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A Good Debate: The Participants

Is Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) More Inclusive or Elitist?

JEANNE MASSEY is executive director of FairVote Minnesota, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public-interest organization that promotes innovative voting systems to ensure greater competitiveness, better representation, and more participation.

THE CONCLUSION:

RCV is a practical and effective response to the deep and growing problems in our democracy.

THE ARGUMENTS:

● Voters across all income, ethnic, and age groups find RCV simple to use and prefer it to the old system.

● Voter turnout will increase, and winning candidates will be accountable to a broader constituency.

● Past experience has already proven that RCV empowers women and underrepresented communities.

● The prospect of RCV leads to more competitive and civil campaigns.

CHUCK REPKE, who served as an aide to St. Paul City Council member Dave Thune, was the cochair of the No Bad Ballots Committee, a local group formed to defeat the instant-runoff voting effort in St. Paul. He is also a former member of the St. Paul Charter and Planning Commissions.

THE CONCLUSION:

RCV is so complicated and confusing that it proves both disenfranchising and discriminatory.

THE ARGUMENTS:

● A majority of those who didn’t know they were voting for multiple candidates were also less educated and identified as low-income.

● Up to 10 percent of voters polled incorrectly believed they could vote for the same candidate more than once.

● “Choice fatigue,” already an issue in traditional elections, will increase when more candidates are on the ballot.

● Negative campaigning will continue to proliferate, thanks to political action committees, which operate outside of a candidate’s control.

Would voter ID restore faith in elections or undermine democracy?

AMY KOCH served in the Minnesota Senate (2005–2013) and was the first— and is still the only—woman elected as Senate majority leader. A political strategist at Hylden Advocacy & Law, she is the campaign manager for Karin Housley, who is running for U.S. Senate.

THE CONCLUSION:

Voter ID will protect against elections fraud and restore confidence in American democracy.

THE ARGUMENTS:

● The U.S. Supreme Court has found claims of voter fraud legitimate and implied that states have a significant interest in protecting their election infrastructure.

● Illegal voting undermines the citizenry’s constitutional right to fair and free elections.

● For those who lack valid identification, there are low- and no-cost options available in nearly every state, including Minnesota.

● Voter ID ups the public’s confidence in election results, which could increase voter turnout and reinforce trust in America’s democratic principles.

ANNASTACIA BELLADONNA- CARRERA is the executive director for Common Cause Minnesota, an organization focused on advancing intergenerational, socioeconomic equity, with a special focus on restrictive voting laws that marginalize Minnesota's poor, geographically isolated, and most vulnerable citizens.

THE CONCLUSION:

Requiring voter ID is unnecessary and discriminatory.

THE ARGUMENTS:

● Incidents of voter fraud are as rare as they are exaggerated.

● The absolute right to vote, enshrined in the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, is fundamental to our system of government.

● According to the American Civil Liberties Union, minority voters disproportionately lack standard identification.

● Voter ID laws are enforced in a discriminatory manner and have a particularly depressive effect on turnout among racial minorities and other vulnerable groups.