We couldn’t disagree more with Jeff Skrenes’ May 21 negative commentary in the Twin Cities Daily Planet on the use of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for DFL endorsements. In fact, as DFL activists, we should be glad that we have adopted an efficient improvement like RCV and thank Ward 5 for leading the way.
We like using RCV as an accelerated drop rule at conventions because it more respectfully uses delegates’ time, it more accurately reflects the preference of the body, and it avoids an endorsement by attrition. Between caucus night and convention day, candidates have plenty of time to sway delegates. You can’t cram for a test. You either have the support on convention day or you don’t. Also, with RCV, delegates are able to freely vote their conscience without viability considerations restraining their true feelings. We look forward to using RCV again in November in our city’s general elections and we hope RCV is used in future endorsing conventions.
To take full advantage of using an improved process like RCV, we should limit the total number of ballots to three. Ballot 1: narrow the field to the top two preferred candidates using RCV. Ballot 2: narrow the field to just the top candidate using traditional voting. Ballot 3: vote between the top candidate and no endorsement. Again, you can’t cram for a test. You either have the support or you don’t. If the leading candidate can’t obtain 60 percent after three ballots, then the body is saying there isn’t enough support for endorsement. The end. The convention shall adjourn without an endorsement. Adopting this method would go a long way to improving our process and making our party affairs more welcoming for all people. This is what being a Democrat stands for and our party process should represent these values.
Too many conventions in the past have led to endorsements by attrition and have silenced delegates who have “human/health/job/family needs” that prevent them from giving more hours in their day to participate til’ the end. Are they worth less? Should they not have the same influence as delegates who are able to give more time? The bottom line is the DFL needs to be proactive about encouraging participation beyond the hardcore insiders. They can do that by making conventions more efficient and respectful of delegates’ time. We see using RCV as a drop rule and limiting ballots to three as a way to do that. Maybe there are other ways too.
Kim Ellison, Minneapolis Ward 5
Jim Skoog, Minneapolis Ward 4
Also in the Daily Planet:
NORTH BY NORTHSIDE | The downside of Ranked Choice Voting (Jeff Skrenes, 2013)