respect to the University of Minnesota professors writing that ranked-choice voting in Minneapolis is “by the data, still flawed” (Feb. 13), I must disagree with much of their analysis and some of their conclusions.

The authors’ main point seems to be that RCV hasn’t fixed all racial and economic disparities in voter turnout. If they understood this to be a “promise” of RCV, they were mistaken. What RCV does claim and what the authors fail to even address is that it will help decrease racial and economic voter participation disparities by eliminating the primary election; the primary has always been far more skewed in terms of turnout disparity than the general. If the authors were to compare the disparities in fully completed (and “spoiled”) RCV ballots against those that were present in the primaries, I’m confident they would find that RCV has, indeed, helped to reduce these gaps.

None of this is to say that there aren’t improvements to be made. Foremost, I think almost everybody would agree that we need to limit the number of candidates on the ballot. Continued and improved voter education is also vital. And let’s remember that passion for improved democracy is not a bad thing: People with new ideas for improving the process and increasing participation should always be welcomed.

BEN SEYMOUR, Minneapolis

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The authors found a lower turnout of registered voters in the less-affluent wards of Minneapolis than in the more-affluent ones, and blamed ranked-choice voting. Maybe the problem is in the denominator? They assume that all registered voters still live in the ward (or ever did). I speculate that a mailing to all the registered voters who did not turn out would result in a higher percentage of undeliverable mailings in the less-affluent wards. I further speculate that the highest count of undeliverable mailings would be to voters who registered in the last election without showing identification (gasp). But nobody is interested in knowing about that.

JACK KOHLER, Plymouth

 

HWY. 212 INCIDENT

Unless we learn more, it looks bad for police

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension did a disservice to police when it released such skimpy details about the man and woman whom police shot to death on Hwy. 212 (“Couple shot to death by police had knife,” Feb. 13). The result is an article that tells readers that four police shot to death two people merely because they had a knife. Any reasonable person has to conclude that such an act was unjustified and abhorrent, thus greatly tarnishing the image of police.

Surely there must have been extenuating circumstances. Tell us that the culprits charged the police with the knife, attempted to stab them, wrestled with them, tried to grab their guns, or somehow threatened them. Otherwise the article makes it seem like the two were just standing there with a knife, so the police shot them to death in cold blood. And that makes all police look bad.

LUCYAN MECH, St. Paul

 

DEVELOPMENT

LRT, parking: It just does not compute

The proposed state Senate office building includes a $27 million parking ramp for 1,600 cars. The Downtown East development in Minneapolis includes $65 million for a six-story ramp financed by city bonds and owned by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. That’s $92 million, but why? There are three Green Line light-rail stations near the Capitol campus. The Blue Line station is just west of the Vikings stadium.

Politicians, the ones spending billions of our money on light rail, say they favor bikes, walking and mass transit. Minneapolis brays that it wants 100,000 new residents and no additional cars. Surely our political elites and people who will live in or work downtown won’t use cars to get to or from their offices or homes. They will always use light rail, or bike or walk. Ditto for all the responsible citizens who might visit the State Capitol. Why do we need new parking? Who is lying about what?

FRANK LORENZ, Edina

 

THE OLYMPICS

At this level, to be beaten is no ‘blunder’

The Feb. 12 headline on the Olympics page was rather churlish. “Star-Spangled blunders” may have seemed clever, but it was hardly fair to Kikkan Randall and Shaun White. Both are world-class athletes who trained for years and gave it their best shot. The fact that they didn’t meet some people’s expectations doesn’t imply that they blundered. It just means that, on that particular day, other competitors beat them.

Remember, these are the world’s best athletes, and against such competition, no athlete is guaranteed a win. They deserved better.

OWEN ROBERTS, Edina

 

COMING OUT

Feel free to keep that information to yourself

I thought I would make a formal announcement to tell everyone I am a heterosexual Caucasian (“NFL may draft league’s 1st openly gay player,” Feb. 10). Do you think I will get national news coverage?

Who cares what your sexual orientation is? What about keeping it to yourself? I think the majority of Americans are tired of reading about it.

RON KOPP, Brooklyn Park