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Council puts question about IRV on the ballot

Skyway News/Downtown Journal (Minneapolis) August 21, 2006

http://www.skywaynews.net/articles/2006/08/21/news/news07.txt

By Kari VanDerVeen

The question of whether Minneapolis should switch to a new voting method will now be up to those it affects most - the city's voters.

The City Council voted 12-1 at its Aug. 4 meeting to put a question on the ballot this fall asking voters whether the city should adopt Instant Runoff Voting.

Instant Runoff Voting - also known as Single Transferable Vote and Ranked Choice Voting - is a method that has voters rank candidates in order of preference rather than choosing one. When all the ballots are collected, first choices are counted. If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate who received the fewest votes is defeated. Those ballots are then recounted and the candidate listed as the second choice receives those votes. The process is repeated until a candidate receives a majority of votes. Switching to Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) would eliminate primary elections.

If voters approve IRV this fall, it goes into effect in the 2009 municipal election unless the city isn't prepared to implement the new system. If the City Council isn't ready at that time or doesn't feel it has the necessary technology in place, it can vote to postpone the implementation of IRV until the 2013 municipal election.

The City Council's vote to put IRV on the ballot this fall came after members of the Charter Commission voted 8-7 at their Aug. 2 meeting to reject the proposed ordinance. The proposal then went back to the City Council, which has the authority to reject or accept the Charter Commission's decision. Because the City Council rejected the Charter Commission's decision and didn't make any changes to the proposed ordinance, the measure will go on the ballot this fall.

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