Not again? Minneapolis says city election next month could take 8 weeks to count

As if we haven’t suffered enough with delayed election counts, Minneapolis officials now say it could take up to eight weeks to determine the winners in next month’s city election.

That’s because they’re using the new IRV system — instant runoff voting — and there are no machines set up to count the votes. All the counting will be by hand, said MPR.

And they worry that it might be worse: A test election earlier this year took even longer.

And while the St. Paul city election will be handled in the usual manner, St. Paul voters will be asked on the ballot if they, too, want to switch to IRV.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Annalise Cudahy on 10/12/2009 - 10:03 am.

    8 weeks, give or take, could put things past the first of the year. That’s when the term starts.

    This would be completely unacceptable. A lot more needs to be said about this, especially as Saint Paul contemplates going the same direction.

  2. Submitted by Bill Coleman on 10/12/2009 - 01:40 pm.

    Voting officials should simply turn in their resignations now and get some people who are willing to get the job done faster.

  3. Submitted by Ellen Brown on 10/12/2009 - 01:52 pm.

    Calm down, folks. Ireland counted 600,000 ballots by hand in 24 hours. Sure, they’ve got more experience than we do but we are talking about maybe 15% of that number to count? And likely only in a few of the races as I hear it.

    At any rate, the same situation won’t be present in St Paul as we will only approve IRV here this year for implementation in 2011 when Ramsey County is already scheduled to replace its machines. New machines will be able to count ranked ballots. Voila!

  4. Submitted by Bruce Pomerantz on 10/12/2009 - 10:40 pm.

    People generally decry the 24-hour news cycle. Yet, Chicken Littles come out crying that the sky is falling when the cycle is broken, as demonstrated with the “Yikes, eight weeks!” reaction to the possibility–not the fact–of an eight-week count.Perhaps this is really a pre-emptive strike to forestall criticism should any necessary recount take, gasp! all of two weeks.

    We do not have a parliamentary system in Minneapolis where the winners come in 24 hours after the vote results are confirmed. There’s an interim of two months. So, what possible difference does it truly make if it takes even one month before a winner is determined? A speedier determination does not mean the winner takes up the responsibilities any sooner.

    Chill out, please.

  5. Submitted by John Farrell on 10/13/2009 - 11:41 am.

    I think this story is irresponsible.

    An IRV election combines the primary and general election. If we count the intervening time between the primary and general election, IRV will be no worse a method for narrowing a broad field to a winner than previous methods.

    Eight weeks to count ballots is less time than what typically separates the primary and general election, but it will mean that citizens only have to go to the polls once.

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