Nov. 10, 2015
Contact: Jeanne Massey, FairVote Minnesota Executive Director, 612-850-6897
Ward 2: Participation Increases, Winner Earns Mandate Under RCV
ST. PAUL—With the vote reallocation for Ward 2’s RCV city council race finished – and the winner, Rebecca Noecker, emerging with 53 percent of votes in the final round after gaining many second- and lower-choice votes – the success of St. Paul’s third Ranked Choice Voting election is now definitive.
Ramsey County Elections officials completed the vote reallocation process in just four hours on Monday. Noecker’s victory comes with a solid mandate, earned through reaching out to other candidates’ backers for a broad base of support.
The reallocation process revealed that some voters did not include either of the two final candidates in their rankings. In this case the ballot was exhausted before the final round. While voters are advised to rank several choices, some only have a single preference and that’s the will of the voter. In the end, a full 72 percent of voters ranked at least two candidates.
Claims that RCV depressed turnout in St. Paul this year are misleading at best; in some cases, frankly disingenuous. In Wards 2 and 5 – both of which had competitive, multicandidate races and where RCV came into play – voter turnout was up. In Ward 2, having six candidates running through Election Day drew more than 300 additional voters to the polls: a 6 percent increase over the last ward election in 2011. (Turnout was up in Ward 4, as well.)
St. Paul voters benefitted from multicandidate races that were lively, inclusive, issue-based, and refreshingly cordial – at least on the part of the candidates, if not some independent expenditure groups that still haven’t fully figured out how attacks backfire under RCV.
Thanks to Ramsey County Elections staff and election judges for excellent administration of RCV and for swift tabulation of Ward 2 results on Monday. "This year was probably the best election in the fourteen years that I've been here," said Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky. "It was the fewest number of issues that came up on Election Day, so we are all really very happy with how things went last Tuesday. We seem to not have any problems administering this system and the voters seem not to have any problems understanding how to use it.”
We look forward to future elections, in which the county’s newly purchased machines should provide faster results.
To view the Ward 2 reallocation spreadsheet, click here. For more information about Ranked Choice Voting in St. Paul, contact FairVote Minnesota Executive Director Jeanne Massey at 612-850-6897.