Ranked  Choice Voting

      in Bloomington

2024 REPEAL Ranked Choice Voting Petition

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In 2020 the City Council, under cover of COVID and emergency lock downs and opposition from the Charter Commission,  passed a Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) ballot question to  use as our municipal election process. with the help of a large well-funded ally, FairvoteMN.  

Over $200,000 in funds were spent by the local RCV Bloomington (subset of FairvoteMN) who had been working with the council for 2.5 years pushed RCV hard for the 2020 Election.

A handful of residents worked to oppose changing our election system  will only $7000 and only lost by the necessary 97 votes to defeat it.


Now, 4 years and two RCV elections later, we are once again trying "Save OUR Democracy" by overturning this mess of an election procedure and replace it will our original tried and true Primary/General Election tradition.

To volunteer to help  make this a reality, click here,

A cop y of the Petition can be viewed here.          A copy of the proposed language to replace the confusing RCV procedure can be viewed here.


Announced here

Text 952-454-3284  if you wish to sign on a drop in basis.

Extra Petitions will be available.

What You Need to Know   

  • RCV is unnecessarily complicated and confusing, and can typically result in an average of 10-20% of ballots being spoiled and thrown out when voter intent rules do not exist and depending on the number of rounds.  Review Bloomington's RCV instructions in Article III and see if you can figure it out.
  • RCV is not fair because some voters have multiple choices counted and some voter’s ballots do not count in all rounds of ranking. One person, One vote
  • RCV is funded by big money special interest groups outside Bloomington to push an agenda supporting universal voter registration and vote by mail. In 2022, FairvoteMN spent over $200,000 to promote RCV while opposition spend $7000.  The ordinance passed by 96 votes.
  • Turnout does not always improve.  A comparison in Bloomington from the Secretary of State's website shows that RCV election turnout in 2021 was lower than the 2019 regular election - 15,504 voters (2021) to 17,859 voters (2019).  The actual registered voters were up in 2021 - 59,152 to 56,950 in 2019 which further emphasizes that difference in turnout.  In the 2023 election, turn out was 20,408 however, there were three highly controversial ballot questions that may have increased the interest in voting.  Still only 35.91% of all Registered Voters is disappointing.
Jeanne Massey, Fairvote MN was directly involved in Bloomington RCV

What is Ranked Choice Voting?

Ranked Choice Voting is a change from the traditional Primary/General system of voting where you are asked to "rank" candidates for each  "round" of voting instead of just one candidate.  If no candidate wins in the first round by 50 +1%, tabulation of the first round determines the lowest ranking candidate(s), eliminates them and recalculates the eliminated ballots' 2nd place choices to the remaining candidates for round 2 and so forth until a candidate wins with "a majority" in the final round. (Refer to video below)

Ranked Choice Voting voting is promoted by an organization called FairVote which has branches in many states. In Minnesota, FairVote Minnesota establishes itself in municipalities by lobbying the city governments to establish a city chapter. In Bloomington's case it is RCVBloomington.  The disclaimer on the rcvbloomington webpage states: "Ranked Choice Voting Bloomington is a project of FairVote Minnesota."

How Do I Vote With Ranked Choice Voting?

Rank candidates in order of your preference. If Candidate 3 collects 50+1% of the votes cast in the first round, the election is over and Candidate 3 wins the race.  If there is no 50 + 1% winner in the first round, the candidate with the least amount of votes is eliminated . The second place choices of the eliminated candidate are then redistributed in round two and added to the remaining round one results and so on through each round.

Does Ranked Choice Voting It Work?

This is a general explanation of how the Ranked Choice Voting scheme works. This will show you how a 3rd place candidate can win elections. Not the initial 1st choice, not the initial 2nd choice, but the initial 3rd choice. 3rd place in the initial round does not prove the winner is supported by a greater majority of the voters before the recalculation rounds and exhausted ballots.

UMD Math Professor, Eric Erdmann helped Duluth realize that Ranked Choice Voting might not work to the voter's true intentions.

         ""The algorithm can find a winner that does not have the most broadest support in the election and the algorithm can actually cause you to help your least favorite candidate to win by giving first place support to your favorite candidate."1

Why Ranked Choice Voting does not work for Bloomington Residents

Ranked Choice Voting is complicated and confusing:

A ballot is straightforward and easy when voting for one candidate.  When asked to choose multiple candidates for the same office by preference, there is often confusion which leads to more votes being cast aside and not counted.  In fact, your vote make be thrown out if you don't rank candidates in all the rounds.  That means you are not voting your true preference but forced to rank those you may not agree with.

In the ballot illustration above, let's say that your first choice (Candidate 3) got the least amount of votes. (You actually chose the loser). Your ballot will be recounted a second time distributing your second choice (Candidate 5) to Candidate 5's 1st round votes and the votes are retallied for round two among the remaining 4 candidates. Let's also say that in round 2, your 2nd place choice, Candidate 5, had the fewest votes in round 2, no one has yet reached the 50 +1%  and Candidate 5 is eliminated.  Your vote will again get redistributed into round three with your vote being added to your third choice, Candidate 1 in Round 3 tallies. 

RCV is not fair:

When you vote you normally have one choice?  As do all your neighbors.  A choice is a vote.  Doesn't it make sense that If you get more choices you get more votes?  Let's see how that works out.

If your ballot consistently ranks the least favorite candidate in each round, your vote gets redistributed over and over again.  You had multiple choices (votes counted) whereas any one who chose any of the Candidates in round 1 who stayed in the race to round 2, counted only one vote for the whole election.  Voters are also disenfranchised because ballots that do not include the two finalists are exhausted (not counted) diluting the true majority of Bloomington voter preference.  How is any of this fair?  

In Bloomington: For the 2020 at-large race, anyone who chose either Coulter or King for their 1st Choice in round 1were credited with only one vote in the election.  Those who ranked the eliminated candidate, Oliva for their 1st choice in round 1, got a second choice/vote in round 2.  If anyone chose Oliva in the 1st round and either no 2nd choice or Oliva again in the 2nd round, their vote was thrown out.  How is it fair the King voter and the Coulter voter gets only one vote and the Oliva voter gets two votes in the race?  The weights of the votes are unequal.   Make is simple:  One person one vote.

Bloomington Residents get disconnected from the Issues:

Voters under RCV are now more distracted and concerned with the "tactics" of their vote than the issues the candidates represent. While candidates are forced to attempt to form coalitions to win, coalitions, like anything can be distracting for both the candidate and the voter.  They may be dominated by one powerful organization and not the candidate's independence.  The candidates may be coerced to change their true ability to focus on the voter's benefit.  Coalitions can also become very bureaucratic and stymy the progress of a common goal.  

How can I get involved in Bloomington?

Our Bloomington Charter Commission twice advised the City Council in June 2020 to NOT proceed with putting a new confusing way of voting on the ballot as a referendum, especially during the peak of COVID lock downs. In typical city disregard for its residents, they Ranked Choice Voting on the ballot anyway in the fall of 2020.   Contact us by email or form to let us know you are interested in returning to Keeping Voting Simple and holding the City accountable.  

What were the results of the 2021 RCV election in Bloomington?

There were 3 city races in 2021 that were elected by Ranked Choice Voting.  In 2019, Bloomington had municipal elections using the simple primary system.  Did more people turn out to vote in our first RCV election compared to 2019?  Answer is no.  2019 under the Primary/General system 17,859 out of 56,950 registered voted.  In 2021, under RCV, only 15,504 voters came to the polls out of 59,152 registered voters. 

                *The more rounds to an eventual winner (Bloomington can go with up to 6) the higher the exhausted ballots that do not count in the end.
                 **The greater the number of exhausted ballots, the lower the threshold to a majority winner (diluted majority when considering all voters).

What do others have to say about Ranked Choice Voting?


          The late Walter Mondale, a former U.S. senator and vice president, was opposed to RCV. 

          “Voting in America should be plain and simple. Ranked-choice voting is neither. It is confusing and complex. Ranked-choice voting will not bring us more democracy. It favors elites who know                       how to work the new and complex system.” 2


          Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito put out a statement to voters before Massachusetts defeated RCV statewide in 2020.  

          “At a time when we need to be promoting turnout and making it easier for voters to cast their ballots, we worry that question two will add an additional layer of complication for both voters                        and election officials, while potentially delaying results and increasing the cost of elections." 3


         Jason McDaniel, who is an associate professor in the political science department at San Francisco State University doesn't believe Ranked Choice Voting is the great solution:

        “The Democratic Party position now is that we need to remove barriers to voting, and I think ranked-choice voting is counter to that. My research shows that when you make things more                               complicated, which this does, there’s going be lower turnout.” 4

New York 

         Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Queens), and co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus was one of several candidates filing a lawsuit against RCV for the Mayor's race in 2020.

        "Now that our black and brown communities have found electoral success, the powerful special interests want to change the rules on us." 5


        A former state lawmaker and Burlington City Council Member expressed his concerns about re-establishing RCV for city council races.  RCV was implemented from 2005-2010 and                        was repealed due to performance issues:

        “They sold it to voters, when it passed back in 2005, that this was an exciting new system which would increase voter turnout and do away with negative campaigning, and all these things. And                  none of it really came to pass. It didn’t increase voter turnout, it didn’t do away with negative campaigning. It did create campaigns which were sorta vanilla, homogenous kind of                                   campaigns.” 6

Sandy City, Utah

      In a city wide Survey about the 2021 Ranked Choice Voting Elections, all respondents who did vote in the election answered the following:

              How much did you like or dislike using a Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) ballot? 

                               47% - Dislike a great deal, 11% - Dislike Somewhat, 4% - Neither Dislike or Like, 7% - Like somewhat, 30% - Like a great deal.

             Do you think Ranked Choice Voting should be used in future Sandy City Municipal elections?

                               60% - NO         40% - YES   7

         What happened in the 2021 RCV election?   After several rounds, 4000+ votes were tossed out and the margin on the win was 16 votes!  How would the 4000+ votes have made a                          difference?  They will never know.  

Want to Learn More?



  1. Group Launches Opposition Campaign to Ranked Choice Voting Referendum  October 12, 2015 https://www.wdio.com/article/s...
  2. Ranked-choice voting may be coming to your city: are you ready?   June 26. 2021  https://alphanews.org/commenta...
  3. Baker Opposes Ranked Choice Voting in Mass.  Mike Deehan   October 27,2020   https://www.wgbh.org/news/poli...
  4. https://rankedchoicechronicle....
  5. https://www.facebook.com/NoRan...
  6. Former Lawmaker and city councilor: Ranked Choice Voting created 'homogenous campaigns' http://www.truenorthreports.co...
  7. Sandy UT 2021 Rank Choice Voting Survey full Report