Ranked-choice voting is flawed; Minneapolis knows it

  • Article by: Devin Rice
  • Updated: May 31, 2013 - 11:25 PM

Suppose a chicken farmer lost 10.5 percent of his chickens from his coop. Would it make sense for the farmer to hire a fox from the area to determine how to best prevent future losses and analyze the security of the coop?

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stcroixdiverMay. 31, 1311:27 PM

Well said.

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cpcasserlyJun. 1, 1312:05 AM

RCV is a solution in search of a problem.

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davehougJun. 1, 13 1:04 AM

Ranked Choice Voting picks a majority winner like one more round would pick a unanimous winner. :(

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monkeyplanetJun. 1, 13 8:05 AM

I voted in the 2009 election, and didn't find it the least bit confusing - just an adjustment in how you read and mark the ballot. Moreover, IRV is meant to provide some corrective to the suffocating two-party system. It may or may not work in the long run, but it's the best attempt I've seen in my lifetime. If we can't expect people to do something very basic - rank choices instead of marking one box - there really is no hope for this country. All these people who are screaming about how bad IRV is for minorities should perhaps pause to consider how such histrionics affect the perception of those groups in the eyes of the broader public. It definitely lends credence to the notion that some people don't have sufficient intelligence to be trusted with the vote.

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tmrichardsonJun. 1, 13 8:27 AM

I find it interesting that the people pushing back the hardest on ranked choice voting happen to be have HIGHLY partisan affiliation. I might agree that RCV is the wrong solution to the problem--but the solution is to cripple the stranglehold the two parties have on the system! They submit candidates that fit their party profile--both of which are more extreme than the average Minnesotan--and voters continually find themselves voting not for their preferred candidate, but for the one they hate the least!

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davehougJun. 1, 1310:25 AM

RCV elects a majority winner like one more round would elect a unanimous winner. :(

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jastkeJun. 1, 1310:59 AM

The RCV concept is not flawed; in fact RCV is more likely than any other system to produce an election result most closely matching the intent of the voting public as a whole. As this writer points out, the flaws that do exist in the system are procedural issues, primarily involving incorrectly-marked ballot. This is easily remedied by electronic vote tabulators flagging an incorrectly-marked ballot as it is read by the counter, allowing the voter to re-vote. Also, as voters become accustomed to marking an RVC ballot the incidence of incorrectly-marked ballots will drop significantly.

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ziggymJun. 1, 13 2:56 PM

"RCV is more likely than any other system to produce an election result most closely matching the intent of the voting public as a whole"-- posted by Jake. Not so, actually. A better way is probably the Condorcet method, in which ranked vote lists (entire ballots) go head-to-head with each other and no vote is "put aside" as in RCV. It's more mathematically complex and RCV is the easier alternative method. Another idea is actual runoff voting. However, it requires two elections, but we have that right now in non-city races: a primary and a final. Actual runoff would allow the two top candidates from the primary to the final ballot; third party candidates who didn't come out in the top two won't be on the ballot, but they have a better shot in runoff voting than regular plurality voting. There other methods of voting as well. I like the idea of RCV, but in practice it hasn't worked out as intended.

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jastkeJun. 1, 13 3:55 PM

ziggym raises a good point. The Condorcet method is excellent for a small number of candidates and a small number of voters, for example a city council deciding on which of three candidates to hire for a position. I didn't consider it when I posted earlier because, as ziggym said, it's not feasible for a typical public election. There is also a problem with the Condorcet method in that it does not guarantee a winner. The best-known example of this is the rock-paper-scissors choice. Another point in ziggym's post to address is the mention of votes being "put aside" in RCV. By ranking the candidates the voter effectively authorizes his/her vote to be changed according to the rules of the system. No vote is lost or "put aside" and no vote counts twice. These incorrect terms are often used by those who try to discredit RCV.

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davehougJun. 1, 13 5:44 PM

RCV says no vote counts twice........well that depends on semantics. However all agree the whole purpose of RCV is to make it easier for 3rd party candidates. I am as uneasy about that as saying only landowners, women, free men can vote. It is all about the result......not one person one vote and let the candidate with the most votes win.

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