I got a sample ballot in the mail for the upcoming elections in Minneapolis. It is one thing to hear about there being 35 candidates for mayor in Minneapolis and entirely a different thing to see it on paper.
That is one long list. Only the first column is the actual list of candidates. Minneapolis is using "ranked-choice voting." When I vote, I will make one choice for each column. My first choice will be in the left column, my second choice in the second column, etc. In order to win the election, a candidate needs at least half of the votes. If there is no winner after tallying the everyone's top choices in the first column, the candidate with the least number of votes is removed. That candidate's votes are then "reallocated" using those voters' second choices. This process continues until there is a winner.
The most interesting thing I found about the ballot, however, was the names and parties of the candidates. Apparently, I have not been paying close enough attention to the news because I was surprised to discover Captain Jack Sparrow listed as a candidate:
It turns out that this is the candidate's legal name. He had it changed after he was arrested for trespassing while protesting U.S. Bank. He was arrested while in a pirate costume. (Source if you are interested in listening to the candidate: http://kfai.org/minneapolis-mayoral-race-2013)
Even more entertaining to me was that Captain Jack Sparrow is not running on the Pirate Party ticket; a guy named Kurtis W. Hanna is: