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Delay in Election Results

Updated

MEMORANDUM

To: Minneapolis Candidates & Interested Parties
From: Jeanne Massey, FairVote Minnesota Executive Director
Re: Delay in Election Results

Unfortunately, the tabulation of results from Minneapolis mayoral and other municipal elections is taking longer than anyone would like including the hardworking election officials who are actually doing the thankless job of counting ballots.

The reason for this delay is easily explained: Minneapolis city ordinance narrowly defines what mathematically impossible to be elected means, and does not take into account whether a candidate could actually make it to first place or not.

This means that election officials have been forced to eliminate the large number of candidates slowly, one by one, and are not able to process results via batch elimination (a simultaneous defeat of multiple continuing candidates for whom it is mathematically impossible to be elected) as originally intended. 

It is important to remember that this delay is not an inherent problem with Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), but rather the result of a low filing threshold and unclear language in city ordinance.

Fortunately, there are 3 important things that can and must be done to remedy this situation and ensure results of future RCV elections are tabulated quickly:

  1. Most importantly, raising the filing threshold to better reflect the number of candidates who intend to mount a campaign.
  2. Examining the RCV ordinance to see if the rule for eliminating mathematically impossible candidates can be broadened to reduce the rounds of tabulation required in multiple candidate races.
  3. Moving forward to certify tabulation software compatible with the city's new voting equipment (an upgrade the city is already anticipating).

FairVote Minnesota will continue to advocate for these important upgrades to ensure that ranked choice voting continues to be the strongest and fairest election system possible. We applaud and thank all of the Minneapolis election officials who are working tirelessly to ensure accurate results, and congratulate the overwhelming majority of voters (85%+) who took advantage of the opportunity to rank their vote and have their voices heard on Tuesday.

While we won't see the count take this long in the future, 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.

For additional perspective on Tuesdays election, see our post-election takeaways here.

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