Minneapolis instant runoff voting OK, says Minn. Supreme Court


The Minnesota Supreme Court says Minneapolis's plan to change to an instant runoff voting system is OK in a ruling today.

A group tried to challenge the IRV voting, claiming it was unconstitutional because it violates the one person, one vote principle. Minneapolis voters approved IRV in 2006.

IRV allows the voter to rank their choices rather than pick a single candidate.

Politics in Minnesota calls this a big win for third-party candidates. By ranking candidates, voters might feel more comfortable picking a riskier candidate because they can also put down a second choice that would be more mainstream and safe.

Here is an explanation of the method:

If no candidate is the first preference of a majority of voters, the candidate with the fewest number of first preference rankings is eliminated and that candidate's ballots are redistributed at full value to the remaining candidates according to the next ranking on each ballot. This process is repeated until one candidate obtains a majority of votes among candidates not eliminated.
The new IRV system only applies to Minneapolis city office races. St. Paul also got enough signatures to put IRV to a vote, but the City Council said they would wait until the Supreme Court decision to consider the change.