St. Paul is closer to spelling out how its new voting system for mayoral and City Council races will work.
A proposed ordinance that sets out the rules of ranked-choice voting has been tinkered with significantly, but nobody spoke against the most recent version during a final City Council public hearing Wednesday.
Proponents stressed the importance of finalizing the wording so that voter education campaigns can begin. Some also mentioned the importance of how the ballot is designed.
"We stand ready to help," said Ellen Brown, a board member of FairVote Minnesota, which supports ranked-choice voting and helped get it adopted in St. Paul.
Council Member Russ Stark sponsored the ordinance and expects it to be approved within a couple of weeks.
Once it is, voter education will begin.
Ramsey County elections manager Joe Mansky said his office won't promote the voting system but will explain how it works. That will probably involve an official mailing to all city households, giving election judges extra training and posting documents and videos on the county's website.
FairVote and other groups will do their own education campaigns.
Under the system, voters rank candidates in order of preference. If a candidate gets a majority of first-place votes -- 50 percent plus one vote, minimum -- in the first round, he or she wins. If nobody gets a majority, the "instant runoffs" begin. The candidate with the fewest votes is dropped, but the second-choice votes on those ballots are redistributed. The process repeats until someone gains a majority.
St. Paul voters approved the voting method in 2009, the same year Minneapolis held its first ranked-choice voting election. In St. Paul, the voting method applies only to mayoral and City Council races, not school board or County Board elections.
Chris Havens • 612-673-4148