Authored on April 04, 2019

There is a growing movement for ranked-choice voting (RCV) over our current approach (plurality method). It is vitally important that the public have reasonable faith in the fairness and accuracy in our elections. Changes to our methods should only follow from thoughtful and reasoned public debate. And, I would argue, only with broad consensus. For this reason, changes that are rammed through by a narrow majority are unwise because it plays to the narrative that elections are just something that the party in power will “rig” to their advantage.

Having said that, it is both appropriate and healthy that we can contemplate and debate changes that many think would result in elections that better represent the will of the people.

When it comes to RCV, it is clear why many support it – primarily because many voters will vote for their second (or third) favorite candidate because they are afraid that voting for their favorite candidate could cause a person they really and truly dislike to win.  And it’s hard to argue that someone with (say) 34 percent of the vote is the “will of the people” when the winner is despised by the 66 percent who split their votes between two equally desirable candidates.

I believe well reasoned critiques of RCV are important and healthy. Unfortunately, we are currently seeing many arguments set forth against RCV that do not meet the standard.

“RCV is an attempt to tilt elections to the Dems.” How? What aspect of RCV inherently favors Dems?

“It’s unfair if the candidate with the most votes doesn’t win”. Define “fair.” Certainly the majority of people who voted against an unpopular plurality winner would not consider plurality fair.

“It hides the vote counting from the people.” This is just false. It’s no more and no less “hidden” than the current system.

There are legitimate concerns with RCV. For example, complexity is a drawback (though, there are ways to address it that can and should be considered). But let’s please dispense with the nonsense.

Gary Hatfield  

Apple Valley