In Practice: Minneapolis, MN

The multi-winner RCV page of "How it Works" provides a basic understanding of how votes are counted and how multiple candidates are elected at once using ranked choice voting. The reality is that while this page gives a good overview, the counting procedure is a little more complicated, and can be done in a few different ways. This page gives a more in-depth explanation of how votes are tabulated in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


The threshold, or "quota," of votes a candidate needs to be elected in a race is determined based on the number of seats to be filled in that race. This is determined by dividing the total number of valid ballots cast by the number of positions to be elected plus one, and then adding one to the result.


In Minneapolis, the Board of Estimate and Taxation At-Large (two seats), and the Park and Recreation Board At-Large (three seats) are elected with multi-winner ranked choice voting. That means that the following seats have the following thresholds:


This means if 24,000 valid votes are cast for the Board of Estimate, the threshold will be 8,001. If 24,000 valid votes are cast for the Park and Recreation Board, the threshold will be 6,001. 

Electing Candidates

Candidates with no mathematical possibility of winning are defeated, and votes from those candidates are counted for the next ranked candidate on those ballots. When a candidate reaches the required threshold and is declared elected, that candidate’s surplus votes over the threshold are distributed proportionately to the next ranked candidates on the ballots of the elected candidate. The process of defeating and electing candidates continues until the required number of candidates is elected.

Watch the video below which describes how surplus votes are distributed proportionately to the next ranked candidates on voters' ballots.

Watch: Ranked Choice Voting in Minneapolis Explained With Post-It Notes