Katie Boone in the Mankato Free Press:
The most untold, disturbing story of the 2020 elections? That democracy-degrading political operatives have evidently begun manipulating voters by gaming a weakness in how we vote.
We learned in October that conservative operatives paid Adam Weeks $15,000 to run as a Legal Marijuana Now candidate in U.S. Congressional District 2. They wanted Weeks to act as a spoiler, pulling votes from the Democrat so the Republican could win with less than 50% of the vote.
That disgusting anecdote is now understood to be part of a pattern.
In our U.S. congressional district, 51.4% voted for a progressive party. Despite that, we are sending Republican Jim Hagedorn to Washington, D.C., after the Grassroots Party candidate drew 5.8%.
“Why not? Fk it. It cost me a hundred bucks. I’ve spent a hundred bucks on a lot dumber stuff,” Tyler Becvar, LMN Candidate for Minnesota Senate District 27, who is adamantly pro-Trump and publicly ambivalent about marijuana legalization, said regarding his decision to run. The Republican wound up winning that race and control of the Senate, without majority support.
This manipulative tactic erodes the moral fiber of our democracy. Elections should be won with ideas, vision and integrity. We cannot be complacent and allow strategic weaponization of the spoiler effect to become normalized.
We must act and implement ranked choice voting.
Rank choice voting renders this democracy-degrading tactic impotent; it permits voters to express support for minor parties while assuring candidates that broadly, authentically represent all voters in our democratic process, are able to win.
I implore the Legislature to act now to advance ranked choice voting statewide; we need it. Future generations impacted by our elections are depending on it.
Katie Boone, Mankato
Rank Your Vote is a project of FairVote Minnesota, a nonprofit, nonpartisan election reform organization that engages hundreds of volunteers and thousands of supporters. Together, we work for a stronger democracy through public education and advocacy for Ranked Choice Voting, a system proven to be more inclusive, democratic, and representative than our current plurality electoral system. We educate and support candidates, elected officials, cities and voters in preparation for RCV elections.