Charter Commission Minutes

April 24, 2007

The Hopkins Charter Commission met on April 24. Present were Commission members Dorothy Boen, Roger Gross, Fran Hesch, Roger Johnson, Steve Lewis, and Emily Wallace-Jackson.

The meeting was brought to order at 6:34 p.m. by the Chair of the Commission, Roger Gross.

  1. Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meeting
    Commissioner Boen moved and Commissioner Hesch seconded the motion to approve the minutes of the June 6, 2006 meeting. The motion was approved unanimously.
  2. Old Business
    1. Instant Runoff Voting
      Mr. Genellie summarized the actions that were taken in 2006 regarding Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). The Hopkins Charter Committee met on April 25 and June 6 of 2006 and drafted a revised ordinance that tries to resolve some of the issues raised by the first IRV ordinance.
          The revised ordinance was presented to the Hopkins City Council on August 22, 2006. At that meeting the City Council indicated general agreement with the intent of the ordinance and suggested that the Charter Commission consider an education campaign regarding Instant Runoff Voting.
          Since that time the City of Minneapolis has adopted Instant Runoff Voting. The Minneapolis Election Department is now working with the Secretary of State's office on statewide standards for conduct of Municipal IRV elections.
          The IRV method proposed in Minneapolis is similar to that used in Hopkins for single seat election. However, it differs for multiple seat elections.
          The Charter Commission needs to decide how to proceed on IRV:
      • Continue with the adoption of the ordinance adopted by the Commission in June 2006 to include a public education program; or
      • Recommend adoption of an ordinance similar to the Minneapolis ordinance; or
      • Wait until statewide standards are adopted.
         The Commission discussed the advantages and disadvantages of a state standard on Instant Runoff Voting.
          The advantages would include protection from lawsuits. A statewide standard would have to be challenged as a violation of the state constitution. The Attorney General would likely defend against any such suit.
          Standards would allow the same system to be adopted by a number of cities. Costs for software or hardware changes could be shared among a number of cities.
          Disadvantages may include a different manner of electing multiple candidates for multiple seats, the situation that exists when electing Hopkins Council Members.
          There was considerable discussion about which way Hopkins should go. The consensus was that the City should try to influence the state standard by providing whichever body is studying IRV with a copy of the proposed Hopkins method.
      The Commission then discussed holding a mock election to educate the public on IRV. The Commission discussed the manner of the election and what the election would be about. The Commission determined that ballots could be mailed out with the City newsletter. There was discussion about holding the mock election in 2007 and using the presidential candidates. There remained a question about how that would work with the multiple candidates running for multiple seats.
          In the end the following motion was made:
      • Staff would contact the League of Minnesota Cities to determine how many cities currently elect council members in a similar manner as Hopkins.
      • The proposed "Hopkins IRV method" would be forwarded to the Secretary of State's office as a suggestion for handling such elections, using IRV, and also to seek comments about this method.
      • The Commission would conduct a "mock election" sometime in 2007 for the purpose of educating the public about IRV.
      • Commissioner Hesch would contact Fairvote for advice on how to conduct such a "mock election."
      Commissioner Lewis moved and Commissioner Boen seconded the motion. It was approved unanimously.
  3. Adjournment
    Commissioner Hesch moved and Commissioner Johnson seconded a motion to adjourn. The meeting adjourned by unanimous consent.