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Instant Runoff Voting: here sooner than you think?

If R.T. Rybak goes to Washington by March 1, Minneapolis may try its new voting method early.
By David Brauer

Steve Brandt, the Strib’s seer of all things Minneapolis, has a spot-on overview of the Minneapolis political scene headed into the 2009 election year. There’s lots of Rybak speculating, and how the dominoes will fall if his address shifts to D.C. or St. Paul, but there’s one intriguing element that caught my eye. Writes Brandt:

One of the more interesting possibilities, should Rybak quit to go to Washington, is a speed-up in use of the city’s new voting system. The city has been planning to roll out ranked-choice voting, in which voters will rank up to three candidates for each city office in order of preference, for next November’s election.

But if Rybak quit by March 1, that triggers a special election, and the ranked-choice voting system approved by voters in 2006 is the only method now authorized in the city charter, according to City Attorney Susan Segal.

The council has the power to delay ranked-choice voting until 2013 if it feels the city isn’t ready for it, but there’s majority support for the new system on the council. Plus, there’s a timing problem. The council is required to vote on any such delay at least four months ahead of an election, but the charter requires a special election within 75 days of the vacancy.

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There is a pesky anti-IRV lawsuit floating around, so maybe a hurry-up Minneapolis special election will find itself next on the docket to Recountpalooza.

Anyway, Dave Durenberger and Nick Coleman, IRV may be here sooner than you think!