Duluth considers instant runoff votingby Bob Kelleher, Minnesota Public Radio
Duluth, Minn. — Duluth officials are considering instant runoff voting in city elections.
Instant runoff voting is intended to combine a primary and general election into a single event. Voters rank candidates based on their preference rather than voting for just one.
Duluth City Council member Dan Hartman said the concept is appealing and said it could work well in elections for a single position, but he sees problems in races that choose more than one candidate like at-large city council seats.
"I think we might have a different outcome in these elections than we currently do, and I think that might scare and confuse the electorate," he said.
Andy Cilek, with the Minnesota Voter's Alliance, said instant runoff voting unfairly gives preference to the party in power.
"It stands to reason that those votes, more often that not, are going to transfer up to guarantee that political majority victory," Cilek said.
Hartman said the council will consider holding a non-binding referendum to see if there's public interest in instant runoff voting. Actually adopting the practice would take additional council action and a unanimous vote of the city's Charter Commission.
Minneapolis and St. Paul have enacted instant runoff voting; only Minneapolis has used it.