RCV… Easy as one, two, three!
The fourth in a series of articles about the 2021 Municipal Elections brought to you by the League of Women Voters Minneapolis.
Minneapolis residents can say goodbye to voting for the lesser of two evils thanks to Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), a unique method for electing local officials that was first implemented in our city in 2013. On November 2, you can vote for your first, second, and third choice candidates for the offices of Mayor, City Council, Park & Recreation Board, and Board of Estimate & Taxation. That’s right, just like the lottery, you can pick three.
Here’s how RCV works:
Choose the candidate who best represents your views, and fill in the circle beside their name under the 1st Choice column. You can then proceed to indicate your second and third choice candidates by marking the circles next to their names in the 2nd and 3rd choice columns. There is no Primary election runoff, so no candidates are excluded before Election Day. You can choose any candidate among every candidate who files to run for office.
You don’t have to choose three candidates, but here’s why you might want to: After the polls close, all 1st Choice votes will be counted (including absentee and vote-by-mail ballots). If there is a clear winner – that is, if one candidate receives the highest vote count ABOVE the 50 percent threshold – the race is called, and that candidate is declared the winner. If no candidate reaches 50 percent, then the counting moves to round two.
In round two, the candidates with the lowest vote count and no mathematical chance of winning are eliminated, and their voters’ votes are shifted to their 2nd choice candidate. If, after round two, no candidate reaches the threshold, the counting moves to round three, four, and five etc., until the candidate with the most votes above 50 percent is declared the winner.
With Ranked Choice Voting, every candidate is on equal footing, and no candidate is a “spoiler.”
The City of Minneapolis website has extensive educational materials explaining RCV, including videos in Spanish, Somali and Hmong. If you or someone you know has a question or needs assistance, call the City of Minneapolis Help Line: 311.
Remember: your VOTE is your VOICE, and every eligible voter has the right to be heard. Democracy depends on it. Learn more at lwvmpls.org.
Graphic from Minneapolis Elections website https://vote.minneapolismn.gov/