Everything you need to know about RCV (but were afraid to ask)

  • Article by: LORI STURDEVANT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 2, 2013 - 2:00 PM

We’ll soon get a good test of whether this voting method is worth the time and effort.

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redeye12Nov. 2, 13 7:15 PM

You missed one question. Why have RCV? It will confuse people. It costs a lot more than one person, one vote. And it creates the danger of a loose screw candidate winning. Afterall, a lot of people voted for Jesse as a joke. Mpls could get Jack Sparrow. And it would be fitting and well deserved.

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davehougNov. 2, 13 7:50 PM

RCV elects a majority candidate like having more rounds elects a unanimous candidate.

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bhbhbhbhbhNov. 2, 13 9:42 PM

Lori: You would do the public a service by explaining how un-needed this new wrinkle is to the public.

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RossbergNov. 2, 1311:18 PM

RCV has its place - in school elections where the goals are to not have anyone feel like a loser and to keep the contest civil. However, in actual elections a false state of comity which results from the pursuit of second and third place votes dilutes the needed conflict of ideas and denies the voters the opportunity to see the true distinctions between candidates. In essence the contest is reduced to seeing who can be on their best behavior by being the least offensive toward the other candidates rather than taking the chance of sharply disagreeing with them. Out of this Miss Manners-inspired muddle of nice boys and girls the voters are supposed to potentially accept a second or third place finisher as their next leader? I wouldn't write off primaries and single choice elections just yet. Democracy is supposed to be combative and the best person usually does win.

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thorc1Nov. 3, 13 5:04 AM

Abraham Lincoln secured the Republican nominiation for president by what was essentially ranked choice voting some 150 years ago. That worked out pretty well.

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weisz015Nov. 3, 13 7:37 AM

I sat with my wife and tried to figure out the ballot. VERY CONFUSED. I have always voted but I am not sure if I vote this ballot. In addition 2 charter amendments that ask us to approve a change of language to the city charter. DO I trust a gov. lawyer to rewrite the city charter in plain language? Hell NO. I want to see and vote for the actual language.

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redorblueNov. 3, 13 7:52 AM

Prediction: The following Mpls mayors race will not use RCV, and the reason why will be obvious after the coming fiasco on Tuesday, which will spill into Wed, perhaps Thursday, and who knows how long before they are able to declare a winner. RCV is nonsense, just another "feel good" idea where everybody gets a blue ribbon. What a large waste of ink/bandwidth on this topic.

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arspartzNov. 3, 1311:24 AM

Abraham Lincoln secured the Republican nominiation for president by what was essentially ranked choice voting some 150 years ago. That worked out pretty well.

Both parties effectively use RCV in the conventions. The re-voting works when you have a captive group of voters who can cast repeated ballots until they achieve a majority. Those same parties now want to keep the one chance to vote system for the general election. What are they afraid of, a viable 3rd party who would otherwise be considered a throw-away?

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redeye12Nov. 3, 13 1:06 PM

@thorc1, there is a big difference between a nominating convention and a general election. The convention uses RCV to winnow the candidate list to a managable number. The election itself shouldn't do this.

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stpaulisbestNov. 3, 13 1:07 PM

If it's so great, easy and simple then why the full court press? Maybe it's because it's actually confusing and disenfranchising. Notice how they aren't calling Ranked Choice by it's original name, Instant Runoff. The whole point of Ranked Choice is to have the winner of an election be the person who got the majority of the votes cast, not just more votes than any other candidate. The ides is, in effect, to have a runoff without the expense and time of a runoff. But here's where the idea breaks down. In a real runoff, the voter knows which candidates are remaining in the race. That's the crucial bit of knowledge denied to the voter in Ranked Choice. If none of your candidates is in the runoff your right to have a vote in the runoff is denied to you. As well, if the voter knows who is in the run off race, they may vote for one candidate rather than another to make sure a candidate who they think is a really bad choice doesn't get in. Or not. But without the knowledge of who remains in the race at the run off point, they are effectively denied the right to make a choice based upon their own reasoning and perceptions. Not very democratic after all, is it?

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