How Does Ranked Choice Voting Work?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We all know how most local elections work. We all choose one candidate, then whoever gets the most votes wins, right?

But with ranked choice, Minneapolis voters get to choose a first, second and third pick.

St. Paul gets an addition fourth, fifth and sixth pick.

With this system, it’s not enough just to get the most votes — you have to get a majority of them.

Here’s how it works: You have four candidates — duck, gray duck, goose and lutefisk.

Let’s say duck gets 55 percent of first-place votes. In that case, duck wins. No more counting, we’re done.

But if no one gets 50 percent or more, the candidate with the fewest votes is out.

gq ranked choice How Does Ranked Choice Voting Work?

(credit: CBS)

In this case, let’s say duck has 40 percent, gray duck has 25 percent, goose has 20 percent and lutefisk has 15 percent.

See ya, lutefisk!

So in this case, lutefisk’s second-place votes are given to candidates still in the race — but alas, there is still no candidate with 50 percent.

This time, goose is cut. Sorry, non-Minnesotans!

Goose’s second-place votes go to the others, and any of goose’s votes that went to lutefisk are divvied up.

That gives gray duck 55 percent –- and we have a winner!

Here’s the thing: your vote still counts if you only vote for one candidate.

But think about it: if that candidate you vote for gets cut early on, your voice isn’t as loud as it could’ve been.

More from Heather Brown
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