St. Paul to put instant runoff voting to ballot

St. Paul residents will vote on whether they want to change the way they elect city council members and the mayor.

The St. Paul City Council has approved putting a proposal for instant runoff voting on the ballot in November. The action formally grants a petition by supporters submitted last year. More than 7,000 people signed the petition.

St. Paul had put off the question, pending the outcome of a legal challenge to ranked voting in Minneapolis. But earlier this month, the Minnesota Supreme Court cleared that city's plan to eliminate primary elections, and instead let voters rank candidates in the November election.

St. Paul City Council President Kathy Lantry said the council's vote doesn't necessarily mean elected officials support the idea.

"Personally I don't like IRV; I won't be supporting it," she said. "It doesn't mean that I don't think that people have the right to put something on the ballot, and with a valid petition, where all the legal cloud has been lifted, it goes on the ballot."

The St. Paul city council unanimously approved ballot language for this year. A majority vote in this fall's election could change the way the city conducts elections in 2011 at the earliest. Minneapolis is expected to switch to the system this fall.

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