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City Hall Scoop Reports Our Grand Old Petition Surge

June 4, 2007 9:17 PM-Tim Nelson, City Hall Scoop

IRV bandwagon: picking up speed?

Its crunch time for instant runoff voting in St. Paul.

Since the city council doesnt seem to be motivated to take action of its own, it looks like a petition is the only way ranked choice voting is going to get before the voters any time soon.

Weve seen the supporters out working the crowd pretty heavily recently.

Heres Amy Brendmoen, of the Better Ballot Campaign, on the left, with some of her fellow petitioners, Kathleen Murphy and Beth Mercer-Taylor, amongst the crowd watching the Grand Old Day parade pass by.

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They reported great results for the day, estimating that theyd picked up more than 700 signatures Sunday alone. I'd guess we'll be at 2,800 -- 2,900 overall once yesterday's petitions are all retrieved, Brendmoen told us today.

Thats a long way from the 5,098 signatures that a petition needs to get on the ballot this year, by Ramsey County elections manager Joe Manskys reckoning.

And time is growing short: Mansky says hell need the petitions by Aug. 14 to certify the signatories for the St. Paul City Council, which will give the final seven thumbs up or down as to the sufficiency of the petition.

Theyve got about 10 weeks, basically, to get this, Mansky said.

Brendmoen didnt sound too worried about that.

This weekend was a big test for us, she told the Scoop earlier this evening. And that we got pretty darn close to 1,000 signatures is pretty darn good.

She said theyd only started the petition drive in earnest about six weeks ago. And while there arent any events as big as Grand Old Day on the calendar this summer, thats not so bad, either. Thatll mean there are fewer people from Iowa and Eden Prairie walking around, ineligible to sign the petition.

That was our only problem on Sunday, Brandmoen said. It was making sure people were from St. Paul.

This coming weekend will be no small hurdle, either. Instant runoff voting proponents are going to be working the citywide DFL convention, hoping to pick up a party endorsement for their effort.

But Brendmoen told us that she thinks now that the petition is totally doable and that shes looking forward to handing in a valid petition drive later this summer.

Thats the plan, she said.

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