Minneapolis officials have estimated that Ranked Choice Voting (or IRV, Instant Runoff Voting) cost an additional $365,000 for last November’s election.
A report prepared by Ginny Gelms (PDF), interim assistant city clerk/director of elections, estimates that about one-third of those costs are one-time start-up costs that won’t affect future elections.
The calculation was based on 2009 elections costs — with IRV — compared with inflation-adjusted costs of the 2005 election.
Said the report:
The greatest expenditure was in the area of voter education and outreach, making up 30% of the total amount spent on RCV. A portion of the City’s voter education and outreach program was funded through a grant from the Minneapolis Foundation in the amount of $35,000. Hand count expenditures were the next largest, with staffing the hand count at 19% and the costs associated with the hand count facility at 17% of the total RCV cost.
Commenting on the report, Fairvote MN — which led the effort to get IRV in the city — notes that Minneapolis officials are working to acquire IRV-capable voting machines:
The report also indicated that if RCV-capable voting equipment was available in the next election to tally the ballots, costs would be reduced by more than half. Gelms has said that such equipment may be available within the next three years; the city is working closely with Hennepin County to have RCV-ready voting machines in place by the 2013 election. Such machines are currently used in San Francisco; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and will be used in upcoming November elections in Berkeley, Oakland and San Leandro, California.