Minnesota Senate District 25: Ranked choice voting

Matthew Stolle :: Post Bulletin

Senate District 25: GOP Sen. Dave Senjem and DFL challenger Sara Flick Written By: Matthew Stolle |

Sen. Dave Senjem and Sara Flick

GOP Sen. Dave Senjem and DFL challenger Sara Flick, candidate for Minnesota Senate District 25, clashed on a range of issues and offered different prescriptions on various issues, from solving its educational ills to ranked choice voting and the banning of conversion therapy, during a forum Wednesday.

Ranked choice voting

Flick, a working mom making her first bid for the state Senate, said she supported a bill that would allow municipalities to use ranked choice voting.

"What ranked choice voting allows for is a more democratic process," Flick said," because a candidate can't just appeal to their base. I think it makes for more substantive campaigning."

But Senjem, a five-term state Senator, said he opposed ranked choice voting because it violated a fundamental democratic principle: If an elected official is going to tax or regulate a community, "you ought to be elected by 50 percent plus one."

"I also think it's confusing," Senjem said, noting that there are scenarios in which the third-place winner of first-choice votes can end up the winner. "In the procedures of voting, I think ranked choice voting is terribly overcomplicated."

Ranked-choice voting is a system that allows people to vote for multiple candidates in order of their preference, first, second, and third. The candidate with the majority (more than 50 percent) of first-choice votes wins outright. But if no candidates hits that majority, a new counting process is triggered. The candidate who did the worst is eliminated, and that candidate's voters' ballots are redistributed to their second-pick.

The process is repeated until a candidate reaches the majority of votes.

Flick disagreed with Senjem's critique, saying ranked choice voting's objective is "50 percent plus." Under the current system, Flick noted, a primary race in which four candidates run can lead to a winner with less than 50 percent of the vote.


All 134 state House and 67 Senate seats are up for grabs this November. The election is set for Nov. 3, but early voting began Sept. 18.

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