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Citizens for Oakland said that by October 18 they had spent $50,968.49 on their RCV "educational literature", $33,653.49 for printing 70,000 mailers and $17,315 for postage. So why do they claim they only spent $34,000 for or against candidates?
Also, Kaplan is missing from the second-to-last paragraph about what candidate committees had spent.
There are three simple, practical rules of thumb that can effectively guide nearly any voter in marking an RCV ballot for nearly any contest, including all of the scenarios mentioned in the article.
1. Mark your top three choices in order of preference.
For your second choice, ask yourself, who would I vote for if my first choice was not running? For your third choice, ask yourself, who would I vote for if neither my first choice nor my second choice were running. Marking a second choice can never hurt the chances of your first choice.
2. Do not mark a choice for a candidate that you do not want your vote to count for.
This second rule is really just a clarification of the first rule.
These two rules embody the strength of RCV, because you don't have to worry about the horse race, the polls, or strategizing, to apply them. Just which candidates do you like the most. As a result, marking an RCV ballot can be simpler than marking a vote-for-one ballot.
The third rule can sometimes be necessary because the current voting equipment limits a voter to marking just three choices. So for some voters in some contests there can still be some remnant of traditional vote-for-one strategy: vote for my favorite or vote for someone who has a chance of winning.
3. If it is at all likely that none of your top three choices will make it to the final round, pick your next most preferred candidate that has a better chance of making it to the final round and substitute that candidate for one of your chosen three. Keep making those substitutions until you are comfortable with the balance between choosing your top three and being confident that one of your chosen three will make it to the final round. Mark your chosen three in order of preference.
For someone who wants to beat De La Fuente, if Kaplan is his strongest opponent and is almost certain to make it to the final round, the three rules above mean:
A. Make sure Kaplan is one of the choices you mark. Mark your choices in order of preference. It is ok if Kaplan is your third choice.
B. Do not mark De La Fuente as one of your choices.
This article will be helpful for many people, but it might have been stronger if it had started with these three rules and then explained how the recommendations are examples of applying those rules.
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