Why Ranked Choice Voting in Rochester?
The Rochester Post Bulletin urged the community to consider Ranked Choice Voting as a way to increase voter turnout and diversity in local elections for city council and mayor after seeing the success of RCV in the 2017 Twin Cities election. The recent recounts in the Ward 1 and 5 primaries make RCV that much more urgent and critical. Had RCV been in place, the costly recounts would not have been necessary.
RCV would eliminate the need for low-turnout, high-cost, unrepresentative primaries for city council and mayor and ensure candidates with the most popular support win in a single decisive election in November when the turnout is highest and most diverse. In most elections for mayor and city council, a very small fraction of voters participates in the primary election – on average, 5 times more voters participate in the general election than in the primary.
In addition to increasing voter participation, Ranked Choice Voting is also shown to:
- Give voters more choice
- Foster more diverse candidates
- Prevent spoilers and wasted votes
- Promote positive campaigning
- Reduce the role of money in campaigns
Polled voters say that RCV is overwhelmingly simple to use and they prefer it over the old system.
How does Ranked Choice Voting work?
- Rank the candidates in order of preference on the ballot—1st, 2nd, 3rd choice. The more you rank, the more power your ballot has.
- Your 2nd and 3rd choices matter! But they will only be counted if your 1st choice is eliminated.
- You are done! Know your ballot counts the way you truly want it to.
Counting the Ballots: If no candidate reaches the majority threshold in the initial round, the candidate with the least support is eliminated and ballots for that candidate are reallocated to remaining candidates based on the second preferences on those ballots. This process is repeated until one candidate reaches the winning threshold. It works like the primary-general election system works, but in a single, cost-effective and more representative election.
Upgrading to RCV
The technical upgrades and voter education that are required for RCV already have been made by Minneapolis and Hennepin County, making it easy for Rochester and Olmsted County, which uses the same voting equipment, to implement Ranked Choice Voting and minimize startup costs. The equipment vendor now has RCV tabulation software for fast, accurate and secure results.
St. Louis Park, which recently adopted RCV, is currently in the process of updating its elections administration to implement the system next year, providing additional resources for Rochester to use as needed as well.
Rochester has always has been a leader in promoting more open and inclusive elections. Eliminating the primary and replacing it with RCV would be a great move for our local democracy!
See FAQ for more detailed information about how RCV would work in Rochester.
RCV for Rochester in the News
- Rochester Post Bulletin Our View: Rochester is ready for Ranked Choice Voting
- Post Bulletin: Ranked Choice Voting supporters gather signatures for ballot question
- Letter by Michael Wojcik and other city councilors: Why would Minnesota Legislature preempt local control?
- Answer Man: What if I don't want to vote?
- Letter by Marc Sampson: Ranked Choice Voting will end the duopoly
- Letter by Steve Monk: Ranked Choice Voting will provide better election outcomes
- Letter by MIchael Smerconish: Don't blame independent candidates for tiling elections
- Rochester Post Bulletin Our View: Ranked Choice Voting deserves further study
- Column by Bill Boyne: Minnesota Ready for Election Reform
- Letter by Anna Froehling: Ranked Choice Voting eliminates need for recounts
Who supports Ranked Choice Voting?
(Note, this is a beginning list of supporters and is updated as new individuals indicate their support.)
- Kim Norton
- Regina Mustafa
- Mike Walters
- Rep. Tina Liebling
- City Council member Michael Wojcik
Organizations & Businesses:
- League of Women Voters Minnesota
- Minnesota DFL, Independence, Libertarian, and Green Parties
- Star Tribune
- Sierra Club
- Allie and Andrew Good
- Rick Morris
- Gael Entrickin
- Darlene Coffman
- Che Moises Lopez
- Steve Monk
- Ray Schmidt