Fargo, North Dakota is a city in the north-central United States. In 2018, Fargo became the first city in the United States to adopt approval voting for municipal elections, and in 2020, became the first city to hold municipal elections using approval.

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Before approval

A previous city commissioner election in 2015 suffered from six-way vote-splitting, resulting in a candidate winning with only a 22% plurality of the vote.[1]

Reform Fargo

main article: Reform Fargo

"Reform Fargo" was the name of a campaign to institute approval voting in the city of Fargo. The ballot initiative passed.

The Reform Fargo campaign needed 1,349 signatures for the ballot measure, and was able to collect 1,923 valid signatures.[2]

The ballot initiative positioned in the City of Fargo itself, including its mayor, four city commissioners, and municipal judge.[3] (It is thus being used for both single-winner and multi-winner elections. Each commissioner is elected at-large, representing the entire city.)[4]

The city of Fargo adopted Approval voting in November 2018,[2] with a 64% majority in favor.[1]


The first election to use approval voting occurred in 2020,[5] as two commissioners' terms expire in June 2020.[6] The terms of the current mayor and the other two commissioners expire in June 2022.[6] The current municipal judge was elected in 2012 and serves four-year terms.[7]


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