Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

First Ranked Choice Election Goes Well

From all reports I've heard and read, it sounds like the first ranked choice election in Minneapolis history has gone very, very well. You can read more here, here, and here. It sounds like the ballot error rate is quite low, most voters had enough knowledge about how ranked choice voting works, and our Election Judges were more than capable of handling the new system.

It seems the advocates for ranked choice voting were right, and the naysayers were wrong: voters can figure out how to use this system without significant difficulty and our elections staff are fully capable of implementing it.

I give tremendous credit to interim Elections Director Pat O'Connor and his able staff. They took on a major, historic task, and met and exceeded all expectations.

I also want to recognize our staff's partners from Tipping Point Strategies and FairVote Minnesota, who worked on the campaign to educate voters. The familiarity of Minneapolis voters with this new system is a testament to their great work.

Turnout is low citywide, which is unsurprising due to the fairly quiet race at the top of the ballot, and the relatively few open Council seats.

It will be interesting to watch how the two Council races in which no candidate reached 50% play out, as well as the at-large races (though it's clear that at least one at-large candidate, Carol Becker, has reached the threshold).

I'm proud to have been a supporter of ranked choice voting both before I was first elected and since I took office. My office played a critical role in getting RCV on the ballot in '06 and moving the system towards implementation this year. It seems surprising in retrospect, given how well this election has gone, that there was ever a question as to whether the City would be able to implement this year.

Lastly, I want to welcome our sister city to the east to ranked choice voting. Congratulations to the St. Paul Better Ballot Campaign for winning approval for using ranked choice voting in their municipal elections. It was clearly a harder fight in St. Paul, with an organized opposition and support from only a few City Council Members (unlike our experience in Minneapolis in '06, when we had at least nine strong supporters on the Council). St. Paul's decision opens possibilities that our two cities can work together to find voting equipment that can handle ranked choice elections.


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