The Confusion Around Ranked Choice Voting

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In just two days, voters in many communities will go to the polls to elect mayors, council members and other local races.

In Minnesota’s two biggest cities, voters will used rank choice voting.

While Minneapolis voters will be asked to rank their first, second and third choices, St. Paul is asking for rankings all the way down to sixth choices.

Ranked choice voting has some people so confused that Minneapolis has actually put out an explainer video on how to vote.

In 2013, there were 35 candidates for mayor in Minneapolis and it took two days to tally the votes.

This year, there are 16 candidates and city officials insist the process will be faster, with results likely coming in 24 hours.

St. Paul has fewer mayoral candidates, 10 in all.

But with the city is offering voters a chance to rank candidates all the way down to their sixth choice, some city officials say it could take four days to figure out a winner.

Supporters insist ranked choice voting engages voters by forcing them to consider more than one candidate.

Professor David Schultz has written extensively on the issue and was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning.

“It insures, at least in theory, whoever wins the election gets at least 50 percent or more of the vote,” he said.

Supporters of ranked choice say it also contributes to civility, because candidates are more reluctant to attack each other because they want opponents’ supporters to give them their second of third place votes.

More from Esme Murphy
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