Number of candidates is cause of delay in election results

As vote counting continues in the Minneapolis race, advocates of ranked-choice voting say the delay in results has nothing to do with the relatively new election system.

Advocates with FairVote Minnesota say reasons for the delay include the high number of candidates on the ballot, and the city ordinance that established the voting method doesn’t allow batch elimination of candidates who have no mathematical chance of winning. That means only one of the 35 candidates is eliminated each round.

“The biggest challenge, and I think that the thing that is really slowing down the process, is the fact that there were so many candidates on the ballot,” said Josh Nussbaum, who manages FairVote Minnesota’s educational campaign on ranked-choice voting. “I think it’s something that when the statute was written, they didn’t anticipate.”

The ordinance narrowly defines what it means for a candidate to have no mathematical possibility of being elected, and doesn’t take into account whether a candidate could actually make it to first place.

Nussbaum said the city could speed up the process by raising the $20 filing fee, increasing the number of rankings on the ballot, and buying software that would electronically tabulate the results.

The city would have to seek federal approval for that software.