City Council approves rules for voting and tabulation


September 20, 2011

Last night, the City of Portland City Council accepted rules for the city’s Mayoral election, which will be determined by ranked choice voting (sample ballot attached). Ranked choice voting allows voters the opportunity to rank as many of the Mayoral candidates as they would like according to preference. Voters will rank candidates in order of 1st choice, 2nd choice and so on, until either the voter no longer has a preference or all candidates have been ranked.

The rules address a variety of issues including vote tabulation. If on Election Day, no one candidate receives a majority (50% plus one) of the first choice votes cast, the following day, an instant run-off re-tabulation will be conducted by the City Clerk with support from TrueBallot until a candidate receives a majority. Following the initial tally of all the 1st choice votes, the candidate with the fewest first choice votes will be eliminated and those ballots will be re-tabulated to the voter’s second choice candidate. Successive rounds of candidate elimination and re-tabulation will continue until one candidate receives a majority.

If a ballot contains a skipped ranking, the ranking that follows the skip will be considered the next valid choice. For example, if a voter completes a ballot and selects a 1st choice, 2nd choice and 4th choice, skipping the 3rd choice, the 4th choice will be treated as the 3rd choice. If a ballot contains a multiple ranking, the ballot shall only count for the highest ranked choice for the candidate. For example if a voter selects a candidate as his/her first, second and third choice and then selects a different candidate for his/her fourth choice, this candidate will be treated as the second choice. If a ballot contains an over-vote, the ballot becomes invalid when that ranking is reached. For example if the ballot contains two 2nd choices, only the 1st choice will be counted as it would be impossible to determine voter intent for the second choice.