Do you think ranked choice voting will result in better elections?

Today, St. Paul voters have their first chance to use ranked choice voting, also known as instant runoff voting. Proponents say the new voting method will allow results that more closely match the preferences of the electorate. Today’s Question: Do you think ranked choice voting will result in better elections?

  • Gary F


    I’m an election judge, have been for about 12 years. I’ve worked in Highland Park and in Frogtown.

    I’m out the door in a few minutes to election judge again.

    It’s hard enough for people that don’t have good English skills to vote as it is. I am SO, SO, glad I’m not working in Frogtown this election! It’s going to be a mess!

    It;s going to be really tough for seniors to vote this way also. It will be a real challenge today.

    This was a solution that didn’t have a problem. It’s a way for the political left to keep any opposition out. Plain and simple.

  • Alison

    It seems like a gimmick to me. I’m not sure it has been tried on a large enough scale to get an idea of whether it transforms the campaigns leading up to the election.

    What we need for better elections is a adequately educated, more engaged electorate that doesn’t reply on TV sound bites to make their choices.

  • Hiram

    Based on the Minneapolis model, no. Rank voting seems to create listless, uncompetitive elections in which a strong incumbent is under no pressure to respond to opponents. They also create a ballot which no one can seem to figure out. Ranked voting, like camels, give all the signs of being designed by a committee.

  • I’m a “User Experience” designer in real life. Among other things, I perform experiments on user interacations with things – software, usually – to test how “usable” they are. Another big part of my job – looking at things to find likely pitfalls.

    Ranked choice voting is full of potential issues. For example: So when “simply” ranking, say, five candidates from

    top to bottom, do you number them 1-5, or 5-1?

    Remember – in many Asian cultures, 1 is “better” than 5, while many people think bigger numbers are “better” than smaller numbers (like a hockey score).

    And if you answer “that’ll be explained in the instructions”, please bear in mind that people – REAL people – tend not to read instructional writing, and retain even less for any amount of time. So – how do you make sure everyone gets the directions the same way? Verbal instructions from poll staff? (Mightn’t those be potentially legally-problematic?)

    Indeed, ranked choice voting has proven complex enough that jurisdictions that use it have needed to “train” voters to use it. Voting should be simple enough to *not* require training, shouldn’t it?

    Will people be able to cast “Tie” votes if they have no preference? Rank everyone “1” (or “5”), or rank five candidates “1,2,2,2,3” or “1,1,3,3,5?”? (If you don’t think people will try, think again!) What’ll happen to the ballots if people try to do that? More importantly, how will people KNOW the consequences of trying that, whatever they are, and whether it’s OK or

    (emphatically) not?

    On what medium do they cast their vote – a paper ballot? Marked with what? Pencil? If they change their mind before submitting the ballot, how are changes made? Erasing numbers? How does one know, for audit purposes, WHO erased the number, then? What if they do a poor job of erasing (with older people with arthritic hands, this is not uncommon); how are ambiguities caused by poor erasing and faint handwriting resolved? How about people who don’t erase, but scribble or overwrite? And let’s not forget that immigrants frequently write numbers differently than Americans do; I run into this myself, since I usually use German numbering, and sometimes people read my “1”s as “7”s, and my “7s” as “4”s (I cross my 7s, European-style); how are these ambiguities to be resolved? And if the answer is “by telling immigrants to make sure they use American numbers”, do you realize the problems you’ll run into?

    Indeed, how are the votes of the handicapped to be tallied? How would someone with, say, arthritic hands vote? (I won’t even ask the obvious question about voting for the blind; I’ll have to assume SOMEONE’s on top of that one).

    And none of this even touches on the issue of “how the ballots are designed”. And that is a huge issue. Remember – whomever designed the infamous Broward County Butterly Ballot thought they had a perfectly workable, usable design!

    All of the above are real-world, non-political issues; they are the kind of thing that Best Buy or Target tries to resolve before they add a new power plug to their websites. How have election authorities dealt with them? (They haven’t).

    In a more partisan vein – I’m amazed that the people who, a few years back, were belllyacheing about the opacity of software developed for “electronic balloting” during the Bush administration are utterly silent about the parts of the ranked choice system – “how it’s counted” that are completely hidden from public view.

  • Mike

    Ranked-Choice voting is not new. Versions of it, such as the alternative vote system or the supplementary vote system, are used from Australia to Ireland. It is in crowded or close races where ranked-choice voting most sways outcomes.

    Imagine America had had ranked choice in 2000, when neither George W. Bush nor Al Gore won a majority; the second choices of Ralph Nader’s supporters would have picked the winner. For that matter, the system might also have thrown the 1992 election to George H. Bush senior.

  • DSherman

    This is a great system, which is why it will never be widely instituted in the US. First it increases participation, which neither party, but especially the GOP is want to do. Second it reduces the role of parties. If progressives/libertarians could vote their convictions on their first choice and then someone else on the second, you would see an end to the duopoly. This combined with an open week of voting (say Monday to Saturday) would greatly improve American governance, which is why it will never happen.

  • Rich

    The real electoral reform we need in this country is proportional voting for the House of Representatives.

    Enough, with letting legislators choose their voters in ever more ridiculous redistricting.

  • Brian

    I think Ranked Choice voting will result in better elections. More choices on the ballot means more ideas are discussed in a campaign. Democracy is about differing points of view settling their differences peacefully. Instead of silencing people, Ranked Choice Voting opens up the field for all candidates.

    It also allows voters to truly express which candidate they like best, not just which candidate out of those who have a realistic chance to win they like best. Voters are truly free to vote for the candidate they like best.

  • Karla

    Yes. I think Ranked Choice Voting will bring an end to the deeply dividing partisanship that has led to standoffs, standstills and stalemates that have, in turn, crippled this state and this country.

    By bringing more voices and choices into the mix, voices and choices that have a legitimate chance of winning, all candidates will learn that they need to listen to each other and build coalitions; that their narrow base is not enough to ensure a victory.

    With RCV you get a majority winner every time. There are no “spoliers” and no “wasted votes”. We have not had a majority winner governor in MN since Arne Carlson back in the early 90’s.

    The ballot is simple to understand and, when used in Minneapolis, there were virtually no problems.

    Where it is in use, campaigns have been more issue-oriented and less negative.

    I say YES to RCV!

  • Larry M.

    Today’s elections have often become a vote for the lesser of two evils rather than voting for who you really want. I think ranked elections will allow the voter to vote their heart without the risk of sending someone who is totally against their value system into a position because of a split vote, Also if it is eventually recognized at the state level it could allow smaller political parties to qualify as major parties and given a more equal playing field into the political process.

  • Scott Persons

    I agree with Hiram, at the local level RCV is useless and actually detrimental to providing competitive choices. Primaries help define two candidates who can define their vision for the office they are running for and helps voters by winnowing the field to two viable candidates. People do not have time to differentiate between multiple candidates in a local election.

    RCV activists are really wasting our time at the local level and doing a disservice to good local government and having competitive elections. Instead of having a primary to cull the field in a competitive process, RCV enhances the power of the parties, organized labor and activist group endorsements at the expense of average voters.

    While I continue to believe that RCV has a roll at the statewide level, it is a failure at the local level and I predict we will do away with it in the coming years. There are MANY more pressing problems with our elections than the current primary and general election system at the local level. My hope is that RCV activists turn their attention to ballot access issues that are harming everyday citizens right to vote.

  • Josh

    Super excited about ranked choice voting. I hope we can expand it to larger elections. Its the only way we can move from a two party system, to a system more accurately reflecting constituents.

  • I’m a big fan of Ranked Choice Voting. It worked great in Minneapolis in ’09.

    I saw Scotland adopt an entirely new system for their elections. The other system Scotland adopted was bug-ridden and had many spoiled ballots. RCV had less than were normally incorrectly filled out. People easily figured out how it works indicating that people find RCV easy to use.

    I like it for other reasons.

    1. No wasted votes.

    2. I don’t have to vote for the least bad candidate.

    3. Less dirty campaigning.

    4. Mitch Berg hates it.

  • Bill

    Rank Choice Voting is a wise step in the right direction for more fair elections. It results in a candidate being elected by a majority of the voters. All the concerns about how complicated it is are baseless. The voters may vote for not only their first choice, but also, at their option, for their second or third choice. How difficult is that?

  • Steve the Cynic

    This question should have been saved for tomorrow, so we could be talking about the real experience rather than opening the conversation to the speculations of fear mongers.

    I think RCV is a good idea and worth trying, so I’m grateful for the jurisdictions that are using it and giving some real world experience to learn from. It’s not a perfect system but is likely to produce better results than the plurality elections we’re used to, which have been resulting in ideological polarization and gridlock.

    I disagree with the critics who say it’s too complicated. The current system is complicated in another way, as voters have to weigh the difficult choice between voting for their favorite candidate, or their least unfavorite who could actually win.

    Mathematicians have conclusively proved that there is no perfect election system for choosing one winner among more than two candidates. Any system will be subject to “strategic voting,” where voters could expect a better result by casting a ballot that does not represent their actual opinions.

    RCV is less bad than plurality voting, but it still won’t resolve all of the discrepancies. For example, in Minnesota’s 2008 Senate race, the logical choice was Dean Barkley, because he was the consensus candidate. He was the second choice of just about everyone for whom he wasn’t the first choice, but since he came in third among the first-choice votes, he would have been eliminated, and we still would have gotten either Franken or Coleman. Likewise, in the 2010 governor’s election, Tom Horner was the consensus candidate, but RCV would not have chosen him.

    The chief benefit of RCV is that it forces candidates to appeal to supporters of other candidates to get their 2nd-choice votes, which would cut down on the vitriolic rhetoric that tends to alienate moderate voter and create distrust of government in general.

  • Adam

    Since it was only introduced for the 2009 municipal election, I think the criticism of “the Minneapolis model” is premature.

    If you favor the two-party system, and are comfortable with the overwhelming advantage that incumbents enjoy, you won’t like RCV.

    If you’d like to see real structural change to America’s election system, with real opportunity to elect new candidates from smaller parties, then this is for you.

    But we’ll need to see it function for more than one election, beyond municipal elections, before we really see that change.

  • Matt

    I’m so glad RCV has made it to St. Paul and hope that it will keep spreading around the state. I, for one, would love for multiple candidates to spend a campaign trying to win not just my first, but second vote. i’m so tired of having to hear every election from the vast majority of my friends and colleagues that they yet again felt compelled to vote for the least bad candidate rather than the best — after receiving messages of fear during the campaign.

    I think RCV will bring about not just more civility in campaigns but more substantive discussion among in many cases a wider slate of candidates. Of course there are party faithful on any side who fear that ranked voting might pose a threat to their monopoly on producing “viable” candidates. But I believe the vast majority of the public is hungry for leaders who can step beyond political machines and focus foremost on wooing and serving us citizens. I hear the concerns of many who have posted. It will take time for voters to learn and adjust to this new system. But our democracy will be the better for it.

  • Tom Reynolds

    Ranked choice voting can and will change the dynamics of a political system that rewards party loyalty and special interest groups rather than good public service.

    In a two party system we tend to gravitate to the most vocal groups who dominate the candidates for elective office. Those who are centrists and the majority of the electorate have little choice to have their vote counted unless they choose from a party endorsed candidate. Without ranked choice voting the only viable alternative to an endorsed party candidate is to self fund one’s own candidacy, leaving only the wealthy able to compete.

    Government should serve the people, all the people by bringing solutions, compromise, and effective government. Ranked choice voting and term limits are needed, if we are to ever change the status quo.

  • kimMN

    I say Yes to accepting RCV. Maybe if we had this for the last presidential election we would not have the massive capital cronyism and Pay to Play people in office today. How is it we ever elected someone by a questionable popular vote who then lets billions be given away and then lost for ever?

    32 billion set aside for a non functional industry of Green jobs like Solyndra . That was $532 million lost to a scam Pay to Play event. Today we have another scam_ a Russian billionair is about to receive over $750 BILLION in low interest loan to build a steel plant right here in America! That makes Solyndra scandal peanuts as they say.

    In 2007 Obama gave speeches and blamed Bush for Wall Street’s paid out bonus and pledged he would never let that happen to a corporation that was put into government receivership yet, today he has Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac execs about to receive millions in bonus for what? For a failed job on a $900,000 plus yearly salary?? Obama flip flops as much as Romney.

    come is time we had better ways to elect our leaders.

    Obama has lost my re-elect vote for ever.

  • kimMN

    Would RCVoing help elect those who truly represent the tax payers on matters of school boards? If so, then property owners could elect someone who would not cave in to union leaders pressure at contact time. I wonder if the Teachers president supports Occupy Wall Street now that we know she is in the 1% ?

    The union’s financial report filed with the federal department of labor this year shows President Rhonda Weingarten took in a 15% increase in her compensation – a raise of over $65K, elevating her her to $493,859. Other union execs, an additional 193 employees make more than $100,000.

    Meanwhile teachers are laid off and property taxes grow. The union leaders do pretty well at the expense of their members.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “Obama has lost my re-elect vote for ever.”

    C’mon, kimMN, you don’t really expect anyone to believe you ever seriously considered voting for Obama, do you? It’s obvious you’ve been going out of your way to find reasons you think people should oppose him, no matter how flimsy those reasons are.

    And I’m surprised you’re endorsing RCV. The sources of the right-wing talking points you usually spout are solidly against it, because the Koch brothers, et al., realize that an election system that decreases polarization would hurt their cause.

  • Sandra Sandell

    I favor using ranked choice voting because it can make races more competitive and more issue oriented. It can also make campaigning less negative because candidates must vie for voters’ 2nd & 3rd choices. It allows voters to vote for their favorite candidate even if that candidate has little chance of winning and after that to vote for others who are at least not distasteful to them. RCV serves the public good by showing how much support there truly is for the various minor parties.

  • SteveG

    For those who fear change, it is not a consideration,but RCV can be a change for the better. If nothing else, we will be assured of getting a winner by majority, not plurality. Many others have cited the advantages of this change, and the negatives are only in the process of making the change (education of voters, initial costs, etc) which can be overcome with time. This method of voting is a way to bring us back to elected bodies that are representative of voters based on their positions AND the focus on making the system work for us, not the elected

  • kimMN

    @stevecynic…come on really?

    Obama has lost all credibility and all his policies have failed, now he puts the oil pipe line from Canada to our southern states on hold a year to avoid angering his support..that_ is playing politics with out future..but he said he wanted electricity rates to sky rocket under his plans. So much for caring about the middle class finances.

    I lost any remaining faith in Obama when he wasted our money on bail outs to Wall Street with no strings attached, Fannie mae receivership, 32 billion for the Energy dept to pay off contributors with cheap loans, wasted that too and to remind us all that unemployment is still above 9% with 20% effective rates for under employed. Minorities have even worse unemployment in the past three years. Obama waited thee years before he even tried to address unemployment instead passing behind closed doors the health insurance reform bill that is costing business more and inhibiting job growth. He tossed Israel under the bus, could have helped them take out Iran’s nuclear development when it was more feasible. Allows his wife to waste tax dollars for her extravegant vacations in a time of huge deficits. He appointed self proclaimed Marxists like Van Jones. He supported OWS that has turned into a violent protest while he has received more $ from Wall Street than any other president. Obama’s issues is with hypocrisy to the Nth degree. May I also remind readers that he appointed Eric Holder as Attorney General who said his dept would not enforce certain laws and then sues states for doing what the federal gov. would not do!

    How about allowing the Fast and Furious operation letting thousands of guns into Mexico…200 mexican citizens now dead and two border agents murdered as a result of that.

    Obama took an oath to keep America safe and follow the constitution. Failed at that. In 2007 and 2008 he spoke of Bush’s over use of executive orders to get a round Congress. Last week he spoke of ” we can’t wait for Congress to act..I will do what ever I can do without their approval.”

    Is THAT the Hope and Change he led us to believe in, that if elected he would see that business as usual would not be under his watch.

    HYPOCRISY and deceit are his trade marks.

    Mn voters should know that his administration has failed to comply with every supoena for records from Solyndra to Fast and Furious..what they submit are mostly blacked pages with no data.

    These are not rantings but facts that anyone can look up and confirm if in doubt.

    A ranked choice vote would have not elected Obama, the boy from Midwest Academy radical group.. Look it up, see the members on that group and who was directly advising Obama in 2004 in Illinois and in 2008.

    Only a fanatic, a ” give me other’s fruits of their labor” type or an uninformed voter would ever vote for him again..even Hillary would have been a better ranked choice.

    The truth will set you free but it will hurt at first to see it.

  • Susan Maas

    The plurality system cultivates divisiveness and makes it possible, time and time again, for candidates who are actually OPPOSED by a majority to maneuver their way into office. That phenomenon is an affront to democracy, yet it happens repeatedly. RCV allows candidates with the broadest possible support to win election.

    The other thing that excites me most about ranked choice voting is its potential to improve representation for historically underrepresented communities. Combining two elections (a primary and a general, or a general and a runoff) into one high-profile November election makes it so much easier for everybody to engage in political decision-making. And it means that candidates don’t have to raise money for two separate elections. In San Francisco, RCV has proven to be very empowering for communities of color; the board of supervisors is more diverse than it’s ever been. This reform brings politics closer to what it should be: A conversation about issues and ideas in which EVERYBODY can easily participate.

  • Michael Herrmann

    Absolutely! I think the elimination of the wasted vote will eventually bring more people into the system.

    I understand the worries about confusion on the part of the electorate. It will take time to institutionalize ranked voting, but I think in the long run it will make the system more responsive and open.

  • Jim Shapiro

    RCV gives the hope of not having to choose the evil of two lessers.

  • david

    I think I like it. My understanding is that I no longer will I have to vote for the person I’m lukewarm about just because they’ll have the greatest chance of defeating the one I see as horrible, evil and corrupt. Maybe then a true third/non-party will have a chance against the 2 extremist ideologies. And when there’s that possibility maybe the partisan bickering will start to subside and we can once again start moving forward in this country.

  • Patrick Morley

    It remains to be seen how rank voting does in our fair city but the possibility of no one being a clear winner is appealing. Anytime we’re pushed towards compromise we should be pleased.

  • Jane

    Yes. I’ve noticed that hotly contested City Council races are more civil this year. If a candidate is not a voter’s first choice, he or she still may still benefit from being a voter’s second choice.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “I lost any remaining faith in Obama….”

    That’s the thing, kimMN. Given your stated opinions, I find it hard to believe that you ever had any faith in Obama. I can imagine you telling yourself you’d give him a chance after he was elected, but strongly suspect you were predisposed to decide he was horrible before he was sworn in.

  • Susan Maas

    The primary process is an insider’s game, and it often tends to yield winners who reflect the wants and desires of a small, select, well-connected slice of the electorate (which may even be at odds with the interests of the broader populace). Ranked choice voting makes politics and policy-making more accessible to everyone.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “I lost any remaining faith in Obama….”

    That’s the thing, kimMN. I think you’re being disingenuous. Given your stated opinions, I find it hard to believe that you ever had any faith in Obama. I can imagine you telling yourself you’d give him a chance after he was elected, but strongly suspect you were predisposed to decide he was horrible before he was sworn in.

  • The negativity in our politics need not be with RCV. Rather than attack ads put out by campaigns, you would have more conciliatory language that emphasize actual issues. The personal name-calling in this discussion is appalling and reflects our current winner-take-all system

    Voters also deserve better options than voting for the “least evil” candidate. For instance, liberals will prefer Obama to win yet he’s been awful on the environment, supported Bush’s tax cuts, and still opposes gay marriage. Obama would get a 2nd or 3rd choice to protest against his weak presidency.

    Conservatives who find Mitt Romney to be a closet liberal for his support of RomneyCare and weak positions on a plethora of issues also deserve a better 1st or 2nd choice.

    I also think the Franken-Coleman and Dayton-Emmer recounts would have been over and done with sooner had IP voters been able to cast a 2nd choice.

    There are far more independents and non-voters in this country than all partisan Democrats or Republicans combined. If people actually felt their votes mattered they’d be more apt to show up at the polls. Any voting system that actually represented the will of the people would be far more democratic than it currently is.

  • Marcus

    Of course it will. It will give us the ability to tell the major parties that they are not our first choice, and we only vote for them because we don’t feel as though we have any other choice. I would love to see a politician claim an absolute mandate when he/she recieves only 25% of the first round votes. That is, of course, an exadoration to help illistrate a point.

  • lucy

    To tell the truth, I am not sure what to think about this new technique, although some of my aligned posters seem to think it is a good thing. I shall see.

  • Erich

    You betcha.

  • Troy T

    Yes indeed!

    However, it will take 2 or 3 cycles to reach its full potential because voters, at least in St. Paul, are accustomed to having only two choices, both of which are usually from the same dominant party and have been vetted by the insiders, via the primary election.

    As voters discover they have real choices, I expect participation to increase.

  • kimMN

    I just realized that according to my specious reasoning, all the things I’ve said can be turned against me and the whole GOP is bad because Herman Cain is a sexual predator!!! I’m such a fool 🙁

  • Bear

    Dead on, the 2008 Senate race would have had a better outcome, albeit I have to admit Franken is surprising me by being much more competent and focused than I would have guessed. And for sure anyone who listened with an open mind to Gary Eichten’s interviews of all three candidates surely had to find Tom Horner had a better grasp of the issues and had practical solutions. I would support a metered expansion of RCV. Take a few small steps, what worked, what didn’t and expand to more contest.

  • Ellen

    RCV will definitely lead to better elections over time. If it did nothing more than ensure that voters could choose their first choice without fearing that their vote will be “wasted” or that it will “spoil” the outcome in favor of their least favorite candidate, that would be certainty enough for me.

    But, for me, the main improvement in city elections is having more candidates on the ballot when more voters are at the polls. …that is, an increase in voter participation, not necessarily in voter turnout. Instead of the field being winnowed in 10% (plus or minus) turnout primaries, we’ll have all candidates being considered in the higher turnout general election. Under the old system, two candidates could (and did) advance to the general with support from less than a third of less than fifteen percent of eligible voters.

    In addition, we save money with no primary.

    Not ranking a second choice is effectively choosing not to vote in the general election if your candidate is eliminated in the primary. Somehow I just can’t see the political professionals who oppose RCV skipping that step under the old system. Why would they now????

    Will RCV have proven its worth in St Paul? Informal exit polls so far are showing very positive response by voters. Will it change the outcome of any election? We’ll see about that tomorrow or next week. But that has never been the promise or premise.

  • **

    Dear Moderator of MPR,

    PLEASE make them STOP harassing other posters as we discovered this afternoon.

    It appears that the poster going by either david or perhaps Steve the Cynic has used other sign on names to discredit or humiliate them. One of these is the only one that has used the term of specious in prior posts.

    This needs to stop. Please advise or our readers will stop patronizing this portion of the MPR web site. Harassment with imposter writing of any poster on MPR should not be tolerated.

    Below is the fraudulent comment viewed today. Someone is using another’s identity to make slanderous remarks on a public web site is as guilty of slander as is the web site allowing this type of debasement of a presidential candidate.

    The true person usually signing on as Kim MN has been in a board meeting from 10:30 AM until 3:00 PM today.


    false posting “I just realized that according to my specious reasoning, all the things I’ve said can be turned against me and the whole GOP is bad because Herman Cain is a sexual predator!!! I’m such a fool 🙁

    Posted by kimMN | November 8, 2011 1:08 PM


  • Stephanie


    This is an effective way to let more people decide who the election should be between rather than the small percentage of active citizens that take the time to vote at the primary election. We would have had different outcomes for the past 10 years in our govenors races. Our state would be in much better shape now.

  • Marc

    RCV makes a simple system complicated. It is a vehicle for those who have been unable to make their preferred third party break into the big time.

    I do not see a need for this. I, for one, would like results election night. This system will not even count ranked votes until next week.

  • Steve the Cynic

    It wasn’t me, kimMN. I can understand why you might suspect me, but I actually found that post almost as distateful as you did. It just struck me as an unfair tactic.

  • Rebecca

    If the two major parties were willing to let other political parties flourish, we might not need IRV. But getting the two major parties to give up any part of their monopoly is just as possible as the Vikings beating Green Bay this season. Lovely, yes. Likely, no.

  • This is NOT lucy

    Dear Little Miss Too Astericks**

    “Someone is using another’s identity to make slanderous remarks on a public web site is as guilty of slander as is the web site allowing this type of debasement of a presidential candidate.”

    Debasement of presidential candidate? Really?

    That HAS to be a joke.

    I voted and what I thought was interesting was having the option of 1st through 4th choices when there was only one candidate.

    Talk about anticlimatic.

  • Larry LaVercombe

    The more you know about RCV – the more you recognize either a) that there is NO DOUBT it will result in better elections, or b) you recognize that RCV will result in changes that one is AFRAID OF, and thus the change will be not better, it will be worse….

    The fear may be based on misunderstandings — things like “there will be more fraud,” or, “it’s too complicated for voters,” both of which indicate a lack of understanding about how RCV works. More often, the fear is based on the recognition that indeed “things WILL change.” Sometimes staunch supporters of BOTH ruling parties recognize that Ranked Choice Voting will bring greater democratization to the process… and that might even mean that – albeit occasionally at this point – we might even elect some third party candidates. (But really – isn’t it up to each party to run a candidate that can beat ALL the others, not just the one from the other ruling party?)

    But once the Fear is dismissed — (and who wants the Fearful to be in charge, anyway?) — it is clear to all who understand and who are open to the benefits of “a better system” that RCV will absolutely result in better elections… Better in that a) debate will be more issue-focused, b) people will be able to vote their conscience, resulting in c) more voter participation, while d) RCV will eliminate the problem of the two best candidates splitting the vote and thus allowing the third and perhaps most radical/objectionable candidate to win.

    Change is hard, especially for the uninformed and the fearful. But growth and progress depend upon it. It’s time. Let’s evolve. Let’s get this going statewide.

  • kimMN

    @steve, well thanks Steve for the reply and clarification on the imposter use thing. My babysitter/ former co-worker was more upset as she reads many comments for part of her polling work.

    I think readers should start with understanding the terms everyone uses. so they don’t misunderstand. Here’s a heart warming list:


    California (Left Coast) Upper Midwest


    Diverse or Lifestyle Choice Sinful and Perverted

    Arsenal of Weapons Gun Collection

    Delicate Wetlands Swampland

    Undocumented Worker Illegal Alien

    Cruelty-Free Materials Synthetic Fiber

    Assault and Battery Attitude Adjustment

    Heavily Armed Well-protected

    Narrow-minded Righteous

    Taxes or Your Fair Share Coerced Theft

    Commonsense Gun Control Gun Confiscation Plot

    Illegal Hazardous Explosives Fireworks or Stump Removal

    Nonviable Tissue Mass Unborn Baby

    Equal Access to Opportunity Socialism

    Multicultural Community High Crime Area

    Fairness or Social Progress Marxism

    Upper Class or “The Rich” Self-Employed

    Progressive, Change Big Government

    Sniper Rifle Scoped Deer Rifle

    Investment For the Future Higher Taxes

    Healthcare Reform Socialized Medicine

    Extremist, Judgmental, or Hater Conservative

    High Capacity Magazine Standard Capacity

    Religious Zealot Church-going

    Reintroduced Wolves Cattle and deer Killers

    Fair Trade Coffee Overpriced Yuppie Coffee

    Exploiters or “The Rich” Employed or Land Owner

    The Gun Lobby NRA Members

    Assault Weapon Semi-Auto (Grandpa’s M1 Carbine)

    Fiscal Stimulus New Taxes

    Mandated Eco-Friendly Lighting = Chinese Mercury-Laden Light Bulbs

  • Mark M

    Anytime an election doesn’t have a majority winner — such as in Minnesota’s last few governor’s elections, and many of the recent presidential elections — the winner’s mandate is weaker. Ranked Choice would fix that.

    The primaries for local/city/county elections are notorious for having less than 10% turnout. Ranked Choice would/has fixed that.

    Having to worry about winning 2nd/3rd choice votes makes candidates less likely to indulge in negative campaigning. Ranked Choice gives 2nd/3rd choice votes.

  • Roann

    I think that ranked choice voting makes sense and it is easy for voters and election officials to use. It solves the problems we have with winners that do not represent a majority of the voters. This election in St. Paul is another step in changing our elections process so that our elected leaders represent a majority of the voters.

    While we take these initial steps in changing our voting process; there are some whiners that love the bitter and nasty elections. Do not be deceived by them. We need government that works for the people and this is the way to get our elections back in the hands of the voters.

  • CF

    Under the rules of instant run-off voting in St. Paul, the “winner” need only receive 50% of the vote plus one more. That’s one more…. vote. Which means the “winner” will be elected with approval of 50.000000000000001% of votes cast.

    That’s a majority? If instant run-off voting was to somehow unite our split down the middle divided society I don’t see how this will do it.

  • Kim S

    I disagree that ranked choice voting is a solution without a problem. I think it is a problem when candidates are elected without a majority of the votes and am tired of having to choose between two extreme candidates.

    I think ranked choice voting may help create better elections by strengthening third parties, creating competition between the major parties and ultimately create a climate for moderate, thoughtful candidates.

  • Lloyd Geillinger

    It is sad to see that so called people of God are so agreeable to “forced change”. Let me remind them that there will be a certain percentage of people in Minnesota for which there will be no “common ground”, never will. I am still trying to understand how a small percentage group of people swayed Minnesota politicians to go against the majority voices of the people in their districts. Could it be the $2M they spent? That’s it, no matter what you want to do all it takes is money, right or wrong. They can be bought every time. Away from the major cities is rural Minnesota, and rural Minnesota hasn’t changed it’s opinion one bit in this matter, there will be no open arms, no adjustment, no change of heart, so get used to that as well.

  • schriste

    Lloyd, since the people you say will never change their minds and never accept anyone different than them is nothing new or something we arent use to, I see no change in that view. However, now the civil law provides equal protection to those families, so you will need to get use to that.

  • mike

    Yes Lloyd it was the money that was spent that swayed the majority. An advertising campaign that was successful in convincing people that as a civil society we can disagree about religious beliefs without denying civil rights. No one has asked you to change your mind about your religious beliefs. I don’t want to be governed by your religious beliefs any more then you want to be governed by mine. That is why in your chosen religious community you are still free to deny that gay people are worthy of your acceptance. Just because you are in the minority in your way of thinking. Your right to practice your belief in your religious institution have more protection under the law then before this law was passed.