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Readers Write, Star Tribune: Ranked Choice Voting

RANKED-CHOICE VOTING

Star Tribune l December 17, 2016


Seems as though the arguments against are so much razzle-dazzle

Shawn Towle’s Dec. 15 editorial counterpoint attacking ranked-choice voting (“Ranked voting is the rankest way to vote”) left me puzzled.

He first stated that RCV is “not more inclusive” regarding voter participation, and insinuated without evidence that it is somehow responsible for voter turnout decline in St. Paul in a couple of specific elections and districts.

He complains that RCV has decreased the incentive for candidates to engage in ugly negative attacks on one another because they are competing for their rival’s second-choice voters. How is that a bad thing?

His argument that RCV somehow protects incumbency is simply nonsense. If incumbents are “most often the highest vote recipient in the first round” and the most-popular second choice, then they should be elected regardless of how the votes are cast.

The remainder of his argument seems to conclude that a less-favored candidate should somehow be entitled to win because opposing votes are split between a more-favored candidate and a third-party candidate. This sort of “gotcha” approach to voting does not serve the will of the people. In the real world, people often have strongly held first-, second- and even third-choice opinions regarding who they want to see receive their “one precious vote.” Our system of voting should reflect the real world.

Peter Rainville, Minneapolis

 

In late November, Towle formally announced his formation of a political-action committee to repeal ranked-choice voting in St. Paul. Although he is new to that job, his Star Tribune counterpoint should not have contained so many unforced errors.

Before sallying further forth he should:

1) Get facts straight. The one competitive City Council seat race in 2011 in St. Paul occurred in the Second Ward. Voter turnout in the ward increased from 16.8 percent in 2007 (with the same top two finishers competing under our traditional plurality voting system) to 17.7 percent in 2011 (under ranked-choice voting.) This constitutes a mild increase in voter turnout and contradicts his assertion that Second Ward turnout decreased in 2011. This should have been fact-checked beforehand at www.ramseycounty.us.

2) Ditto for his statement that ranked voting has produced no majority victories. Incumbent City Council member David Thune won re-election to his Second Ward seat in 2011 under ranked-choice voting with support from 52.9 percent of the voters.

Thomas Kuhlman, Eden Prairie