MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (March 13, 2017) — Democracy advocates in Minnesota and around the country will be watching as voters in St. Paul and Minneapolis use Ranked Choice Voting in competitive multi-candidate city council races and to select their mayors.
FairVote Minnesota is partnering with both cities to provide education and up-to-date information to voters, candidates and the media between now and Election Day on November 7. In addition, FairVote Minnesota staff and volunteers will be working with city officials, community partners, political parties, neighborhood organizations, faith and civic groups, candidates and volunteers to reach out to voters through candidate forums, community events, neighborhood gatherings, door knocks and more.
FairVote Minnesota participated in the recent Ward 10 mayoral forum in Minneapolis and Ward 6 mayoral forum in St. Paul. Upcoming candidate forums are on Wednesday. See a list of upcoming forums here.
This year marks the third regular Ranked Choice Voting election in Minneapolis and fourth RCV election in St. Paul, and the first time St. Paul voters will use it citywide in an open mayoral race. To date, six candidates have filed to run to fill Mayor Coleman’s shoes.
The Minneapolis mayoral race also is promising to be competitive, with incumbent Mayor Betsy Hodges facing several challengers. Add several competitive, multicandidate city council races to the mix in Minneapolis, and the Twin Cities’ elections are sure to generate higher-than-usual levels of interest.
After adopting RCV in 2006 in Minneapolis and in 2009 in St. Paul, polls have shown that voters in both cities find ranking their choices as simple as 1-2-3 and they prefer it over the traditional primary-general election system. They appreciate a voting system that gives them more choice and more voice at the ballot box while eliminating the need for a separate, low-turnout primary.
By rolling two elections – a costly August primary, plus a November general election – into one high-turnout November election, RCV engages a much broader, demographically diverse swath of the community. Voters need to only make one trip to the polls, and they’re able to choose from a wider spectrum of candidates instead of having the field prematurely culled by a tiny subset of the electorate. The result? Consensus winners, beholden not to a narrow “base” but to a broad coalition that’s reflective of the city as a whole.
On an RCV ballot, voters rank candidates on the ballot according to their preferences: first choice, second choice, third choice, etc. Voters cast their vote for their favorite candidate knowing that if he or she doesn’t gather enough votes to win, their ballot will count toward their second ranked candidate.
In a single-winner election, votes cast for the least popular candidate are not “wasted,” but rather redistributed to more popular candidates, based on the voters’ second ranked choices, until one consensus winner emerges. RCV accomplishes what traditional two-round elections do, but in a single, cost-effective election with greater and more representative voter participation.
Ranked Choice Voting has proven, in forward-thinking cities around the U.S. (and around the world), to make local elections smarter, more positive, more inclusive and more representative.
Please visit RankYourVote.org, a new website created by FairVote Minnesota for additional information about the 2017 elections and RCV for voters, candidates and the media.
“FairVote Minnesota is absolutely committed to ensuring that every voter in St. Paul and Minneapolis understands how Ranked Choice Voting works in November,” said FairVote Minnesota Executive Director Jeanne Massey. “We’re also there to provide information to candidates running for the first time under RCV.”