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Ranked Choice Voting = Smart

Ranked Choice Voting Followup

by Ian MacDougall

On February 25th  BocaFirst published an article I wrote on the merits of ‘Ranked Choice Voting’ also known as “Instant Runoff”. I laid out the case for Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) as follows:

  1. Under the plurality rule voting system predominant in our country, each citizen votes for a single candidate, and the candidate with the most votes wins, even if that candidate falls short of a majority.
  2. RCV eliminates the impact of ‘spoiler candidates – a ‘spoiler’ being a candidate who cannot win but whose presence on the ballot affects which candidate does win.
  3. At the time I wrote the article, RCV/Instant Runoff was the preferred electoral process in: Basalt, CO; Berkeley, CA; Cambridge, MA; Carbondale, CO; Minneapolis, MN; Oakland, CA; Portland, ME; San Francisco, CA; San Leandro, CA; Santa Fe, NM; St. Paul, MN; Takoma Park, MD; Telluride, CO

Follow-on BocaFirst articles Why Ranked Choice May be Boca’s Best Choice in Local Elections and Ranked Choice Voting is Superior to Boca’s Current Voting System further explain how the “Plurality without Runoff” voting system used by Boca Raton can be manipulated with spoiler candidates to achieve minority rule. 

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

Albert Einstein

Special Interests don’t want Ranked Choice Voting (aka Instant Runoff)

The very idea that Boca Raton should consider RCV is always well received by fair minded citizens. Ranked Choice Voting/Instant Runoff has thus far predictably been mocked and criticized by the special interest minority who have the most to lose. Not surprisingly, most of the country has chosen to ignore the views of  the special interests. So, the RCV movement continues to gather momentum across the country – and it’s gathering this momentum for the simple reason that it makes sense … it’s smart.

Ranked Choice Voting/Instant Runoff has thus far predictably been mocked and criticized by the special interest minority

In his analysis of RCV, mathematician Dr. Michael Lazlo of Nova Southeastern University, College of Computer Science , concluded “No voting system is perfect. However, as measured by a range of accepted principles for fair voting, RCV with its built-in Instant Runoff is much better than the plurality system. It has been adopted by a number of cities concerned about administering elections that are fair and honest. It’s a voting system that could serve Boca Raton well.”

If you agree RCV is the smart thing for Boca Raton, tell your City Council

At the end of this article is a list of 58 bills currently on ballots in 23 states that expand the use of ranked choice voting in the United States. For the latest on all the places in the U.S. using RCV, visit FairVote.org. If you agree that Ranked Choice Voting is the smart thing for Boca Raton, tell your City Council to get the ball rolling and get it on the ballot for November 2020:

Boca Raton City Council
Boca Raton City Council

As shown (L to R):
Jeremy Rodgers jrodgers@ci.boca-raton.fl.us
Andrea Levine O’Rourke aorourke@ci.boca-raton.fl.us
Mayor Scott Singer ssinger@ci.boca-raton.fl.us
Monica Mayotte mmayotte@ci.boca-raton.fl.us
Andy Thomson athomson@myboca.us


RCV Explained

Watch Time 2:35. RCV Explained.

23 States with Bills on the Ballots for 2020 Elections

California

  • SB 212: Would authorize cities, counties and local education agency to conduct ranked choice voting elections
  • SB 641: Would authorize the Governor to require that a special election to fill a vacancy in a congressional or legislative office be conducted by ranked choice voting.

Connecticut

  • 5820: To establish a task force to study ranked-choice voting  
  • 5036:  To use Ranked choice voting for state, district and municipal offices (single winner)
  • 6881: To allow ranked choice voting in municipal elections. 
  • SB 1050: To examine the feasibility of implementing ranked choice voting at elections.

Georgia

  • SB 98: Would authorize the use of ranked voting for runoffs by overseas citizens and military personnel; provide for special absentee ballots for such purpose; provide for related matters; repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. 

Hawaii

  • 427: Establishes ranked choice voting for special federal elections and special elections of vacant county council seats.  
    626: Requires vacancies in the office of United States Representative to be filled by special election that is conducted using ranked choice voting. 
  • 210: Provides ranked choice voting for all partisan primary, special, and general elections held in this State on or after 1/1/2020. 
  • 718: Establishes ranked choice voting for special federal elections and special elections of vacant county council seats. 
  • 1580: Establishes the ranked choice voting method of tabulation for all elections for elected office to ensure that elected officials received the majority of votes cast by the electorate. 
  • 680: Provides ranked choice voting for all partisan primary, special, and general elections held in this State on or after 1/1/2020. 
  • 956: Provides ranked choice method of voting for all partisan primary, special, and general elections held in this State on or after 1/1/2020. 
  • 450: Provides ranked choice voting for all partisan primary, special, and general elections held in this State on or after 1/1/2020. 

Indiana

  • SB 306:  Allows cities and towns an easier way to adopt ranked choice voting for local elections 

Maine

  • 1083: Implements ranked choice voting for presidential primaries and general elections 
  • 1196: Amends state constitution to allow ranked choice voting for state elections 
  • 1663: An act to clarify ranked choice voting laws
  • LD 114: Open primaries and a slight augmentation of how RCV is conducted 

Maryland

  • HB 26: Provides ranked choice voting for Baltimore’s council and mayor 
  • MC29-19: Allows a local option such as ranked choice voting for Montgomery County  

Massachusetts 

  • S. 414: Enact Ranked Choice Voting for all state and federal elections (except for President) 
  • S.420: Allows cities and towns an easier way to adopt ranked choice voting for local elections 
  • S. 406: For legislation to promote access to democracy in Massachusetts.
  • H 719: Relative to the use of ranked choice voting in certain elections.
  • H 635: Relative to providing a local option for ranked choice voting in municipal elections.

Minnesota

  • HB 983: Allows cities and towns an easier way to adopt ranked choice voting for local elections
  • HB 2424: Ranked choice voting local election jurisdictions option to adopt authorization and procedures for adoption, implementation and use establishment; municipalities use of electronic voting systems with a reallocation feature authorization
  • HB 1603: Election and campaign finance; various policy and technical changes made, automatic voter registration provided, voting rights of persons with felony convictions restored, early voting provided, automatic absentee ballot delivery authorized, ranked-choice voting authorized, National Popular Vote Interstate Compact adopted, campaign finance reporting requirements modified for Hennepin County elections and political subdivisions, expressly advocating definition modified, reporting of electioneering communications required, redistricting commission established, and money appropriated.

Missouri 

  • HB 27: Requires all state and federal offices to use a ranked choice voting method 
  • HB 28: Requires all local elections to use a ranked choice voting method 

Montana

  • HJ 11: Study of election processes and voting methods 

New Hampshire 

  • HB 728: Ranked choice voting for federal and state offices  

New Jersey 

  • A 1801: Allows ranked choice voting for certain local elective public offices 
  • A 5205: Establishes ranked-choice voting procedure for elections for Governor, State Senate, State General Assembly, United States Senate and House of Representatives, and presidential primaries and general elections for electors for United States President and Vice-President.

New Mexico

  • HB 407: Election Laws 50-year Tune-up, includes local RCV language

New York 

  • A 1420: Provides ranked choice voting for New York city’s elections for the office of mayor, public advocate or comptroller.
  • A 5261: Repeals the current system for run-off primary elections in the city of New York and replaces it with a ranked choice voting system.
  • A 7387: Creates a pilot program to provide for a ranked choice voting method to be used in up to ten local governments for two years and provides for repeal of provisions
  • S 796: Provides ranked choice voting for New York city’s elections for the office of mayor, public advocate or comptroller. 
  • S. 1447: Requires ranked choice voting for municipal elections in New York City 
  • S 2517: Creates a pilot program to provide for a ranked choice voting method to be used in up to ten local governments for two years and provides for repeal of provisions 
  • S 2717: Establishes a ranked choice voting method for certain local elections; provides for repeal of such provisions

North Carolina 

  • HB 994: Top-four open primary with ranked-choice voting in the general election

Oregon

  • HB 2984: Requires that Secretary of State provide official Military or Overseas Elector Ballot for Presidential Nominating Contests that permits military or overseas electors to rank candidates for party nomination for President of United States by order of preference.

Texas

  • HB 3514: Relating to use of preferential voting in certain elections
  • HB 2010:Relating to preferential voting in a primary election 

Utah

  • HB 277: Amendments to Municipal Alternate Voting Methods Pilot Project 

Vermont

  • H 444: An act relating to ranked choice voting
  • JRS 21: To require ranked choice voting in Joint Assembly elections  
  • SB 174: An act relating to ranked choice voting 

Virginia

  • HB 2751: Provides ranked choice voting elections for members of a county board of supervisors or city council. 
  • SB 1731: Provides ranked choice voting elections for members of a county board of supervisors or city council. 
  • HB 2097: Provides ranked choice voting elections for local and constitutional offices 

Washington

  • SB 5708: Allows cities and towns an easier way to adopt ranked choice voting for local elections 
  • HB 1722: Allows cities and towns an easier way to adopt ranked choice voting for local elections 

Wyoming

  • SF 0065: Provides ranked choice voting at primary and general elections as specified

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