Ranked-choice voting moves ahead at Capitol despite little popular support

A bill to impose ranked-choice voting (RCV) on state and federal elections cleared two more hurdles at the state Capitol yesterday.

The bill (HF 2486) is moving forward despite (or because of) little support among the state’s voters. Our exclusive Thinking Minnesota opinion poll finds that only 34 percent of the state’s registered voters support ranked-choice voting, 33 percent oppose it, and the rest have no idea what it is.

The bill passed the House Elections Committee on a strict partisan vote of 7-4. Bill author Rep. Cedrick Frazier (DFL-New Hope) will now take his bill to the State and Local Government committee.

The original bill aimed to implement RCV in time for the 2026 elections. The current version would still allow for that timeline, but focuses on a “task force” scheduled to report back annually over the next four years.

The 26-member task force, of course, will be packed with RCV advocates. The reports could very well be submitted today, as everyone already knows what they will say.

Meeting at the same time on Friday, the bill’s Senate companion (SF 2270) passed its second committee stop in that chamber.

So it’s full steam ahead to completely upend the state’s centuries-old elections system.

In the House hearing, there were two surprise guests. Democratic Alaska Congresswoman Mary Peltola appeared in person to relate how she was able to ride the opaque machinations of ranked-choice voting into a surprise upset win last year in that heavily Republican state.

Although his appearance wasn’t a surprise, the comments made by Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon were. Via AlphaNews,

Sec. Simon doesn’t speak to the merits of the idea, but he pours cold water on the idea of an early implementation in the state. He points out that in the two states where RCV has been implemented (Alaska and Maine), election administration is centralized at the state level.

Where there’s a will, there is a way.