In what turned out to be one of the most hotly debated issues on this year’s ballot, Duluthians sent a strong message Tuesday in favor of their current voting system.Voters resoundingly rejected a citywide referendum that called for a shift to a ranked-choice voting system. The city of Duluth’s tally showed 15,564 “no” votes to 5,271 “yes” votes. The ballot initiative, which called for a change in the way Duluth has voted for more than a century, sharply divided local leaders and led to aggressive campaigning by supporters and detractors alike.
Those on both sides of the issue said the decisive vote was undoubtedly influenced by the public opposition lodged by numerous public officials, including former Vice President Walter Mondale, outgoing Mayor Don Ness and a majority of the current city councilors.
Second District Councilor Joel Sipress, who was among the most vocal opponents of the proposal, praised Duluth voters for their overwhelming rejection of the referendum.
“I think it shows that the people of Duluth have a lot of common sense and understand that we’ve got a high level of civic engagement in the community,” he said. “We have an election system that works well for us, and I’m just really gratified that people in Duluth used their own judgement to determine what’s best for our election system.”