LETTER: We should employ RCV to assure majority results.

Published on October 12, 2022

Pondering “Minnesota’s case study in election imperfection,” one might reasonably wonder about the relevance in 2022 of the uniquely squeaky 2008 election that pitted Al Franken against Norm Coleman for U.S. senator. Tice was careful to note that voter fraud was not the issue in the back-and-forth recount that year; messy and inconsistent handling of mailed ballots was. Nevertheless, we can be certain that “election deniers” read the piece — or glanced at the headline — and were crowing, “See! I told you our elections are unreliable.” (A wise letter in the same edition, “It’s eye-rolling season,” noted that negative campaign ads serve mainly to reinforce existing beliefs, not to persuade. Same idea.) The 2008 election could legitimately have been resolved by a coin flip. It was, statistically, a dead heat — 41.99% for Franken; 41.98% for Coleman. Let ’em arm-wrestle!

But there actually is a lesson from 2008, indicated by that (approximately) 42%-42% tie: Neither candidate was close to a majority. Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley was an also-ran that year, and he garnered 15.15% of the vote. A runoff election between Franken and Coleman would have been much faster and more satisfactory than the months of squabbling and appeals to the courts. (Georgia has runoff elections. Why can’t Minnesota?) Lacking an actual runoff, ranked-choice voting would have redistributed Barkley’s 15+% (and the small percents of other candidates) and determined a majority outcome. RCV has demonstrated in Twin Cities mayoral races that it works and is easy to use. We should employ it for other races to assure majority results.

David S. Miller, Minneapolis

Originally published in the Star Tribune
Published on October 12, 2022

More Posts You Might Like:

 

Letter: Ranked Choice Voting

To the editor: My political views often strike a more balanced position between the two parties. This stands true even more so today, given the heated and extreme rhetoric between Democrats and Republicans. This year, I feel I must vote for Democrats Aric Putnam and...

read more

LETTER: Support ranked-choice voting

Ranked-choice voting (RCV) promotes political moderation and compromise. Indeed, according to Prof. Larry Diamond of the Hoover Institution at Stanford, while some other reforms would be helpful (e.g., multiseat legislative districts), RCV is the single best...

read more