2021 Voter Guide for Cities Using Ranked Choice Voting


Voter Guide for Cities Using Ranked Choice Voting: Bloomington, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, St. Louis Park and St. Paul

You have important municipal elections this fall. Election day is Tuesday, November 2, and early voting is underway!

As a resident of Bloomington, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, St. Louis Park or St. Paul, your city uses Ranked Choice Voting for city elections, and so you will have the opportunity to RANK YOUR VOTE! 

Plan where, when, and how you will vote.

Find out everything you need to know about when, how and where to vote at mnvotes.org

Step One: Download your sample ballot

The easiest way to become informed about what races are on the ballot, who’s running, and what ballot questions you’ll be asked to vote on is to download your sample ballot, review it, and practice filling it out! You can fill it out before you go and take it to the polls with you.  

Note, in addition to municipal elections, you will also be voting for school board if you live in St. Louis Park, Bloomington, Minnetonka, and St. Paul. These elections are not Ranked Choice Voting elections. 

Go to https://myballotmn.sos.state.mn.us/, type in your address, click the sample ballot button and save it on your computer or print it out. 

Step Two: Vote!

You may vote early by mail, vote early in person or vote on election day Tuesday, November 2 at your local polling location. It’s never been simpler to vote early but, if you can’t or prefer to vote on Election Day, Nov. 2, election officials are doing everything they can to ensure voting is safe and accessible. 

Check the Secretary of State’s website to make sure you are registered to vote. If you are not registered, it’s not a problem. You can register when you vote

Voting by mail (TODAY is the last day to send by mail)

There is a deadline to return your ballot! If returning your ballot by mail, it must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Minneapolis Elections officials recommend mailing your ballot back at least 7 days before Election Day –– or by TODAY, Tuesday, October 26. 

 You can also return your ballot in person no later than 3 p.m. on Election Day to the election office that sent your ballot. Note that you may not drop your ballot off at your polling place on election day. If you decide to vote in person, do NOT bring your ballot with you to your polling location – leave it at home. 

Voting early in person

Bloomington residents can vote early in person at:

Bloomington Civic Plaza

1800 West Old Shakopee Road

Bloomington, MN 55431


In person early voting hours are:

Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 30: 10 a.m – 3 p.m. 

Monday, November 1: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Minneapolis residents can vote early in person at:

Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services Office

980 Hennepin Ave. E.

Minneapolis, MN 55414

In person early voting hours are:

Monday – Friday: 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 30: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, October 31: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Monday, November 1: 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Minnetonka residents can vote early in person at:

Minnetonka City Hall

14600 Minnetonka Blvd.

Minnetonka, MN 55345

In person early voting hours are:

Monday – Friday: 8 a.m.– 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 30: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. 

Monday, November 1: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.


St. Louis Park residents can vote early in person at:

St. Louis Park City Hall

5005 Minnetonka Blvd.

St. Louis Park, MN 55416

In person early voting hours are:

Monday – Friday:  8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m

Saturday, October 30: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Monday, November 1: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.


St. Paul residents can vote early in person at:

Ramsey County Elections Office – Plato Building

90 Plato Blvd W

St Paul, MN 55107

In person early voting hours are:

Monday – Friday: 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday, October 30: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Monday, November 1: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.


Additional in-person absentee voting sites will open Tuesday, October 26; view the locations on the Ramsey County Elections website.

Voting on Election Day

And of course, you can choose to vote on Election Day, Tuesday, November 2. While we are still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, rest assured that your elections officials are working hard to make voting accessible, safe and secure. If you choose to vote on Election Day, please take a moment to check your polling location. Due to precautions for Covid-19, your polling location may have changed. Find your polling location on the Secretary of State’s website. Polling locations are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m in all five cities.

Rank your vote!

Remember, since your city uses RCV, you have more choice and more power, so use it! Rank as many candidates as you like up to the maximum allowed on your city’s ballot. 

By ranking all your choices, you use the full power of Ranked Choice Voting:

  • If your favorite candidate doesn’t have enough votes to win, your vote will continue to count for your second and later choices, and you still have a say in who is elected.
  • Voting only for one candidate or the same candidate more than once, will not improve that candidate’s chances of winning.
  • If you vote for only one candidate, and that candidate is defeated in the first round of counting, you’ve lost your opportunity to weigh in on the remaining candidates, and your ballot won’t continue to the final round.
  • Ranking a second or later choice will never hurt your favorite candidate.

For municipal elections this fall, St. Paul and Bloomington allow voters to rank up to six choices while Minneapolis, Minnetonka and St. Louis Park allow voters to rank up to three choices. For more information about how to rank your vote see rankyourvote.org or the city websites listed below. 

Before you fill out your ballot, take some time to educate yourself about the candidates and their positions. You can find the full list of candidates and opportunities to learn more about RCV or when candidate forums are being held at our rankyourvote.org website. You can also find out specific information about your local elections, including ballot questions and school board elections, on your city’s website:

Note that some races are not competitive or have less than three candidates on the ballot; ranking becomes important when there are three or more candidates on the ballot. 

To win under RCV, candidates should be striving to build broad coalitions of support. In a single-seat race, winning candidates need to earn a majority (50% + 1) of continuing ballots in the final round. In multi-seat elections, winning candidates need to earn the required threshold depending on how many seats there are (25% + 1 in a 3-seat race; 33% + 1 in a 2-seat race). 

While earning a voter’s number one ranking is the most important, candidates need to earn second and later choices to reach the threshold. Accordingly, candidates should be telling voters, “Vote for me #1. If you’re supporting another candidate for first choice, rank me #2.” See our RCV Candidate Toolkit for tips and more information.

In addition to the voter resources on our rankyourvote.org website, we have several educational videos about the upcoming RCV elections that we encourage you to share with voters in your community:


Minneapolis (English)

Minneapolis (Somali)



In addition to information about local elections, all of the cities have great resources about RCV and how it works on their websites:




St. Louis Park

St. Paul

We encourage you to review the information offered by your city and research the candidates and their positions so you can rank your city leaders in order of preference and how they align with your values –– that’s the power of RCV! There are many organizations — some that have endorsed candidates and some that have not — that have voter guides and information about candidates and ballot questions. 


When to Expect Election Results

The announcement of election results will depend on the city and the number of races that require RCV tabulation. We will break it down for you city by city!

For ALL cities, races that result in a candidate reaching the winning threshold among first-choice votes on Election Day, those candidates are declared winners. This is no different from every other election. 

For races that are not decided on Election Day, additional rounds of tabulation will be needed. Each city will use a manual tabulation process as automated software in use elsewhere around the country has not yet been approved for use in Minnesota. 

In Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, and Minnetonka, the cities will use the same process that Minneapolis and St. Louis Park have traditionally used — a spreadsheet-assisted manual tabulation using the Cast Vote Record (a record of all voter’s rankings). There will not be a hand count of the ballots.

Bloomington and St. Paul will conduct a hand count of the ballots and that process will begin on Thursday, Nov. 4. The process is open to the public. 

Both tabulation approaches are highly transparent and accurate. 


Anticipated RCV results:

Minneapolis: Next day, Nov. 3

St. Louis Park: Next day, Nov. 3

Minnetonka: Next day, Nov. 3

Bloomington: Thursday, Nov. 4 or later

St. Paul: Thursday, Nov. 4 or later


All results can be found on the cities’ websites noted above. 

How to Understand Election Day (First Round) Results

Election Night results will include the first choice, second choice, and additional choice votes  each candidate received. However, please note that final RCV results cannot be interpreted from these vote tallies, and we caution campaigns and supporters from drawing any conclusions from these results. Results are determined by the RCV tabulation process and reallocation of ballots from eliminated candidates, not by how many second choice or third choice votes a candidate received. For example, if a candidate does not receive enough first choices to remain viable and is eliminated, it doesn’t matter if that candidate received a lot of second choice support. Likewise, a candidate who receives a lot of first choices but not as many second and additional choices may go on to win if enough second and additional choices from eliminated candidates go their way. Just knowing how many second and third choices is insufficient to know the winner — it all depends on where those votes are coming from. For more information about the Minneapolis RCV tabulation process see the city’s election website on RCV

We hope this guide is helpful — and please share with your friends and neighbors! See online version here. Contact us at info@fairvotemn.org if you have any questions. 

Stay tuned for election night (and following days) reporting and analysis on our social media sites on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FairVoteMN) and Twitter @fairvotemn.

Happy Ranking!! 

Rank Your Vote is a project of FairVote Minnesota, a nonprofit, nonpartisan election reform organization that engages hundreds of volunteers and thousands of supporters. Together, we work for a stronger democracy through public education and advocacy for Ranked Choice Voting, a system proven to be more inclusive, democratic, and representative than our current plurality electoral system. We educate and support candidates, elected officials, cities and voters in preparation for RCV elections.