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Unusual election method in Eastpointe breaks new ground

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Posted at 5:18 AM, Nov 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-04 09:39:26-05

EASTPOINTE, Mich. (AP) - A Detroit suburb will make Michigan history Tuesday when it uses "ranked-choice voting" for two seats on the city council.

Voters will be asked to rank four candidates, from first to fourth. The first choices are counted first, but second choices on the ballots also come into play. The winners in Eastpointe will be two people with slightly more than 33.3% of the vote.

Eastpointe agreed to ranked-choice voting to settle a 2017 lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department. The government claimed white voters acting as a bloc had historically diluted the voting power of black residents in citywide council races.

Black residents are estimated to make up more than 40 percent of Eastpointe, which has a population of 32,000. Only one member of the city council is black.