Voices & Choices

Minneapolis voters give ranked choice voting high marks after third RCV election

Minneapolis voters give ranked choice voting high marks after third RCV election

Voters in Minneapolis continue to embrace ranked choice voting (RCV)  as a more equitable and reflective voting method, and feel comfortable casting RCV ballots for their preferred candidates. This is according to the post-election report, published in March, that the city conducted after their third round of RCV elections last November.

A decisive majority, 92 percent, of voters surveyed after the election in Minneapolis said they found voting in RCV elections simple. Eighty percent ranked at least two candidates in all RCV races in Minneapolis. In the 16-way mayoral race, 73 percent of voters used all three of their rankings, while 87 percent ranked at least two candidates. Voters in Minneapolis are limited to three rankings on their ballots due to state-level ballot design laws.

City council races with three or more candidates saw 55 percent of voters use two or three rankings, and the nine-candidate Park Board at-large elections saw 78 percent of voters use two or three rankings (with 64 percent using all three).

Sixty-six percent of Minneapolis voters support continued use of RCV in future city elections, compared with 16 percent who said they do not support its use and 18 percent who were unsure about using RCV. These results are similar to results from exit polling after Santa Fe’s March RCV election, where 70 percent of voters supported continued use of RCV. These supermajorities demonstrate broad support for RCV due to its tendency to create more inclusive, issues-based elections.

Voters in Minneapolis also made few errors on their RCV ballots. Of all votes cast in RCV races, only 0.2 percent overvoted, or gave multiple candidates the same ranking. This overvote rate could be further reduced if Minneapolis used a different design for its RCV ballots, requiring first that the Secretary of State certify ballot designs that include RCV-specific designs.

Few voters skipped rankings, too, with just 0.27 percent of RCV votes skipping a rank. More than half of these were ballots skipping the first rank, likely due to voters wishing to express dissatisfaction with their options. Voters who skipped the first rank had their second choices counted instead.

All these numbers show that voters in Minneapolis find RCV easy to understand, use it effectively, and want to keep using it in the future. Meanwhile, voters in St. Louis Park, a suburb just west of Minneapolis, will get to use Minneapolis’s preferred voting method for the first time in 2019. Election administrators there will be able to look to Minneapolis’s elections as example.

See a one-page summary about the report.

Illustration by Mikhaila Markham 

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