Many Mark Andrew voters had no second choice

Data released today by the Minneapolis Elections Department show voters who supported Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges were far more likely to have selected a second-choice candidate than those who supported runner-up Mark Andrew.

More than 20 percent of voters who made Andrew their first choice decided not to pick a back-up candidate. Only 8 percent of Hodges’ first-choice voters marked their ballots that way.

As a practical matter, it makes no difference whether Hodges’ and Andrew’s voters had second choices. Those votes never came into play, because they were the top two candidates. But it does reveal a strategic difference between the two campaigns.

At a debate in September, Andrew said he would probably encourage voters to “bullet ballot” — a term that comes from old-fashioned multi-seat elections where you have the option of voting for several candidates without ranking them. In those types of races, voting for only one candidate can be an effective strategy.

Under ranked-choice voting, on the other hand, there’s no reason to cast a bullet ballot, because your second choice doesn’t take support away from your first choice.

Andrew’s campaign quickly retracted the statement as an attempt at a joke, but the election results suggest he might have been serious.

Highlighted are the eight candidates who waged the most active campaigns.

The “bullet ballots” referenced in the above chart include voters who selected the same candidate in all three columns, as well as voters who voted for only one candidate.

Supporters of Republican-backed candidate Cam Winton were almost as likely as Andrew voters to cast bullet ballots. The state GOP platform includes a plank officially opposing ranked-choice voting, also called instant runoff voting.

The St. Paul GOP told voters in last week’s election not to vote beyond the first-choice, because it believes ranking is unconstitutional. The Minnesota Supreme Court disagrees with that assessment.