Thumbs up for ranked-choice voting; thumbs down for long list of candidates

  • Article by: Matt McKinney , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 6, 2013 - 12:13 AM

Minneapolis voters didn’t trip up on ranked-choice voting Tuesday — which faced its first major test since it was approved by voters seven years ago — but stumbled on the long list of 35 mayoral candidates.

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irvine93Nov. 5, 1311:36 PM

Increase filing fee to $200. This should reduce the number of candidates.

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owatonnabillNov. 6, 13 6:36 AM

So. If money is used to cut down on the number of candidates on the ballot, then what should the amount be? $100?, $500? $50,000? The evil of such a suggestion is beyond comprehension. It is no different than a poll tax. The intention is the same in either case. A poll tax effectively limits the number of voters by making sure that an on-the-spot tax at the time of voting will weed out poor "undesirable" voters (and by definition those of minority descent, as they most often are "the poor"), by the simple expedient of them not being able to afford the tax. Increasing the filing fee for the same reason is precisely the same thing as a poll tax. It uses money as the discriminator to weed out those candidates that some may arbitrarily see as "undesirable". The 24th Amendment ended the practice of instituting poll taxes in federal elections for exactly this reason, and taxing the candidates to limit their participation is no different.

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tullymnNov. 6, 13 6:47 AM

I'm guessing RCV caused the low turnout as too many people were confused about how to vote. Dump this mistake of an idea now.

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EleanoreNov. 6, 13 7:14 AM

RCV seems to be an idea that is right in line with our american ideals if not our current political climate. Of course the two dominant parties hate it. The idea of using a means test to exclude candidates from any election through a filing fee greater than $5 or one hour of whatever the minimum wage is goes completely against the values our nation is founded in. If anything people should be working to make sure everyone (without public subsidy for filing fee) can run for whatever office they wish by reducing the fee.

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EleanoreNov. 6, 13 7:37 AM

We don't have elections simply to make things easy for the DFL or GOP candidate to assume our authority. We have elections because people need individuals to represent them in our governing bodies. What we have now is no one representing the people, but a virtual lock on our authority by the two major parties (which effectively make them a single party). The more candidates to a point, the more ideas, the better. We need to eliminate political parties from the public sector and keep them in the private where they belong. RCV and low filing fees will help do that. No wonder party animals hate these ideas.

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stpaulisbestNov. 6, 13 7:42 AM

Of course no one is flummoxed by Ranked Choice/Instant Runoff. No one ever said they were. What a false issue. The real issue is whether it solves a problem in a democratic manner. It doesn't. In the first place, the "problem" it solves is that under the normal voting system a candidate can win a 3 way (or more) race without a majority of the votes cast simply by getting more votes than their opponents. Assuming you believe that to be a problem, and not everyone does, then you have to decide whether Ranked Choice/Instant Run Off solves the problem without disenfranchising the voters. It doesn't. In the first place, we always had a solution. It's called a run off election in which the three candidates who received the most votes stand for election in a run off. Normally the voter would have a chance to know who remains in the race and to hear from them again prior to the run off election. Nothing more democratic than that. But in Ranked Choice/Instant Run Off the voter is required to cast their run off vote before they even know who is still in the running. That causes two problems. First, a voter may wish to cast their vote differently depending upon who remains in the race and Ranked Choice/Instant Run Off deprives them of that knowledge. Second, if the voter's second and third choice candidates are not still in the race after the first round the voter is deprived of their right to vote in the run off at all. Really can't see how that is democracy in action. And if you think about it, Ranked Choice/Instant Run Off is really nothing more than a way for the voter to feel good about voting for a fringe candidate without feeling as though they have thrown their vote away. In that sense, it's actually geared toward making sure that minor party candidates don't get elected.

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elsamackNov. 6, 13 8:09 AM

I like RCV and actually didn't mind having a lot of candidates for mayor. I gave my 1 and 2 spots to people I thought would do the job in a competent manner and in line with my views, and my 3rd choice to the guy who probably represents my views most even if he's kind of out there. I know a few people who were approaching it that way. Much more fun and I do think more representative of what people really think. However, couldn't we alphabetize the list on the ballot? Sort of a pain standing there hunting for names.

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fanofcaribouNov. 6, 13 8:34 AM

stpaulisbest, I don't agree with your statement. Its probably true that a person may vote differently in a runoff election than they did in the earlier election, there by voting for someone they aren't in favor of. In the RCV, you vote for your favorite right away. There might be multiple candidates from a single party running. I would then get to vote for my favorite instead of having to decide whether to vote for the candidate selected by the party hacks. RCV gives me the ability to vote for the true candidate of my choice. Not some toady picked by a bunch of political hacks and contributors.

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swmnguyNov. 6, 13 8:36 AM

I like IRV, or RC, or whatever we're calling it. I also like having a bazillion mayoral candidates. I would prefer we eliminate all filing fees, but require 100 signatures on a petition, or something like that. That way money is not a barrier, but demonstrating at least some intent is.

I like IRV because we've had too many elections where the two main parties put up straw "Independent" candidates to siphon votes from the other guy and squeak by with a plurality. The two main parties claim that voting for the candidate who actually represents you is "wasting your vote." Then when a third-party candidate actually wins, the ousted incumbent trashes her office, destroys records, and the party apparatus makes sure to eliminate the third-party interloper as fast as possible, by any means available.

All the arguments against IRV or RC are arguments against democracy, when you boil them down. And really, I ignored all the hype until this past Sunday afternoon, when I surfed the web with a sample ballot in hand printed off the city website, and in 20 minutes had checked out every candidate. If you're not willing to do that, you wouldn't bother researching a two-candidate race either. And you wouldn't have gotten the giggle I got reading up on "Lauraist Communism." Your loss.

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banne1955Nov. 6, 13 8:37 AM

I am opposed to RCV for this reason: if I vote for one candidate and that candidate is at the bottom I DO NOT want my vote given to someone I did not vote for. That means I vote for the underdog and the big guy ends up with my vote? No. No. No.

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