Ready or not (many are not) ... here comes ranked-choice voting


On the eve of Tuesday's elections when Minneapolis faces the first big test of its ranked-choice voting system, some voters still don't understand it.

MPR News hit the streets and asked likely voters if they were ready for "RCV" – a system that relies on people to vote for their top three choices, in order. MPR found voters both confused by ranked-choice voting and by a dizzying array of 35 mayoral candidates.

"It's a little overwhelming, and I can see why people don't vote," Theresa Brakefield told MPR.

Ranked-choice voting has been used in Minneapolis before, but never in a wide open race with no incumbent.

In a nutshell, ranked-choice voting asks voters to pick their top choices in a given race (Minneapolis also has city council, park and rec board and taxation board elections on the ballot).

If no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, then bottom-tier candidates are eliminated, and the first ballot’s second and third choice votes are redistributed to those candidates who remain, MPR explains.

Still confused? For you visual learners, MPR posted a clever 1-minute video tutorial (below) that simplifies ranked-choice voting.

(The city of Minneapolis also posted a video that aims to show you how ranked-choice works.) MinnPost has an FAQ that delves into more ranked-choice minutiae, including this note: there's a good chance we won't know the winner of the mayor's race on Tuesday night.

Only about eight of the mayoral candidates have been waging active campaigns. Those who have were busy this weekend knocking on doors and passing out campaign literature, KARE 11 reports.

One upside to ranked-choice voting: less mud-slinging during the campaign, because candidates hunting for No. 2 and No. 3 votes don't want to alienate voters who plan to cast their No. 1 vote for someone else, University of Minnesota political science professor Kathryn Pearson told KARE.

For ranked-choice to work, voters really need to carefully consider those No. 2 and No. 3 choices – because those votes can determine the winner, experts say. One example: Jean Quan, who was elected mayor of Oakland, Calif., in an upset victory through ranked-choice voting in 2010 because she received the most second- and third-choice votes.

Next Up

eden prairie police squad car

Carjacking reported outside shopping center in Eden Prairie

One of the suspects reportedly displayed a weapon.

court gavel

8 people charged in Medicaid fraud scheme totaling $860K

Collectively, they're charged with 46 counts of felony theft.


Minnesota gets mixed grades on its tobacco report card

In Minnesota, the economic cost due to smoking is $2.519 million with 5,910 deaths per year attributed to smoking.

Hardy Wills-Traxler

Charges: Man stabbed his father, set his home on fire

The 25-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson.

Impound lot

Crowded impound lot raises COVID concerns after Minneapolis snow emergency

A vehicle owner complains about the tightly-packed impound lot following the weekend's snow.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, Jan. 27

The latest update from the state health department.


Charges: Bar owner, employee served underage drinkers during shutdown

The bar hosted 20-30 people on Dec. 4, 2020, charges say.

police lights

Driver wearing bulletproof vest strikes pedestrian in Rochester

The 21-year-old claimed the vest keeps him warm, according to police.

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 8.08.05 PM

6 men charged in connection to 'disturbing trend' of carjackings, shootings

The men are accused of three carjackings in one day, as well as other crimes.


Video: How ranked-choice voting works

This will be used to elect some mayors.

Ranked-choice voting could mean weeks before winners are announced

Two St. Paul city council races are too close to call and will go to hand counts next week. One of those races has incumbent Dave Thune in a tight race for his seat in Ward 2.

Clear choice for a strong America, a vibrant and healthy economy

President Calvin Coolidge famously said, “The business of America is business.” There was a President who understood the linkage between a healthy economy, a favorable business environment, and jobs. For those of us starting, building, or growing businesses, the choice of who to elect for our (next) President has never been more clear and the contrast between the candidates has never been more striking.

Thune re-elected in St. Paul after ranked votes are re-tallied

Nearly a week after St. Paul voters cast their first ranked-choice ballots, Dave Thune was declared the winner of his city council race. Thune failed to gain a majority of the first-choice votes that were counted on Election Night. Counting two rounds of second-choice votes finally pushed him over 50 percent.