Contact: Casper Hill, 612-673-2342
Oct. 13, 2017
Covering elections in Minneapolis
What media should expect as Minneapolis conducts its second ranked-choice voting election
The City of Minneapolis wants to help you cover the General Election on Tuesday, November 7 and the results tabulation process that will follow as part of the city’s third ranked-choice voting election.
There are a few things media needs to know to make things go smoothly on Election Day and beyond.
Going to the polls
Minnesota state rules make it easy for news crews to get access to polling places. You do not need prior approval to visit a polling place, but we can help you find just the right one for you to cover. For help finding a polling place to visit, contact Casper Hill at 612-673-2342.
State election laws govern conduct in polling places. Many of these guidelines are State law:
- When you arrive at a polling place, present your photo ID and media credentials to the election chair judge.
- Don’t interfere with the voting process or slow down the voting process.
- Ask for permission before you photograph anyone.
- Stay at least six feet away from voters, voting stations, and ballot counters.
- Do not photograph a completed (voted) ballot.
- Interviews with voters or judges must be conducted at least 100 feet away from the building where voting is occurring.
Getting election results
The City will tabulate the election results as quickly as possible. However, because ranked-choice voting requires a special tabulation process, some race results will not be known on election night. In races where there is no winner in the first round of counting, those results will be tabulated in the days following the election.
As each round of counting in each race is completed, those results will be posted in several places:
- On the City’s elections website at vote.minneapolismn.gov
- Minneapolis Elections and Voter Services Facebook: www.facebook.com/votempls
- Minneapolis Elections and Voter Services Twitter: www.twitter.com/votempls
Although it is not possible to know exactly how long the tabulation will take for the races that do not have winners on election night, elections officials plan to complete tabulation and declare a winner in the mayor’s race as soon as possible.
Here’s how results tabulation will happen on election night and the following days:
- Election night: After the polls close at 8 p.m., ballot counters will be used in each precinct to obtain first-round results. On election night, the best place to get initial results will be the City’s elections website, where totals of first-, second-, and third-choice votes for each candidate will be posted and updated. The first-choice rankings are the unverified first-round results from election night. Because of the way ranked-choice voting works, it is not possible to simply add up numbers in the columns to get final results.
If a candidate in a race receives enough first-choice votes to be elected, that candidate will be declared the unofficial winner on election night (note that as usual, all results are unofficial until they’re certified by the City Council, which happens several days after the election).
For example, in the race for mayor, elections officials will look at the total number of ballots cast. If the first-choice vote total for any one mayoral candidate is more than 50 percent plus one of the ballots cast, that candidate will be declared the unofficial winner. City Council races also require more than half the votes in order to win the race. In multi-seat races like Park Board at-large and Board of Estimate and Taxation at-large, more than one person is elected to the office, so the threshold of votes needed to be elected is lower.
If no candidate in a particular race receives enough first-choice votes to be declared the winner on election night, those results will be tabulated using the ranked-choice voting process beginning the day after the election, Nov. 8.
The City’s elections website, vote.minneapolismn.gov, will be the source for definitive election night results. As complete results come in that evening, first-choice vote tallies for each race will be posted in these places along with the determination of whether an unofficial winner can be declared or if additional rounds of tabulation will need to occur.
- Wednesday, Nov. 8 and beyond: The morning of Nov. 8, elections officials will prepare the results data for tabulation, which will begin that afternoon.
To complete the tabulation, two teams of two elections staffers each will work independently to process the results data and determine winners (to learn more about how ranked-choice voting is counted, watch this video. The two independent teams will do regular checks with each other to ensure that the tabulation results are consistent and accurate.
Ranked-choice voting tabulation processes ballots through a series of rounds, in which the lowest ranked candidate or candidates are eliminated, and their votes are redistributed to the next-ranked candidate on those ballots. As each round of counting is completed in each race, those results will be posted on the City’s elections website at vote.minneapolismn.gov.
Races will be tabulated one at a time, in the order in which the offices are listed on the ballot. A random order has been created to handle City Council wards and Park and Recreation Board districts.
For races in which there is no election night winner, here is the order in which the tabulation will be done, starting Nov. 6:
- City Council (wards in this order: 3, 9, 5, 10, 11, 4, 2, 7, 8, 1, 6, 13, 12)
- Board of Estimate and Taxation
- Park and Recreation Board at-large
- Park and Recreation Board (districts in this order: 6, 3, 5, 2, 1, 4)
Published Oct 13, 2017