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.