Ranked choice voting history

We describe the history of ranked choice voting in Minneapolis.

Ranked choice voting will be used in the 2021 Municipal Election

We became one of the largest jurisdictions to adopt ranked choice voting (RCV) in 2006.

Since then, we've used RCV in the Municipal Election of 2009, 2013, and 2017. Each of the 22 offices currently on the Minneapolis Municipal Ballot are voted on using RCV.


In November 2006, Minneapolis voters approved a change from traditional balloting to instant runoff (later called ranked choice voting) for municipal elections. 

The first Minneapolis municipal election using ranked choice voting was on November 6, 2009.

Nov. 2009 - Present

Ranked choice voting used in all municipal elections

Since the first Minneapolis ranked choice voting election in November 2009, we've used the voting method in three additional municipal elections:

November 2009

Ranked choice voting used for the first time in Minneapolis

The 2009 Municipal Election on November 6 was the first time ranked choice voting was used in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Election law requires both federal and state certification of all electronic voting systems. Because Minneapolis did not have certified equipment to conduct a ranked choice voting election, City elections staff had to hand count the election.

August 2009

The City redesigned the hand-count process

A one-week session developed the Minneapolis Method of hand counting ballots at the precinct level. Using the Minneapolis Method, hand counting a 70,000 voter turnout for 22 offices would take 37 eight-hour shifts with 102 election judges serving as counters and data entry staff. This new method would assure seating elected candidates on time.

As part of the one-week session, the City:

  • Created a ranked choice voting training plan for election judges. 
  • Hired an organization to conduct a impartial survey of voters, candidates, and election workers about implementation.
  • Recruited a historian to document the implementation.


June 2009

The City Council confirmed the ranked choice voting schedule

Feedback from the May 2009 test election and other community feedback led to an improved ballot design.

May 2009

Conducted a ranked choice voting test election

The test election would help inform how to:

  • Develop the first-draft ballot design.
  • Work with different draft versions of materials for election workers in polling places.
  • Start voter outreach efforts. They invited various groups to try ranked choice voting and share their feedback on the experience and the ballot.
  • Develop the method for hand counting the single and multiple seat offices to determine the winners. 
Jan. 2007 - May 2009

Planning process for the 2009 Municipal Election

Planning for the 2009 Municipal Election had a two different schedules. This allowed for the possibility that the City Council could postpone ranked choice voting until a future year.

During this two-year planning time, the City:

  • Officially adopted ranked choice voting as the name of the voting method. This change better reflected the process voters use to rank candidates.
  • Reviewed the newly-created ranked choice voting city ordinance for any changes.
  • Determined the best method to count the multiple seat offices to comply with Minnesota law. It was the Weighted Inclusive Gregory Method, which could produce the same election results in a recount.
December 2006

Minnesota Ranked Choice Voting Issues Task Force created

Minneapolis elections staff met with then Secretary of State-elect Mark Ritchie. They asked to create the Minnesota Ranked Choice Voting Issues Task Force.

This task force had an open membership and two subcommittees:

  • Technical Advisory
  • Legislative/Rules
November 2006

Minneapolis voters approved ranked choice voting

Minneapolis voters approved a change from traditional balloting to instant runoff (later called ranked choice voting) for municipal elections.

The 2006 Minneapolis Instant Runoff Voting Task Force helped plan and implement ranked-choice voting.

Minneapolis ranked choice voting ordinance

Read the rules of conduct for municipal elections.

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