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The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

Ranked choice voting for Park elections

Park brings rank choice voting back
Kayleigh Bishop
Illustration by Kayleigh Bishop

Ranked choice voting is a system where voters get to rank the candidates from the same office in the order that they like best. The last time this method of voting was used in Park was in 2021, since ranked choice voting can only be used for electing council members and offices of mayor. 

According to civics teacher Emily Rennhak, the ranked voting system is a good way to move forward in democracy.

“It is wonderful,” Rennhak said. “It is a step forward, and kind of removing ourselves from the two party system that we’ve weaseled our way into as a country.”

St. Louis Park is one of the few cities in Minnesota to use this system for voting. Senior Tommy Walsh, who voted in this year’s election, said he hopes to see other cities use this method as well. 

“It’s a good thing, (and a) necessary progress,” Walsh said. “I’m excited to see other cities follow.” 

Senior James Dwyer said the ranked choice voting system lets people go out of their comfort zone and vote for people they otherwise wouldn’t vote for. 

“It allows people to vote for candidates that they usually wouldn’t, because there’s not that fear of the vote not counting,” Dwyer said. 

 Ranked choice voting can be a bit more complicated, since you have more options. Rennhak said it can also be less cost-effective, but she argues that it’s worth it in the end.

“I think a lot of voters are confused about the process and how it works. But also, it is more work to tally, so it’s a little less cost effective,” Rennhak said. “But ultimately, it’s worth it for the sake of democracy.”

Dwyer said ranked choice voting seems to be more efficient than the old system, where voters could only vote for their first-choice candidate. 

“I think it’ll be much more effective, especially in local elections,” Dwyer said. “It will show the candidates that are not running for one of the two major parties that they have more support.”

Rank choice is not used on a national level, since it’s just for local elections. However, Walsh said, rank choice voting is better than the old method, where you would just vote for your favorite candidate. 

“I think it would be hard to convince people to switch,” Walsh said. “But it’s a better system.”

Rennhak said it would be beneficial to switch to ranked choice voting on a national level because it allows people’s vote to count for something, even if their first-choice candidate was eliminated. 

“It gives voters a little bit more confidence to be able to say ‘this is who I really care about, and this person is my number one,’” Rennhak said. “It can empower a lot of voters to vote outside of the traditional Democrat or Republican that they might stick to, kind of out of fear.”

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Louisa Augustine
Louisa Augustine, Echo Staffer
Hi! My name is Louisa and this is my first year on Echo. I’m a junior this year and some things I enjoy are running cross country and track, downhill skiing/racing, and hanging out with friends and family. I’m excited to be a part of Echo and am looking forward to this year!
Kayleigh Bishop
Kayleigh Bishop, Copy Editor
Hi! My name is Kayleigh and I am a sophomore. This is my first year of Echo, and when I’m not writing I am busy being part of the golf and tennis team. I love hanging out with friends, skiing, playing cards and listening to music. You can usually catch me playing Taylor Swift or Zach Bryan. I am really excited to be a part of Echo this year! 

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