Ranked Choice Voting
Bloomington voters will use ranked choice voting in the November 7, 2023 election. Voters will have the following races on their ballots:
- City Councilmember At-Large
- City Councilmember At-Large (special election, two-year term)
- District Council Members (1-4)
Ranked choice voting (RCV) allows you to rank multiple candidates in order of preference. This voting method combines the primary and general election into one event. Simply put, you have the chance to say, “If my first choice candidate is not elected, this is my second choice (or third choice) for who I would like to see elected.”
For ranked choice contests, everyone’s first choice is counted. If a candidate receives a majority (50%+1) of first-choice votes, that candidate wins. If no candidate receives a majority, the last-place candidate is eliminated, and voters who selected that candidate have their votes counted for their next choice. This cycle repeats until there is a majority winner.
Ranked choice voting will be used to elect the offices of mayor and council members. Under current state law, ranked choice voting cannot be used to elect any federal, state, county or school district offices.
The city races on the ballot will have up to three columns for each office, listing every candidate. You will complete the ballot from left to right and top to bottom, indicating your first choice for each race by filling in the oval next to the candidate’s name in the first-choice column. If you wish to rank second or third choices, you will select them in the corresponding columns on the ballot. Visit www.mnvotes.gov to view your sample ballot.
You will be allowed to rank up to three candidates in each race. The number of rankings on the ballot equals the number of candidates that have filed for office, with a maximum number of three rankings allowed.
No. You may rank as many candidates as you like up to a maximum of three candidates. If you do not want to rank some candidates, leave those rankings blank.
Yes. You are not required to rank your choices and can choose to vote for only one candidate. You are allowed to rank up to three choices per office.
Yes. However, votes will count one time for that candidate. Ranking the same candidate for all three choices will not increase their chance of winning. It’s generally considered the same as voting for that candidate as your first choice and leaving the rest of the rankings blank.
No. Election officials only use your second or third candidate rankings if your first choice has already been eliminated due to an insufficient number of votes.
No. If you give multiple candidates the same ranking, this is called an “over-vote”.
No. This is an overvote, and the first-choice vote will not be counted. If this happens, you can discard your ballot and receive a new ballot to correct the error.
No. Each voter only gets one vote counted. If a winner can be declared after all first-choice votes are counted, the second through third choice votes are never counted. If a candidate is eliminated, all votes for that candidate are transferred to the next highest candidate chosen on those ballots.
No. The number of rankings will be equal to the number of candidates running for the office, up to a maximum of three rankings.
The ballot counter will alert you if you overvote in a race or submit a completely blank ballot. You may choose if you would like to cast your ballot as marked or discard your ballot and receive a new one to fix any mistakes. The ballot counter will not alert you if you skip rankings or vote for the same candidate at multiple rankings.
If no candidate receives more than 50% of first-choice votes, the last-place candidate is eliminated. If your first choice is eliminated, your next choice will be counted, and so on. The process of elimination continues until there is a winner.
As in all other elections, city staff work with county and state officials to ensure accurate and secure counting procedures. The city is subject to all election laws related to equipment testing, tabulation and post-election review.
In many ways, voting will be the same as other elections. You will use a paper ballot, fill in ovals next to your choices and place the ballot into a machine to be counted. The main differences in a ranked-choice election are the elimination of the primary election in August, and the ballot layout looks different to allow for up to three rankings per race.
After polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day, all first-choice votes will be reported on www.mnvotes.gov. If a candidate received a majority of first-choice votes, then that candidate is elected and no additional tabulation is required. Races in which a candidate does not receive a majority of first-choice votes require additional rounds of counting. Those counting rounds begin the Thursday after Election Day. Results are reported on blm.mn/vote. All results are unofficial until certified by the Canvassing Board.
In the 2020 General Election, Bloomington voters approved adopting ranked choice voting to elect the Mayor and City Council members. The vote was 51.2% voting YES and 48.8% voting NO.
On April 26, 2021, the City Council passed an ordinance to approve ranked choice voting in the City of Bloomington. The 2023 election will be the second time ranked choice voting will be used in Bloomington.