Charter Commission Minutes

April 25, 2006

The Hopkins Charter Commission met on March 28. Present were Commission members Dorothy Boen, David Day, Roger Gross, Fran Hesch, Steve Lewis, and Emily Wallace-Jackson.

  1. Call To Order
    The meeting was brought to order at 6:35 pm by the Chair of the Commission, Roger Gross.
  2. Approval of Minutes for March 28, 2006
    Commissioner Hesch moved and Commissioner Day seconded the motion to approve the minutes of the March 28, 2006 meeting. The motion was approved unanimously.
  3. Communications
    None
  4. Old Business
    1. Ranked Ballot Voting
      Mr. Genellie presented a draft of a proposed Charter amendment ordinance. The Commission discussed the various sections of the proposed ordinance.
          Commissioner Lewis asked whether the language would allow for a separate implementation of ranked ballot voting for single seat elections, such as the Mayor, versus multiple seat elections, such as the City Council.
          The Commission discussed the advisability of pursuing this option. Mr. Genellie pointed out that part of the difficulty of implementing RBV is the cost of either acquiring new voting machines or reprogramming existing voting machines. It is possible that other jurisdictions might adopt RBV, thus making implementation less costly. However, if the other jurisdictions adopt RBV and their machines are only programmed for single seat elections, the City of Hopkins could still experience significant costs in programming machines for multiple seat elections.
          The Commission decided to continue to examine the possibility of separate implementation.
          The Commission discussed the concept of a majority. The Commission determined the following:
      • A majority would be 50% plus 1 of the total ballots cast in an election. The majority for the mayoral election would be the same as the majority for Council election.
      • In a Council election, it is possible to have more than two candidates receive a majority of the first or highest choice votes. This occurs because each ballot contains two first or highest choices that are counted equally. Whenever this occurs the elected candidates will be those receiving the highest number of votes.
      • That once a candidate achieves a majority they are declared elected regardless of whether their ultimate vote total is surpassed during subsequent counts. This possibility must exist in order to allow for a candidate who wins a majority of the votes on the first count to be insured of being elected.
                                                                           The Commission discussed what to do with ballots where the voter skipped a rank on the ballot. For example they vote for two first choices and then chose a candidate for Alternate #2 but leave Alternate #1 blank. The Commission determined that this ballot would be treated the same as a ballot where two candidates are both listed as Alternate #1. The tabulating machine would return the ballot giving the voter a chance to correct the vote. If a voter casts a ranked-choice ballot but skips a rank, the voter's choices after the blank rank shall not be counted.
          Finally the Commission discussed how the tabulation of votes would be reported. The Commission determined that in addition to reporting who the winning candidates are, the number of votes that each candidate received in every round would be reported.
  5. New Business
    1. The Commission decided to set the next meeting for Tuesday, June 6 at 6:30 pm.
  6. Adjournment
    Commissioner Hesch moved and Commissioner Wallace-Jackson seconded the motion to adjourn. The meeting adjourned by unanimous consent.