George Walker 
Member since Apr 11, 2012


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Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

I saw this on the Internet, so I am not sure if it is a story or an op-ed piece. It certainly reads like an op-ed. But if so, it is poorly researched. Ranked choice voting has been tried in many other countries and several municipalities in the United States, some of which have kept it and some of which have dropped the system. Both the advantages and disadvantages are well known. The advantages are that you have to campaign to all voters and build coalitions. The disadvantages are not the one's you list here about voters being disenfranchised, but the exact opposite. Most voters think that they have to vote for every office on the ballot which is why the vast majority cast ballots for races like library boards that they know nothing about. What happens with ranked choice is that the candidates who are well known don't get a vote from their opponent and the risk is that a crazy person can be elected with second and third votes. To use an oversimplified example, in the Bush/Gore Presidential race, there would have been a reasonable chance of Ralph Nader becoming President because he would have been both sides second choice. In New York City they tried ranked choice back in the 30's and elected two open communist's and one open fascist to their city council over two elections. There are always some crazies that make it, but ranked choice leads to more. The question is if forcing politicians to not be nasty and to campaign for everyone is worth the tradeoff. No one thinks Jean Quan could have won under the regular elections and many think she won because Perata was left off the most ballots as the frontrunner. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? The city needs to decide.

4 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by George Walker on 04/11/2012 at 9:29 AM

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