New Ranked Choice Voting allows voters to vote for first, second, third choice

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Minneapolis voters will find a new type of ballot at the polls on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3. The ballots allow voters to vote for their first choice, second choice and third choice for city offices.


The change is part of the move to a new system of voting called “Ranked Choice Voting,” approved in a city referendum in 2006 by a wide margin.


While the format of the ballot has changed, voters who might be confused about Ranked Choice Voting shouldn’t let their questions keep them away from the polls.


Voters will be marking a paper ballot with a pen just as before, filling in ovals next to the names of the candidates of their choice.


Candidates for each office will be listed in three columns, clearly labeled at the top of each column, for voters to note a first choice, second choice or third choice.


Be sure you mark your first choice candidate in the first choice column.


On the ballot, you must vote for only one candidate in each column.


You’re not required to vote for a second or third choice. That’s up to you.


Mark those choices in the second choice column or the third choice column.


You cannot, however, vote for a candidate as a first choice and then vote for that same candidate again as your second or third choice.


Second and third choices will come into play in the vote tally only if no candidate in single candidate races receives a majority.


The exception: the race for the three at-large seats on the Minneapolis Park Board. For that race, marking your three choices will be important.


If you have questions on Election Day, the city’s Elections Department is preparing to have plenty of extra election judges on duty.


If you do make a mistake marking your ballot, don’t cross out your marks. (Remember the problem ballots from last year’s U.S. Senate recount!) You have the right to ask for a new ballot and start over.


In other respects, voting procedures have not changed. If you’re already registered to vote, you’re all set. If not, you can still register at the polls on election day with proper identification. You can still vote by absentee ballot, by mail or by voting at city hall.


For questions about voting or to learn where to vote, you can call the city’s Elections Department at 311.


A special city website provides information about Ranked Choice Voting, including sample ballots. To learn more, visit www.VoteMinneapolis.org.