Truth to Tell: Instant Runoff Voting and the Constitution

The Saint Paul City Council finds itself in a pickle with proponents of Instant Runoff Voting – better known as the Better Ballot Campaign – having filed the necessary 5,000-plus signatures to present the prospect of installing a system of Ranked Choice Voting for general elections (and eliminating the city primary) before St. Paul voters in November - only to be faced with their own City Attorney’s opinion that the entire idea may be unconstitutional based on a 1915 Supreme Court ruling striking down a similar voting scheme.

Minneapolis has already passed it but is in court over IRV’s 2009 implementation.

What will/can/should the Council do? Heed the City Attorney’s opinion that it should not go on the ballot on Constitutional grounds? Or ignore him and heed the will of the voters who signed the petition to place the city charter amendment before the people this November? Either way, it is sure to go to a courtroom.

On Wednesday, July 2nd, Truth to Tell's Andy Driscoll and Lynell Mickelsen talk with as many of the principals in this political and legal debate as are willing to appear. And make fun of those who don’t. Seriously, it’s a real dilemma IRV supporters nevertheless insist is a legal slam dunk. Should be a fascinating discussion with Better Ballot Campaign lawyers, supporters and city officials.


JAY BENANAV, Better Ballot Campaign attorney and former St. Paul City Councilmember

JOHN HOTTINGER, attorney and former State Senate Majority Leader

ELLEN BROWN, St. Paul Better Ballot Campaign Coordinator, and President, The Brown Partners, Inc.

INVITED: Council President KATHY LANTRY, St. Paul City Attorney JOHN CHOI

AND YOU: CALL IN and comment/ask a question. 612-341-0980.