A century ago, Minnesotans embraced social distancing during the 1918 flu pandemic, resulting in one of the lowest mortality rates in the country. Today, Minnesota’s political parties are figuring out ways to adhere to social distancing by pivoting to online conventions. We need these kinds of common-sense solutions as we approach the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just 60 miles away our Wisconsin neighbors proceeded with in-person voting for their primary election, putting voters at risk. We would be wise to keep our eyes on safeguarding the democratic process while at the same time providing a safer way to hold an election while maximizing social distancing.

The Minnesota state DFL party will be using Ranked Choice voting as part of its online endorsing conventions. This will allow delegates to fully express their voice by giving them the ability to rank their choice, similar to the walking sub-caucus process used for in-person conventions. This is a smart way to handle online party conventions, and we should have a simple Ranked Choice Voting mail-in ballot for general elections as well.

In recent weeks, we have seen political divisions impair our nation’s ability to act on behalf of its people. Ranked Choice Voting diminishes political polarization, and during a crisis like this, I am more convinced than ever that we need a voting system that allows and encourages leaders to function in a bipartisan fashion. Our lives do in fact depend on it.

Anna Froehling,Rochester