St. Paul City Council members held a workshop Wednesday morning to discuss the ranked-choice voting process that will be used in this year's City Council elections
The council must approve an ordinance spelling out the details of the plan. Member Russ Stark has submitted a proposal, but on Wednesday council members heard recommendations from Ramsey County elections manager Joe Mansky, whose office manages the election process for the city.
Issues from definitions to counting processes to ballot design were discussed, but the key provision advocated by Mansky would limit the number of ranking options to six candidates per race.
There had been some debate over how many choices to allow voters, but on Wednesday council members seemed to agree that six was reasonable.
In a ranked-choice election, voters rank the candidates in order of preference. If a candidate garners more than 50 percent of the first-place votes cast, he or she wins. If not, then the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated. The second-place votes on that candidate's ballots are redistributed to the remaining candidates. The process is repeated until one candidate has a majority of first-place votes.
Mansky told council members the first round of counting would be done by machine and any necessary runoffs would be counted by hand. He said in many cases there wouldn't be runoffs.
Stark said he would make some changes to his proposed ordinance and present it at the next council meeting. A public hearing on the amended proposal will likely be held Jan. 19.
The new voting method applies only to city races, not to school board or county elections.
Chris Havens • 612-673-4148