Ranked-choice voting likely won’t be coming to Duluth any time soon.

By a 5-4 vote Monday night and after heated debate, the Duluth City Council rejected a resolution that directed the city’s charter commission to explore ranked-choice voting and recommend whether voters should be allowed to decide if they want to adopt the system for municipal elections.

Council President Linda Krug had harsh words for her council peers as the outcome of the pending vote became evident. She had supported an amendment to her original resolution, removing any deadline for a decision on ranked-choice voting.

“Shame on you councilors,” she said. “I’m very disappointed that you would deny the citizens of Duluth and the charter commission an opportunity to study this issue because you don’t like it. You’ll have to sleep with that tonight.”

Councilor Howie Hanson criticized Krug, claiming that she had made a practice of cutting off councilors with views that differed from her own Monday night.

Filipovich said ranked-choice voting sounds good but is more complicated than it seems on the surface.

“The more I learned of this system, the more skeptical I became,” he said.

With a ranked-choice voting system, voters are asked to pick their first-, second- and third-choice candidates to serve in public office. The first-choice votes are then tallied first with the lowest placing candidates eliminated one by one.

When candidates are knocked out of the race, their supporters’s second- and even third-choice votes come into play as they are allocated to remaining candidates. As soon as any candidate garners more than 50 percent of the vote, he or she is declared the winner.

Voting against the ranked-choice voting resolution in the majority were Hanson, Jay Fosle, Zack Filipovich, Jennifer Julsrud and Barb Russ.

Councilors who unsuccessfully supported the resolution included Krug, Joel Sipress, Sharla Gardner and Emily Larson.  

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