Minneapolis election results will take weeks to countby Curtis Gilbert, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minneapolis officials say it will take about eight weeks to count all the ballots in this year's city elections, because of the new instant runoff voting system.
But interim elections director Pat O'Connor says that's a lot quicker than the predictions that came out of a test election conducted earlier this year.
"We extrapolated the time it took to count the test election, and the results were unacceptable. It would have meant the results wouldn't have been known for quite some time, well in to 2010," said O'Connor.
Minneapolis hired a consultant to devise a better counting system and got permission from the city attorney to use a computer spreadsheet to calculate the results.
Election judges still have to count all the ballots by hand, because there are no machines certified under state law that can count instant runoff voting ballots.
Across the river in St. Paul, voters will decide this November whether to adopt IRV, which allows voters to rank up to three candidates for each office on the ballot.