Minneapolis (May 20, 2013) -- Hats off to the participants in the DFLs Ward 5 convention in Minneapolis on Saturday, who used Ranked Choice Voting in their first round of balloting.
With four candidates vying for an open seat current Ward 5 Council Member Don Samuels is running for mayor the convention offered a prime opportunity to use RCV in the winnowing process.
Ward 5 became the first and only DFL convention to vote overwhelmingly to utilize RCV in their endorsement process, said Terra Cole, executive director of Heritage Park Neighborhood and convention delegate. Although a candidate was not endorsed, clearly the folks in Ward 5 are ready for the November election. The 5th Ward includes the southern half of the citys North Side.
RCV will be used in the November election in Minneapolis, which includes races for mayor, City Council and Park Board. It may also be used at the DFL city convention in June, where mayoral and Park Board candidates will attempt to secure the partys endorsement.
The experiment in Ward 5 went smoothly, with delegates clearly understanding the process: Voters intentions were clear on every ballot, and all ballots were counted. Tallying took just slightly longer than it would have with a single-vote ballot.
Jeff Strand, a credentials volunteer who also served as a teller assistant helping with ballot counting, said the tallying process was simple, straightforward and efficient. It appeared to me that choosing RCV simply accomplished on the first ballot count what would have taken two ballots to accomplish [otherwise].
Saturdays results belie the contention made by a handful of vocal RCV opponents that the system is too complex or confusing for voters of color to understand.
Attorney Ian Alexander came in first place, and political consultant Brett Buckner came in second; Blong Yang and Ken Foxworth were dropped after the first ballot. The race also includes a Green Party-endorsed candidate, Kale Severson.