Council backs Instant Runoff Voting measures

The City Council gave the go ahead today to Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) in all city elections. It is unclear when the process would first be used, however, because specialized equipment would be needed.

The next city election is 2009. However, it is not clear whether the equipment, extensive certification process will be shored up in time for the next election, according to a prepared city statement.

Council Member Elizabeth Glidden (8th Ward) called the passage of IRV “momentous,” giving credit to work done statewide and at the city’s election department. Glidden also noted the “awful lot” of sacrifices by staff in the elections and clerks’ office.

The amendment to the city charter passed 9-4.

Council Members Lisa Goodman (7th Ward); Diane Hofstede (3rd Ward); Sandra Colvin Roy (12th Ward) and Council President Barbara Johnson (4th Ward) voted against the amendment.

The complex ranked choice, or IRV process, works somewhat like this: Voters rank their top three candidates. Ballots are counted. Those for whom it is mathematically impossible to win are eliminated. Once out of contention, their ranking is the added to the next most popular candidate until one candidate receives a majority.

Minneapolis voters passed a charter amendment in November 2006 allowing runoff voting.