Participate in your democracy. VOTE TODAY!

Good Morning! I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA so the following may or may not pertain to your neck of the woods.

Go Vote

For those of us who believe we must see a change in the course of this country’s policies, today is an especially important day to get out and cast your ballot. For those who want to “stay the course” with and choose Red, it’s just as important that you get to the polls.

We have some of the worst voter participation numbers in the industrialized world. (Go listen to Chris Lydon’s Experiments in Democracy for more on shoring up voter participation.)

Local Issues

Transportation Amendment. Basically it says that 100% of the state motor vehicle tax will be devoted to transportation improvements with a minimum of 40% for transit. I’m voting “no.” I don’t like messing with constitutions and removing control from our legislators. They could potentially ignore serious transit problems (and we have a poor transit system in our metro areas) by pointing towards the amendment which earmarks funds.

There is also a tremendous push to secure the “yes” vote that makes me a bit nervous.

Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)

This is a City of Minneapolis issue only. We need to amend our city charter to bring this about. Here’s the ballot language:

CHARTER AMENDMENT NO. 161
A PROPOSAL TO USE INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING IN MINNEAPOLIS ELECTIONS

Should the City of Minneapolis adopt Single Transferable Vote, sometimes known as Ranked Choice Voting or Instant Runoff Voting, as the method for electing the Mayor, City Council, and members of the Park and Recreation Board, Library Board, and Board of Estimate and Taxation without a separate primary election and with ballot format and rules for counting votes adopted by ordinance?

PF votes “yes.” IRV is not without problems but it allows for more participation by the electorate which is critical for maintaining the health of our democracy.

Consider Minnesota’s current gubernatorial race. I like the Independent candidate, Peter Hutchinson. But he is polling in the single digits (reference: Minneapolis Star Tribune poll from last weekend). I don’t like Tim Pawlenty, the Republican candidate. I will vote for Mike Hatch, the Democrat (DFL), in the hope that we can remove Pawlenty from office.

With IRV, I could vote for Hutchinson with Hatch as my second choice. Once it was decided that Hutchinson was out of the race, my vote would go to Hatch. So I get to vote my first choice and the Independents have a way of gauging their popularity.

(Check Google for more on IRV.)

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