I was thrilled on Election Night to see that Minneapolis voters adopted Ranked Choice Voting (also known as Instant Runoff Voting or IRV) as our local election method. It was a landslide: 65% yes, 35% no.
I'm proud that the Second Ward had the highest vote totals of any Ward in the City: 70.7% yes.
This is a huge step forward for Minneapolis democracy, and hopefully only a first step towards better voting methods for the State and Federal levels. I also consider this an important victory for the Green Party as well, which has had IRV in its platform for almost a decade and a top prioriy in Minneapolis since 2001. It's exciting to see mainstream voters enthusiastically embracing such a fundamental part of the Green platform.
This is also gratifying for me personally. I have been advocating for IRV for years now, since the book clubs with Tony Solgard (now outgoing President of FairVote MN) and others in 1997. I remember how hard it was in 1999 and 2001 when we tried to get IRV/Proportional Representation on the ballot and failed (then we called it Majority Preference Voting). I also remember the hours of work my office put in on the IRV Task Force, the run-up to the vote to put IRV on the ballot, the discussions about the actual ballot language, and the hours of our own time we spent dropping literature in the Ward. It's been a long road, and it feels great to win.
Minneapolis owes a debt of gratitude to Jeanne Massey and the rest of the Better Ballot Campaign for their outstanding organizing. Even earlier this year, it would've been hard to predict that twelve Council Members would vote to put IRV on the ballot and 65% of voters would approve it.
After a brief pause to celebrate, the work will begin again. IRV advocates can build on this stunning mandate, both to organize similar campaigns in other Minnesota cities and towns and to implement IRV as soon as possible in Minneapolis, hopefully in 2009. It will be very important that we take care to develop a specific ordinance and procedures that will increase confidence in this new voting method and ensure that the will of the voters is accurately reflected in the election results.