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News Release: FairVote MN Applauds Results of Minneapolis RCV Survey





Minneapolis, MN – (January 6, 2010)– Jeanne Massey, Executive Director of FairVote MN, today applauded the results of a recent survey conducted by Saint Cloud State University Survey on the 2009 Rank Choice Voting (RCV) elections held in Minneapolis.

“The findings of the impartial survey show what FairVote Minnesota has seen in other cities that have successfully made a switch to Ranked Choice Voting – with good voter education, a well-designed ballot and well-trained election judges, voters of all ages and income and ethnic groups understand the system and want to continue to use it,” stated Massey pointing out the following facts from the survey:

  • 95% of voters polled in Minneapolis said RCV was easy to use and 90% said that they understand RCV perfectly or fairly well
  • 65% said they believe RCV should be used in the future
  • Only 3% of the people voting said they didn’t understand RCV

Massey also noted that detractors of the system were proven wrong by the facts of the survey.

“We have heard that once people experience RCV they won’t like it, that giving people choice on the ballot will be confusing and result in more spoiled ballots and that candidates won’t like the new way of campaigning.  The facts say something completely different. We also heard from advocates of the status quo that the lack of immediate election results would doom the RCV system. Again, the people have spoken and put that issue to rest.”

The Saint Cloud State University survey showed:

  • There was only one defective ballot in the whole Minneapolis election.
  • 60% of the candidates polled said that RCV was an advantage to their campaigns and 61% said that RCV should be used in the future.
  • 65% of voters said the availability of immediate election results wouldn’t change their opinion of RCV.

Massey credited the great work of election officials and city officials in Minneapolis for making the system easy, understandable, and successful.

“There was, understandably, pre-election nervousness among voters and election judges alike, but the survey shows that voters knew they were voting RCV when they arrived at the polls, and they knew how to vote, thanks to the great work of Pat O’Connor and his staff in Minneapolis. The election judges were well versed and trained and took their job very seriously in making sure people who had questions received clear and concise answers.”

She also noted in conclusion that even non-voters were polled and that RCV was not the number one reason people did not vote.

“Smartly, the Saint Cloud State University survey also asked non-voters why they did not vote. Again, detractors of RCV who said the new system would scare people away from the polls were wrong. Only 5% of non-voters said they didn’t vote because of RCV. The overwhelming majority said they didn’t vote because of lack of time or interest and, importantly, a majority of them also indicated that RCV is simple and fair and should be used in the future.”

“There is a lot of good information in this survey and these results will be valuable to Saint Paul as well as to Oakland, Berkeley and San Leandro, California, and other US cities as they implement RCV over the coming years,” concluded Massey.

NOTE: Survey results can be found at http://www.fairvotemn.org/MplsSurveyResults. FairVote Minnesota is currently reviewing the survey data in more depth and will prepare an analysis of the election outcomes based on this evaluation and election results data.


FairVote Minnesota was founded in 1996 to work for better democracy through public education and advocating progressive voting systems that lead to greater competitiveness, better representation and more participation.