By Jeanne Massey
ST. PAUL (Nov, 8, 2013) — Months of thoughtful voter education and outreach – plus new equipment, well-designed ballots and a smart, engaged voting public – made Ranked Choice Voting one of the biggest winners in Tuesday’s Twin Cities municipal elections.
Ranked Choice Voting is as easy as 1-2-3, and all indications show that Minneapolis and St. Paul voters thoroughly understand the system and that an overwhelming majority of voters ranked their vote on Tuesday.
The winner in the Minneapolis mayoral race, Mayor-Elect Betsy Hodges, prevailed by successfully building a broad coalition of support. That’s the kind of campaigning RCV encourages; under RCV, there are huge incentives to reach out for second and third choices in addition to first choices. This process fosters a significantly more civil and substantive campaign, gives the winner a stronger mandate with which to govern and holds the winner accountable to a much broader constituency.
FairVote Minnesota is proud to have partnered with elections officials in both Minneapolis and St. Paul to lay the groundwork for a smooth, successful Election Day in Minneapolis and in St. Paul’s Ward 1.
Despite some challenges unrelated to RCV, including a 35-candidate field and a three-candidate limit on rankings in Minneapolis (both of which the city is addressing for future elections), voters and election judges across both cities reported few problems.
Thanks to the work of well-prepared elections staff and election judges in both cities, as well as our corps of RankYourVote voter education staff and volunteers, we’re hearing almost universally positive feedback about RCV in the wake of Tuesday’s elections. We’re elated—but not surprised.
“Ranked Choice Voting is the simplest, fairest way to ensure that every voter has his or her voice heard in our elections,” said Jeanne Massey, FairVote Minnesota Executive Director. “Tuesday was one of Ranked Choice Voting’s biggest tests yet, and it passed with flying colors.”
At a time when turnout in municipal elections is trending downward across the nation, more than 80,000 voters came out to cast a ballot in the Minneapolis mayor’s race. And perhaps more importantly, the move to RCV increased voter participation overall by eliminating the costly, low-turnout primary and rolling two rounds into one higher-turnout, more diverse general election.
FairVote Minnesota congratulates Mayor-Elect Hodges, and all candidates who ran under RCV. And we congratulate the forward-thinking voters of Minneapolis and St. Paul, who’ve chosen a smarter, fairer, more representative way to vote—and have shown the nation that it’s simple and satisfying to use.
Thanks to several forthcoming upgrades, the count won’t take this long in the future. But watching it unfold round by round underscores a very important point: Every vote and every voice has been respected. We watched a literal process of voters coming together behind our next mayor. We saw the formation of a consensus resulting in a strong winner who has earned every vote and is well-positioned to lead our city. The count will happen faster in the future, but the concept will be the same. And that’s a great change for Minneapolis.
RCV gave both cities positive, substantive campaigns that encouraged candidates to find common ground, build coalitions and focus on issues that matter to voters.
“We’re proud to be at the forefront of this exciting movement that’s fostering competition, diminishing attack campaigning and eliminating the anti-democratic specters of spoilers and wasted votes,” concluded Massey, “and we’re excited to show other cities just how achievable this important reform really is.”