November 06, 2017 08:08 PM
The mayoral races in Minneapolis and St. Paul feature more than two dozen candidates and no clear front-runner in either city.
But If you're anxious to find out the winner on Tuesday, don't get your hopes up.
"Ranked-choice voting" in both cities likely means we won't see clear-cut winners on election night.
"It's a complicated mess that voters have to deal with," says DFL strategist Darin Broton.
In Minneapolis, 16 candidates are on the ballot in the mayoral race and voters will be asked to rank up to three candidates in order of preference. Election officials there say it could be a day or two before a winner is determined. In St. Paul, where 10 candidates are running for mayor, voters can rank up to six candidates, which could take until Saturday to sort out.
The system for counting votes is similar in both cities. After each round of ballot counting where no candidate gets at least 50 percent plus one vote, candidates with no mathematical chance of winning are eliminated. Voters who selected the eliminated candidate as a first choice then have their votes added to the total of their next choice. That process continues until a winner is determined.
How RCV Works
- information from FairVote.org
Voters can just vote for one candidate if they choose, but proponents of ranked-choice voting say they risk not having a say in the election outcome.
"Don't waste your vote," says Jeanne Massey of FairVote Minnesota, "because if your first choice is eliminated, that candidate can't come back. You just want to make sure you have a backup. If your favorite candidate is defeated early in that runoff, your ballot will continue to count and influence the outcome."
Massey says software will eventually be certified in Minnesota that will enable Minneapolis and St. Paul to count votes much more quickly, and determine winners on election night. In the meantime, she says, it's better than the old method of holding two elections -- a primary and then a general election.
"People stopped participating in primaries," she says of city elections. "They were costly, unrepresentative and very low turnout. So this rolled the primary into the general, so we essentially conduct an instant runoff."
But again, it won't exactly be "instant."
Updated: November 06, 2017 08:08 PM
Created: November 06, 2017 07:25 PM
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