Bemidji City Council Passes Resolution Supporting Ranked Choice Voting
The Bemidji City Council has voted in support of ranked choice voting for local elections.
The vote at Monday night’s meeting comes just days after the Bemidji Charter Commission also voiced their support in favor of the practice. The resolution passed in a 4-2 vote, with Mayor Jorge Prince and Ward 2 Councilor Josh Peterson in opposition.
Ranked choice voting lets voters rank candidates for a given seat or position in order of preference, which is then used to determine the winner. With the option to participate in ranked choice voting becoming more popular around the state, Bemidji councilors discussed the benefits of local governments having control and choice, but also the uncertainly around the new idea.
Mayor Prince said due to constituents voicing their concern for the system, he would not be in support of ranked choice voting.
If approved at the state level, where a bill is currently going through committees, the city council would need to unanimously approve the use of ranked choice voting for implementation. If it is not approved, a vote to adjust the city charter as needed would be put before the citizens as a ballot question.
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