Friday, November 2, 2012

How to Stop Ignacio De La Fuente and Other Ranked-Choice Voting Tips

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 1:11 PM

We’ve been getting inquiries from readers on the most effective ways to block Oakland Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente from winning under the ranked-choice-voting (RCV) system. So if you’re a supporter of Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan or of one of the challengers — Theresa Anderson, Mick Storm, or Carol Lee Tolbert — and you don’t want De La Fuente to win the At-Large council race, here are some tips for what to do on your ranked-choice ballot (these tips also apply to other East Bay races, as I’ll explain below):

Based on polling data, it’s safe to assume that the Oakland At-Large contest will come down to Kaplan versus De La Fuente. If you’re a Kaplan supporter, and your primary goal is to make sure that she wins and De La Fuente doesn’t, then you should list Kaplan as your first choice on your ballot:

1. Kaplan
2.
3.

Kaplan
  • Kaplan
Notice above that I put no candidates beneath Kaplan. You could put candidates in these slots if you want to but they likely would never be counted since Kaplan is probably not going to be eliminated from the balloting before the last round of ranked-choice tabulations against De La Fuente. Remember, second- and third-place choices don’t get counted unless your first choice is eliminated in the tabulations.

However, if you like Kaplan and you also like one or two of the other non-De La Fuente candidates, then you have other choices: You can select one of those candidates first, and Kaplan second, or you can put those candidates first and second, and Kaplan third. The same is true if you really do like one or two candidates better than Kaplan. For example, you could do this:

1. Storm
2. Kaplan

Or

1. Tolbert
2. Kaplan

Or

1. Tolbert
2. Storm
3. Kaplan

Or

1. Storm
2. Tolbert
3. Kaplan

If your primary goal is to block De La Fuente, the four above scenarios also would likely work. That’s because Storm, Tolbert, and Anderson are not likely going to end up with enough first-place votes to make the final round of ranked-choice tabulations. As I said, the two finalists are likely going to be Kaplan and De La Fuente. As a result, if you put one or two candidates (not De La Fuente) before Kaplan, then those votes will likely be eliminated in the first few rounds of ranked-choice tabulations, and then your second or third choice for Kaplan effectively becomes a first choice for her.

For example, if your ballot looks like this:

1. Storm
2. Tolbert
3. Kaplan

And Storm is then eliminated, your ballot effectively changes to this:

1. Tolbert
2. Kaplan

And then when Tolbert is eliminated, your ballot effectively becomes this:

1. Kaplan

Basically, it comes down to this: If you don’t want De La Fuente to win, then don’t put him anywhere on your ballot, and select Kaplan as your first, second, or third choice, because she has the best shot at beating him. Although you might like the other three candidates more than Kaplan, if you leave her off your ballot, then you increase De La Fuente's chance of winning.

On the other hand, if your primary goal is to defeat Kaplan and elect De La Fuente or one of the other candidates, then simply insert De La Fuente’s name where Kaplan’s is in all the above scenarios.

Oakland Council District 7 (East Oakland)

If your goal in this race is to defeat incumbent Larry Reid, then you should keep him off your ballot and select challengers Sheryl Walton and Beverly Williams either as your first or second choices:

1. Walton
2. Williams

Or

1. Williams
2. Walton

If your goal is to elect Reid, then the easiest course is to select him first and leave the rest of your ballot blank for this race.

Oakland City Attorney

This one’s easy, because there are only two candidates: Barbara Parker and Jane Brunner. Select one of them as your first choice and then leave the rest of your ballot blank for this race. Picking either one of them second is a waste of time because those choices will never be counted.

Berkeley Mayor

Bates
  • Bates
This race is very much like the Oakland At-Large contest. If your goal is to reelect Mayor Tom Bates, then the easiest method is to pick him as your first choice. Like the Kaplan scenario above, it also likely won’t matter whom you pick as your second and third choices because those choices will probably never be counted. The reason is that this race is likely going to come down to Bates against either Councilman Kriss Worthington or challenger Jacquelyn McCormick. So selecting anyone after Bates on your ballot is probably a waste of time.

In short, the easiest course for Bates supporters is to do this:

1. Bates
2.
3.

On the other hand, if your goal is to defeat Bates, and you prefer both Worthington and McCormick to him, then you should put either Worthington or McCormick first on your ballot, and then select the other of the two as your second choice. Putting anyone else third is a probably a waste of time because those choices will likely never be counted:

1. Worthington
2. McCormick

Or

1. McCormick
2. Worthington

However, if you like Worthington, but not McCormick, and you would be okay with Bates winning if Worthington or another candidate doesn’t, then you should probably do this:

1. Worthington
2. Bates

Or

1. Khalil Jacobs Fantauzzi (or another candidate)
2. Worthington
3. Bates

Likewise, if you like McCormick, but not Worthington, and you would be okay with Bates winning if McCormick or another candidate doesn’t, then you should probably do this:

1. McCormick
2. Bates

Or

1. Bernt Rainer Wahl (or another candidate)
2. McCormick
3. Bates

Clarification: I clarified this post after receiving feedback from readers who said the original version was confusing.

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