This year, Duluth has 8 candidates seeking a spot on the November ballot for Duluth’s At-Large City Council seat. A primary election will be held on Tuesday, August 10th to decide the four candidates that will appear on the ballot. Voters will be able to choose two candidates they would like to see move forward, but should they?
The primary ballot says voters may choose “up to two” candidates, which means you only have to choose one – which is called “Bullet Balloting”.
Why would you only want to vote for one candidate? If you have a candidate you feel very positively about, bullet balloting can help them advance by preventing “second choice” candidates from getting more votes. For example, let’s say you are 100% for candidate A. You don’t know much about the other candidates but feel “okay” about candidate B. So you vote for candidates A and B. Now the next person in line feels great about candidate C, and also okay about candidate B, so they vote for candidate B and C. Out of these two voters, their favorite candidates A and C only have one vote, but the one they feel “okay” about has two. Imagine this on the grand scale where candidate “B” is considered “okay” by most voters. This is how the “okay” candidate ends up on the November ballot while favorite candidates do not. Bullet balloting makes sure that the second-choice vote doesn’t inadvertently override first-choice votes.
It’s a voting tactic that is perfectly acceptable and legal, and in races with so many candidates an important way to give your favorite candidate an edge. It is also a way to help more moderate candidates prevail in areas where voters skew to one side of the political spectrum.
When placing your primary votes for Duluth City Council, consider bulleting your ballot to protect your vote for your best candidate.