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Mayor’s memo: Ranked choice voting debuts in Bloomington

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Bloomington Briefing Published December 1, 2021
Updated on December 1, 2021
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By Mayor Tim Busse

In November, the City held an election for open positions on the City Council and the school board. This was the first time the City used ranked choice voting. None of the City Council candidates received enough first-choice votes to be declared the winner on election night. Ranked choice voting rules state that a candidate is elected on election night if they receive at least 50% +1 of all votes cast. This is called the maximum possible threshold. All votes cast include first-choice votes for a candidate on the ballot, first-choice votes for write-in candidates, over voted first-choice votes and under voted first-choice votes. That meant ranked choice tabulation had to take place at Civic Plaza in the days following Election Day. The public was invited to watch as City staff tabulated votes in real time. By the end of that week, we knew who had been elected to the City Council. Read the cover for more about the candidates elected to Council. 

More than 15,000 Bloomington residents voted in the election. That’s about a 26% turnout, which is below Bloomington’s 92% turnout rate that we saw in the 2020 elections, but is about on par with the voter turnout we typically see in off-year elections. I want to thank everyone who took the time to exercise their civic right to vote. 

I’m particularly grateful to City Clerk Christina Scipioni and all City Clerk staff for establishing ranked choice voting in Bloomington and providing multiple opportunities for residents to learn about the new voting method and how it works. And I want to be sure to specifically thank all of the election judges who worked this Election Day. Year after year, Bloomington election judges do outstanding work. They work long hours. They are patient and knowledgeable, which was especially important this year with the debut of ranked choice voting, and they do it all with a smile. They make democracy work here in Bloomington and their efforts are greatly appreciated. Welcome new and seasoned councilmembers. Let’s work together to make Bloomington better today and tomorrow for all.