Release: For the Third Straight Time, RCV’s a Triumph in St. Paul

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 4, 2015

Contact: Jeanne Massey, FairVote Minnesota Executive Director, 612-850-6897 

For the Third Straight Time, RCV’s a Triumph in St. Paul

ST. PAUL—An unprecedented direct voter outreach effort – in a city that’s already shown its comfort with and affinity for ranking the ballot in multicandidate races – helped make Tuesday’s city council election in St. Paul an overwhelming success for Ranked Choice Voting.

“We had over 6,000 conversations with voters on RCV, we provided tools for candidates about effective campaigning under RCV, and we worked with MN Voices to help boost participation in historically lower-turnout areas,” said St. Paul campaign manager Erik Anderson. “And it worked. St. Paul has fully embraced Ranked Choice Voting, and we’re seeing more civil, substantive, broadly engaging political contests as a result.”

FairVote Minnesota congratulates all the candidates who put forward their vision for a better St. Paul. In all but one race – Ward 2 – winners emerged with a majority of votes.

In Ward 2, no candidate reached the winning threshold, and Ramsey County Elections will begin the reallocation process to determine the winner on Monday, Nov. 9. This is the same procedure and schedule used in 2011 and 2013 for races that required additional rounds of counting. In future elections, we expect the county’s newly purchased machines will provide faster tabulation and results.

Voters in Ward 2 reported appreciating the range of choices – and the notably civil tone of the campaigns. “Disappointingly, some independent expenditure groups haven’t yet learned how negative campaigning can backfire under RCV,” said Ellen Brown, chair of the former St. Paul Better Ballot Campaign. “But it’s wonderful to see candidates distance themselves from any attacks and stay focused on substantive issues. I heard a lot of voters find this aspect of RCV particularly refreshing.” As anticipated, they made extensive and efficient use of their rankings. And they turned out in even greater numbers than in the previous competitive ward election four years ago: 5,734 votes were cast in Ward 2 for city council, vs. 5,361 in 2011.

FairVote Minnesota’s St. Paul staff and volunteer team is proud to have partnered with county elections officials, with staff and election judges, with MN Voices and with numerous civic and community organizations to make Election Day a smooth and positive experience for all St. Paul voters. Together we’ve shown once again that RCV is a smarter, more inclusive, more representative way to elect local leaders.