Changes to election laws are almost always explained by saying the new rules will give voters more opportunities to participate. The flip side of the new rules, especially those made by a group of candidates during an election year, might be seen as giving those running for office a few extra opportunities of their own. That’s the crux of the discussion involving the Minneapolis City Council, where some of the members want to give voters the chance to rank more than three candidates for each office in the fall election. And several council members are questioning the ethics of candidates making changes to the election laws. “I think it’s almost to the point of making me feel uncomfortable, and it’s distasteful that we are voting on a ballot we are going to be on,” said Council Member Lisa Goodman at Thursday’s meeting.
She made her comment after hearing from a nationally recognized elections expert — and after listening to colleagues discuss the possibility of expanding the ranked-choice voting options from three choices to six or more.
“It’s crazy to think that people are sitting here and not thinking, ‘Oh, how will this affect me,’ ” said Goodman, who wants the council to vote on the matter and end the discussion this week, instead of keeping the matter before them until mid-June.
“Too many people are thinking how it will affect them,” she said. “I’m just saying it out loud.”
“I’m in total agreement with what she just said,” added Council Member Meg Tuthill. “The timing scares me half to death, and ethically I have some major issues with this.”