Duluth Budgeteer News
may consider instant runoff voting
By Pat Faherty
November 13, 2002
Instant runoff voting for the mayoral race
could become a city legislative priority.
With the dust just
settling from the Nov. 5 general election, the buzz is growing
louder about next year's race for the city's top spot. Mayor Gary
Doty has already announced he will not seek another term.
President Donny Ness raised the issue Tuesday evening, during a
council committee discussion on legislative priorities.
there could be eight or nine legitimate candidates in the mayor's
race, and Councilor Russell Stover said it could be more like 10 or
Under the current system, the top vote getters in the primary
move on to the general election. As a result, Ness said someone get
on that ballot with only 15 percent of voter support.
instant runoff voting (IRV) ensures that the winning candidate will
have majority support. It works on the principle that any vote cast
that does not help elect a voter's preferred candidate should be
able to help elect that voter's next choice.
The system allows
voters to rank candidates as their first and second and possibly
third choice. If there is no majority winner the first count, runoff
counts are held as the least favored candidates are eliminated.
process continues until one candidate receives 50 percent of the
vote or only one candidate remains.
"It's something I am interested
in exploring," said Ness. "It's something I'd like to see the city
He said it might be a city legislative priority and asked
Kevin Walli, the city's lobbyist to look into what it would take to
get the process going at the state level.
Walli said he would take
it to Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer first.
IRV has caught on in
various areas around the country. San Francisco has adopted it for
city races and Oakland, Calif., will use IRV for special mayor
elections. It has become popular in Vermont and there is a movement
to amend the city charter to use IRV in Minneapolis elections.
Backers say it draws more voters and saves money, while opponents
have argued the tabulation process is complicated.
Duluth mayor's race opens in July.