Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Kelliher edges Rybak in Minneapolis tiny turnout DFL straw poll

In an experiment to test the new instant-runoff voting (IRV), the DFL held an extremely unofficial election in Minneapolis Tuesday among 13 potential DFL candidates for guv in 2010. The turnout of around 300 was so small that it may not be worth mentioning, but for the politically obsessed:

House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher got the most votes, both on the original ballot and after they had been used to assign the ballots of the lower finishers to the higher finishers. The final IRV adjusted totals were:

  • Kelliher: 55 percent
  • R.T. Rybak: 45 percent

On the first round, state Sen. John Marty came in third with 12 percent; state Rep. Paul Thissen came in fourth with 10 percent and everyone else finished in single digits, percentage wise.

The results should be taken with pounds of salt. There was no serious campaign. Turnout was tiny. There were only three polling places, all in Minneapolis, although no proof of Minneapolis residency was required. Sure enough, two Minneapolitans came out on top.

While other cities, including St. Paul, had actual official primaries yesterday, Minneapolis didn’t have to, because it is using instant-runoff voting (also known as ranked-choice-voting) this year, which makes a primary unnecessary.

The full results are here.


You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Keith Ford on 09/16/2009 - 04:28 pm.

    Come on, Mr. Black. You know 300 votes is meaningless. you said it’s meaningless and yet you report it as if it were meaningful, hoping you’re letting yourself off the hook by saying “it may not be worth mentioning.” You think?

    This is no better than stories about poll results that mention that there’s a statistical significance of +/- 4% points and then go on to say that candidate X has pulled ahead by 3% points.

    Eric, you’re better than that. Was the day so slow? If so, don’t write.

  2. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 09/17/2009 - 04:19 pm.

    Eric, you missed a huge aspect of the story. I was one of the organizers, and I can tell you we weren’t trying to gauge gubernatorial sentiment. We used the straw poll as a practice ballot to explain how RCV will work in Minneapolis. The most important result hasn’t been reported anywhere: there were no spoiled ballots. The people who attended were able to fill out an RCV ballot correctly. The people who attended got their questions answered and had a chance to voice their opinions on the new voting method.

    I understand the straw poll’s results were of far more interest to the casual observer than the poll’s methods, but for those involved in local politics, I assure you the reverse was the case.

  3. Submitted by Dan Gustafson on 09/18/2009 - 10:23 am.

    Get Rybek out of there! Between the water fountains we don’t need, the upgrading of street lights we don’t need, and the projected 11% property tax increase he has proposed, the guy is seriously detached from what is important in a city–public safey, roads, and garbage and water service.

  4. Submitted by Lena Gardner on 09/21/2009 - 04:49 pm.

    Mr. Ferguson,

    I truly hope that any version of the instant run-off voting would work much better than the straw poll did last Tuesday. My friend and I went to cast our votes at Tiger Sushi and we were told that we arrived too late at 8:20PM, even though the information that was made public said the polls would be open from 7-9PM. Let’s hope that any type of instant run-off voting would avoid that type of miscommunication, misinformation, or disorganization so that everyone who wants to be heard can be and has the opportunity to do so.

Leave a Reply