Video: How ranked-choice voting works

This will be used to elect some mayors.

Election Day is coming up fast. It's not a big presidential election like last year – more local stuff this time around. 

Cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul will be voting on a mayor among other things, and the ballot might look a little different from what you normally see. 

That's because the cities use something called ranked-choice voting, or instant run-off voting, to decide who'll be in office. 


– Yes, there's an election coming up: Your guide to the 2017 St. Paul mayoral race

Basically, you'll choose your preferred candidate like you normally would, then you'll pick your second favorite and third favorite.

There are a couple benefits to this. It helps narrow the candidate pool without having to do primaries. It also keeps people from feeling like they wasted a vote if they prefer someone who's not-so-likely to win. And it helps make sure the winning candidate has the majority's support. 

One downside: It's kind of confusing. 

But it doesn't have to be. Check out the video above to see how ranked-choice voting works. 

But what if you're voting to fill multiple positions?

There's only one mayor, so only one person can win there. But in areas like parks and recreation departments, there might be multiple spots to fill. In that case, things get a little more complicated. 

You still vote like you normally would, but there's some math in the tallying process. 

So you take the number of positions available plus one, and divide the number of ballots cast by that. Then add one, and that's how many votes a candidate needs to win. 

Yes...it's still confusing. The math is all explained in more detail here

Next Up


Crash in southern Minnesota kills motorcyclist

The crash happened Saturday at Highway 42 and County Road 14 in Highland Township.

Oli Udoh

Vikings-Cardinals: 5 things you can count on happening

The Vikings need a win in the desert but will they get one on Sunday?

Kyler Murray

How can the Vikings stop Kyler Murray?

The Cardinals quarterback accounted for five touchdowns against the Titans.

Red's Pizza in Oshkosh, Wisconsin

'Landmark' Wisconsin pizza joint to close amid worker shortage

The restaurant has been a local favorite since 1957.

Ky Thomas

Potts, Gopher defense dominate Buffaloes

Trey Potts ran for three touchdowns in a 30-0 victory in Boulder.

police tape, crime scene

Suspect dies by suicide after 11 hour standoff in Wisconsin motel

The standoff occurred at a motel in Balsam Lake.

U.S. district court minnesota - federal court

Four sentenced for home invasion on northern Minnesota reservation

The incident took place in October 2019 on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

Screen Shot 2021-09-17 at 10.42.39 AM

4-year-old girl killed by falling branch in Mankato is identified

She is from South Dakota, and was attending the Mahkato Annual Traditional Powwow.

Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 6.35.24 AM

No. 1 Lakeville South dominates No. 2 Eden Prairie

The Cougars ran away with the Class 6A showdown.

Lake Nokomis

Boy hospitalized after being rescued from Lake Nokomis has died

He was one of two children pulled from the Minneapolis lake.


More Democrats line up to challenge Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges

Betsy Hodges was elected as a Democrat. All three people that have said they'll run against her in 2017 are also doing so as Democrats.

Video: What matters most to young voters in a presidential candidate

From character to health insurance costs, we asked young voters what matters most to them in choosing a presidential candidate.

Minnesotans can start voting, here's a video to show you how

Minnesotans can vote early starting Sept. 23. Here's a video to show you how.

This is how President Obama uses free tacos to get people voting

President Barack Obama has some urgent stuff to tell you about tacos – oh, and voting.

Here's how to find out who won in Tuesday's election

30 cities and 145 school districts held elections Tuesday.

Do you know what to bring with when you go to vote?

Do you need your ID? A bill? Your apartment lease?