MN lawsuit and council
For those of you following the lawsuit in MN, here is an update. Barbara K
For Immediate Release
“Full Speed” Ahead for Instant Runoff Voting in Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS (Feb. 6) – Yesterday’s overwhelming endorsement of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) by the Minneapolis City Council puts implementation of the voting method “on the fast track to election day” according to Jeanne Massey , executive director of FairVote Minnesota, the non-partisan advocacy group working in support of IRV and other measures to improve elections.
“On Thursday, the Minneapolis Council spoke loudly, overwhelmingly and unambiguously in support of IRV,” Massey said. “Their affirmation keeps IRV on track for 2009 and respects the intent of the city’s voters, who approved IRV by a 2 to 1 margin in 2006.”
The council voted 12 to 1 on a motion by 8th Ward Council Member and Elections Committee Chair Elizabeth Glidden to direct staff to proceed “full speed” ahead to implement IRV after hearing from Elections Director Cindy Reichert that her department is prepared to do. The only dissenting vote came from 1st Ward Council Member Paul Ostrow, who supports IRV, but doesn’t think the city can be ready to implement it in the current election cycle.
The council’s vote comes less than a month after Hennepin County District Court Judge McGunnigle resoundingly rejected a lawsuit brought by the Minnesota Voters Alliance that argued that IRV is unconstitutional and is not permitted by state law. The ruling unequivocally upheld Minneapolis ’ right to use IRV for its municipal elections.
Minnesota Voters Alliance has appealed its loss and the City of Minneapolis has filed a motion with the Minnesota Supreme Court for an expedited and accelerated review. City Attorney Susan Segal told the council yesterday that there is a good possibility that the Supreme Court will accept the review because of the urgency of the case and the importance the Court gives elections issues. Segal estimated that the Court could issue a ruling in as early as three months. Staff was directed to prepare a contingency plan for a traditional election in the unlikely outcome that the Supreme Court overturned the District Court decision.
11th Ward Council Member Scott Benson strongly urged the council to keep IRV on track, “The voters have voted for this, the court has ruled strongly in our favor, we are moving ahead.”
Similarly, Senior Policy Aide/Council Liaison Peter Wagenius, speaking on behalf of Mayor R.T. Rybak, urged the council to move forward expeditiously in implementing IRV, saying, “To do otherwise would be disrespecting the will of the voters.” On behalf of the Mayor, Wagenius called upon the council, staff and advocates to collaborate to accomplish the critical work ahead.
“We’re looking forward to working with the city to implement IRV this year,” Massey said in conclusion. “ Minneapolis is at the forefront within the State in taking real, tangible steps to improve the quality of our electoral process and to strengthen our democracy.”
FairVote Minnesota works for better democracy through public education and advocacy. Our focus is on Instant Runoff Voting and other progressive voting systems that lead to greater competitiveness, better representation and more participation in elections.
Dr. Barbara Klein
The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works....President Obama