Candidate Filing Requirements Need Updating
August 15, 2103 -- This November 5, Minneapolis voters will have many mayoral candidates to choose from when they rank their three favorites. Under Ranked Choice Voting, there’s no primary election to narrow the field, providing voters with more choice on the ballot in November when turnout is higher and more diverse.
The total number of candidates – 35 – is the result of several factors, including a competitive open mayoral race (the first in two decades) and easy access to the ballot for candidates who are not intending to run serious campaigns. Rather than reverting to an expensive, low-turnout primary to narrow this field, the Minneapolis City Council should consider requiring mayoral candidates to file a minimum number of signatures in support of their candidacy.
A minimum threshold of demonstrated support via signature collection would ensure voters can choose from a slate of candidates who take running for elected office seriously. For now, RCV gives voters the opportunity to narrow their choices to as many as three candidates as opposed to just one.
FairVote Minnesota strongly encourages voters take advantage of all three slots -- first choice, second choice, third choice -- on their ballots in multicandidate races. As Eric Black recently wrote in MinnPost, "to maximize the impact that your support might have, you need to figure out not only whom you support for mayor or city council but who are your second and third choices. You don’t have to rank three choices, but you really should."