Voters Overwhelmingly Embrace RCV in Minneapolis and St. Paul
November 6, 2013 (Minneapolis) -- FairVote Minnesota hopes the official tabulation process in the mayor's race will be completed later today; we expected all along, and the city expected all along, that that would be the case.
But a few things are clear right now:
- RCV is a big winner in yesterdays election.
- The eventual winner of the mayoral race will be the candidate who built a majority coalition and our citys next leader will represent this broad coalition when he or she takes office.
- The voters GOT it in races where RCV came into play, they overwhelmingly used the option to rank.
- And by all accounts, they did it without difficulty. In fact, the media reports show that voters had a very high level of understanding and found the process to be easy.
- Thats partly because of great work done by city elections staff they prepared thoughtfully and thoroughly.
- That said, there are administrative improvements to be made: 1) raising the filing threshold to better reflect the number of candidates who intend to mount a campaign; 2) increasing the number of rankings to provide voters with more choice in multiple candidate races; 3) broadening the threshold in the RCV ordinance for mathematically impossible candidates to be eliminated by batch to reduce the rounds of tabulation required in multiple candidate races; and 4) moving forward to certify tabulation software compatible with the city's new voting equipment.
- And its partly due to our amazing organizing team and volunteer corps we had over a hundred voter educators out just yesterday, making sure voters understood how to rank.
- But its also because this system ranking your ballot 1-2-3 -- is inherently simple to use! As weve said all along, people rank all the time in everyday life, and they can do it in the voting booth, too.
- RCV gave us a positive, substantive mayoral campaign that encouraged candidates to build coalitions, find common ground and talk about issues voters care about. This is how the political process SHOULD work!
- And it increased voter participation: Under the old system, this field would have been narrowed down to 2 back in August! -- by a very small, unrepresentative sliver of the electorate! And we dont know whose those 2 might have been. Instead, a vastly larger group of voters got to have their say about who the frontrunners were. This system engaged many, many, many more voters! And at a time when turnout in municipal elections has been trending downward state and countrywide, more than 80,000 city voters came out to cast a ballot.
We won't see the count take this long in the future, but seeing it this way underscores a very important point: every vote and every voice is being respected, whether we agree with that person or not. We're a community in Minneapolis, and we are watching a quite literal process of our voters coming together behind our next mayor. We are seeing the formation of a consensus that will end with a strong candidate who has earned every vote and be well-positioned to lead our city. The count will happen faster in the future, but the concept will be the same thing. And that's a great change for our city.
- We thank and congratulate all the candidates who put themselves forward to serve our city and campaign in a civil, engaging manner that will serve as a model for other cities across the state and country to follow.
- At a time when American politics has become dominated by polarization and gridlock, Minneapolis is leading the way and showing America what a civil, participatory, friendly and engaged election can look like. Everyone is watching us, and we should be really proud of what we've done here.