Ranked-choice voting details

Ranked-choice voting lets voters rank multiple candidates in order of preference. Minneapolis uses ranked-choice voting in municipal elections.

How ranked-choice voting works

Ranked-choice voting (RCV):

  • Allows voters to rank multiple candidates in order of preference.
  • Combines the primary and the general election into one event.

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Frequently asked questions

How do Minneapolis voters use ranked-choice voting?
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Can I give multiple candidates the same ranking?
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How we count ranked-choice ballots

On Election Night, we use ballot counting machines to provide first-round results. We count every first-choice selection.

  • We declare a winner in races where a candidate has enough first-choice votes to win.
  • In some races, we may not be able to declare winners solely on the first-choice rankings. We then go to round-by-round ranked-choice voting tabulation. This begins the day after the election.

For single seat offices (Mayor, City Council, and Park & Recreation Board districts)

  1. We eliminate candidates with no mathematical possibility of winning. This includes the candidate with the lowest number of first-choice votes. 
  2. We transfer votes from those candidates to the next ranked candidate on those ballots. Votes are re-tallied.
  3. If no candidate reaches the threshold for election, we repeat this process until either:
    • A candidate reaches the required threshold and wins, or
    • Only two candidates remain and the candidate with the most votes wins

For multiple seat offices (Board of Estimate & Taxation and Park & Recreation Board At-Large)

  1. We eliminate candidates with no mathematical possibility of winning.
  2. We transfer votes from those candidates to the next ranked candidate on those ballots.
  3. A candidate reaches the required threshold and wins. We distribute that candidate’s surplus votes proportionately to the next ranked candidates on the ballots of the elected candidate.
  4. The process of eliminating and electing candidates continues until we have elected the required number of candidates.

Results are unofficial until certified by the Minneapolis City Council as the Canvassing Board.

Votes needed to win

The number of seats in a race determines the threshold of votes needed to win.

Number of SeatsOfficeVotes Needed
1 seat Mayor, City Council Member,
Park Board District Commissioner
50% plus one
2 seats At-Large Board of Estimate and Taxation 33⅓% plus one
3 seats At-Large Park Board Commissioners 25% plus one

Here is the formula that decides the thresholds:

Number of ballots cast for office + 1 = Threshold
Number of seats + 1

The threshold is rounded down to a whole number.

In some cases, no candidate receives the required threshold after the counting process is complete. When this happens, the top vote-getter (or vote-getters in races with multiple seats) wins.

Contact us

Elections & Voter Services

Phone

311 or 612-673-3000

TTY

TTY: 612-673-2157

Fax

612-673-2756

Address

Elections & Voter Services
980 Hennepin Ave. E.
Minneapolis, MN 55414

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Hours

Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.