Ranked Choice Voting FAQs

What is Ranked Choice Voting?

Sometimes referred to as “instant runoff voting” or “preferential voting,” Ranked Choice Voting is a process that allows voters to rank their choices for each office. 

First choice votes are counted. If no candidate has a majority of the votes (more than 50%), the candidate with the least number of first-choice votes is eliminated. Voters who picked the eliminated candidate as their first choice have their second-choice vote counted instead. This process repeats until one candidate has a majority.

What is included in the proposed ordinance?

The proposed ordinance includes the following components:

  • Section 1 eliminates the provision of the City Charter that provides for a primary election for municipal offices.
  • Section 2 adjusts the time period that candidates must file for office to be a set number of days before the general election rather than before a primary election. This filing timeline is set in state law.
  • Section 3 provides for the use of Ranked Choice Voting as the means of selecting candidates for office and requires the City Council to adopt further rules and regulations for the administration of Ranked Choice Voting via ordinance.
  • Section 4 states that this ordinance shall take effect 30 days after the November 2020 general election, only if 51% of the votes cast are in favor of the above Charter amendment.

Read the proposed ordinance.

When will the City Council consider this ordinance?

The Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance at its May 18 City Council meeting which begins at 7 p.m. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected that this meeting will be conducted electronically. Information about how to provide testimony or watch the meeting is available on the meeting's calendar entry.

If the City Council adopts this ordinance at their May 18 meeting, does that mean the City of Bloomington is moving to Ranked Choice Voting?

No. The proposed ordinance does not adopt Ranked Choice Voting. Rather, it calls for the issue of Ranked Choice Voting to be put before the voters as a ballot question at the November 3, 2020 general election. 

But before it would go on the ballot, it must first be considered by the City’s Charter Commission. If the ordinance is adopted by the Council on May 18, a public meeting of the Charter Commission will be held June 11 to consider the Council’s ordinance. Notice of Charter Commission meetings and agendas is published at City Hall and on the City’s website.

When would Ranked Choice Voting be used?

If approved by the City Council and Charter Commission, the issue of Ranked Choice Voting would go to the voters at the November 3, 2020 general election. If the ballot question is approved by voters, Ranked Choice Voting would first be used for the November 2021 municipal election.

Any switch to Ranked Choice Voting would be for municipal elections only. Ranked choice voting cannot be used for federal, state, county or school board elections.

Please Note: If there is a ballot question on Ranked Choice Voting presented to the voters at the November 2020 general election, additional information and educational materials about Ranked Choice Voting will be provided on this page.