Ranked Choice Voting Considered in Senate

March 13, 2023

The bill would authorize both statutory and charter cities to implement ranked choice voting.

The Senate Elections Committee on March 9 heard SF 2270 (Sen. Kelly Morrison, DFL-New Haven), a bill to authorize local governments to implement ranked choice voting. The bill was originally drafted to establish a statewide ranked choice voting system for federal and state elections for implementation for the 2026 election. The bill was amended with a delete-everything amendment to eliminate the required implementation date.
Read the amendment to SF 2270 (pdf)

The bill was passed out of the Senate Elections Committee and referred to the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Committee. Its companion, HF 2486 (Rep. Cedrick Frazier, DFL-New Hope), has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

What’s included in the bill

The amended bill would establish a statewide ranked choice voting implementation task force, create statewide standards for ranked choice voting, authorize both charter and statutory cities to adopt ranked choice voting, and create a grant program for local governments implementing ranked choice voting.

Statewide ranked choice voting implementation task force

The bill would establish a task force to recommend statewide standards for ranked choice voting tabulation and reporting processes and a timetable for implementation in federal and state elections. The bill sets forth the membership for the task force, including three representatives to be appointed by the League of Minnesota Cities: one representative from the seven-county metropolitan area, one representative from outside the seven-county metropolitan area, and one representative from a jurisdiction that has implemented ranked choice voting.

The task force would be required to produce multiple reports over the next four years submitted to the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees with jurisdiction over elections. The report is to contain:

  • A recommended date for implementation of statewide ranked choice voting.
  • Recommendations on the standards and rules that would be needed for requirements and procedures to implement statewide ranked choice voting.
  • Draft legislation to implement statewide ranked choice voting.
  • Identification of any educational needs for public awareness and training for election officials, candidates, and the public, with a particular focus on communities with language barriers or new voters.
  • A summary of the status of current voting equipment across the state to conduct ranked choice voting elections and recommendations for upgrading technology.
  • Recommended appropriations required to implement statewide ranked choice voting.

Statewide standards for ranked choice voting

The bill creates uniform definitions for various processes of ranked choice voting to apply to all elections conducted using ranked choice voting. The bill also sets forth a standardized ballot format for ranked choice voting ballots, testing requirements of voting systems, a process for the tabulation of votes for both single-seat and multiple-seat elections, and reporting, recount, and postelection review procedures.

Authorization for local adoption

The bill sets forth that after July 1, 2024, the home rule charter and statutory cities, counties, and school districts can adopt ranked choice voting as a method of voting for local offices. A jurisdiction that adopts the use of ranked choice voting would be required to do so no later than 90 days before the first day for filing affidavits of candidacy for the office for which ranked choice voting is being used.

Ranked choice voting grants

The bill establishes a grant program in which a local government may apply for a grant to support the costs of equipment upgrades and public education campaigns related to local use of ranked choice voting. The grant amount that a local government is eligible to receive is still to be determined as the Legislature determines budget targets.

Read more news articles