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Minneapolis vote-count process based on faulty logic and bad arithmetic

If officials had adhered to one specific statement in the ordinance, they could have eliminated 32 candidates at once and announced a winner within an hour.

Watching the vote count at Minneapolis City Hall on monitors in the Rotunda on Wednesday.
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen

The reason the vote count for Minneapolis mayor is going so slowly is that the ordinance the city is relying on is based on faulty logic and arithmetic.

In one place, the ordinance says, “All candidates for whom it is mathematically impossible to be elected must be defeated simultaneously.” Defeated means that they are eliminated and the ballots cast for them are transferred to the voters’ second choice.

In fact, all but three candidates  — Betsy Hodges, Mark Andrew and Don Samuels — cannot win, mathematically.  That’s because the sum of ALL their first-, second- and third-place votes is less than Betsy Hodges’ first-place votes.  So adhering to that statement in the ordinance, they could have eliminated 32 candidates at once, and reallocated their votes to the voters’ second-place choices.  If they did that, they would have announced a winner within an hour.

But elsewhere in the ordinance, the drafters, in their wisdom, defined “mathematically impossible to be elected” to mean something other than whether the candidate could possibly win. They defined it this way:

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Mathematically impossible to be elected means either:

(1) The candidate could never win because his or her current vote total plus all votes that could possibly be transferred to him or her in future rounds (from candidates with fewer votes, tied candidates, surplus votes, and from undeclared write-in candidates) would not be enough to equal or surpass the candidate with the next higher current vote total; or

(2) The candidate has a lower current vote total than a candidate who is described by (1).

Using that definition, the city has chosen to eliminate the candidates one at a time, making for a multi-day process.

However, this definition has nothing to do with “mathematically impossible to be elected.”  It’s a definition of mathematically impossible to move up one notch.

Oh, well.