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Like many, I vote based on my values and my hopes for the future of our country. Right now, our electoral system (plurality voting) hinders the power behind our votes. It forces us to vote strategically instead of with our values. For example, third-party voting. Furthermore, this complicates the decision to cast a vote for one of two similar candidates. By spreading the votes thin between two similar candidates, a third, less popular candidate could win, thereby spoiling the election by undermining the votes of the majority.

Ranked choice voting (RCV) is the best solution we have for this problem. By allowing voters to express their preferences, ranked choice voting levels the field for candidates. As a result, we all have a stronger chance of electing someone more aligned with our values. For example, if my first choice doesn’t pass the majority threshold, my vote will then go to the candidate that second-best matches my values, and so on, all in a single election. Using RCV will guarantee that our votes count, even when our top candidate does not win.

As Shakopee grows into a more diverse community, I want the choices on my ballot each November to reflect that diversity. We need RCV so that when we have those choices on our ballot, we have a meaningful way to vote with our values and elect representatives who reflect us and our community.

To give an example of RCV, let's say some people prefer Person 3 out of three candidates in a local race. In the event Person 3 does not win, they would prefer Person 2. With our current system, however, Person 1 could win because the majority's votes were split between Person 2 and Person 3. In the case of 55A (Shakopee’s State House district), a similar situation occurred last year when a Marijuana Party candidate ran. Because this candidate split the vote, Rep. Mortensen won the race though he didn’t have the support of a majority of the voters.

With RCV, on the occasion Person 3 loses with only 3% of the vote and no majority winner, the ballots for Person 3 would be considered for the voters' second choice. This could allow Person 2, the other popular candidate, to win. Obviously, this is oversimplified. But, the point is clear. With RCV, your vote creates effective change. It restores power to your vote, even if your first choice candidate loses.

Unfortunately, certain Republican members of the Minnesota State Senate want to deny us the full power of our vote by banning RCV in Minnesota and prohibiting local governments from the decision to switch to RCV. To fight for my vote, I am contacting Minnesota state legislators to ask them to protect us from these anti-democracy measures. I urge you to do the same. Our votes matter. Our values matter. Our elected officials should reflect these. We deserve a system that protects and empowers us. Join me to demand equitable voting. Choose RVC.

Gabriela Leovan

Shakopee

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