Mpls. mayoral election results may come this evening

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Betsy Hodges speaks to supporters Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 at El Nuevo Rodeo in Minneapolis. (MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson)

Minneapolis election officials hope to announce the winner in the city’s hotly contested mayor’s race Wednesday evening.

Council Member Betsy Hodges has a strong lead among first-choice votes, but under the city’s ranked-choice voting system, second- and third-choice votes also come into play.

While the city doesn’t have to count the ballots by hand, City Clerk Casey Carl says determining the winner will still take hours.

“There is no equipment on the market available to us that automates the process of tabulating ranked-choice votes, at least as it is in accordance with our ordinance,” Carl said.

Election officials are using computer spreadsheets to complete the so-called instant runoff rounds necessary to declare a winner. Hodges has about 37 percent of first-choice votes.