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Talking Points: Ranked-Choice Voting & The Mayor's Race

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Saturday's DFL Convention in Minneapolis failed to nominate a candidate for mayor. That means that all six DFL candidates are expected to run in the November election.

They will be joined by other candidates representing other parties. What will make this election unique is that it will be a ranked-choice election, meaning voters will have to pick their first, second and third place choices.

With at least 10 candidates going at it in November to become Minneapolis' next Mayor -- and this being a ranked-choice election, it's possible the candidate with the most second-choice votes could end up winning.

Voters will rank their choices first, second or third. If no candidate gets 50 percent, the candidate with the lowest vote totals is eliminated -- and the second and third choice votes on their ballots are then added up.

This continues with candidates being eliminated and second and third place votes being counted until someone gets 50 percent. But that makes for some unusual campaign strategies -- it's harder for candidates to bash each other if they hope to pick up second or third place votes.

Professor David Schultz was hired by Minneapolis in 2010 to evaluate ranked-choice voting. He appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.

"It is possible the whole strategy becomes at this point to get candidates to go out and say, 'I know I am not your first choice, make me your second choice' so you mobilize your base and get your 15 or 20 percent and tell everyone else go vote for Betsy Hodges or Gary Schiff as your first choice but make me your second choice," he said.

If recent history is any guide, whoever wins the mayor's race in November will likely be in office for a while. Since 1979, Minneapolis has had only three mayors, and the incumbent R.T. Rybak has been in office almost 12 years.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Matt Brickman every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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