SUPPORTING RANKED VOTING
April 4, 2017, by John Crea
In response to “5 good reasons ranked-choice voting is flawed” (March 30), David Lebedoff is misinformed. RCV does not force him to cast a vote (first, second or third) for a candidate he’d rather cross the street to avoid, or for the shrimp on the menu he is allergic to. RCV allows one to vote for a second choice (apparently that’s cottage cheese for Lebedoff), and even a third. What, pray tell, is wrong with that? How is that complicated?
As Mr. Lebedoff argues, majority rule does have great merit in a democracy. That is precisely the goal of RCV. Under the present system, a candidate can win a closely contested three-way race with as little as 34 percent of the votes cast, a slim plurality. RVC pushes deeper into the wishes of the electorate, counting second- and third-place votes until someone reaches ”yes” from 51 percent of those voting.
There is no way to “game” the system. If Mr. Lebedoff likes Jones more than Smith, but he concedes even Smith is a better choice than Snidely Whiplash, he should vote for Jones first, Smith second, and maybe leave the third vote blank. To do otherwise would be to vote against his own interests, unless he’d rather see Smith lose than Jones win (a scorched-earth policy that one of the two major parties seems to have embraced).
Lebedoff’s final argument, that RCV will promote extremely negative campaigns, is exactly opposite what logic tells us. If Jones knows that he probably won’t receive 51 percent of the first-place votes on his own, he’s going to do everything he can to defeat Smith and Whiplash, but he’s not going to be overly strident. He knows that he’ll probably need their second-place votes to put him over the top. If our goal is for civil campaigns that have more substance, more about issues than personalities, ranked-choice voting is a logical improvement.
John Crea, St. Paul