Ranked choice voting in Minneapolis

Learn more about how ranked choice voting works.

The 2021 Municipal Election will use ranked choice voting

We use ranked choice voting (RCV) for Minneapolis offices only.

  • Mayor
  • City Council
  • Board of Estimate and Taxation
  • Park and Recreation Board 

We do not use RCV in elections for the school board or for county, state, or federal offices.

How ranked choice voting works

You rank up to three candidates in order of your preference.

  • Each ballot will have three repeating columns listing all candidates.
  • You will complete your ballot from left to right for each race:
    • Mark your first choice in the first column 
    • Mark your second in the second column
    • Mark your third choice in the third column

Watch the video in other languages:

How we count ranked choice ballots

Elections staff at a computer tabulating votes

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 based 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.

Common questions about ranked choice voting

Learn more about how to complete a ranked choice voting ballot.

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.