To the editor:
Proponents of ranked-choice voting are quick to extol its virtues, but never acknowledge its faults.
This letter is intended to broaden the conversation past the unfounded fear mongering, which was recently published in a separate letter, and highlight a few of the obvious pitfalls with such a system.
RCV potentially disenfranchises voters by not having their ballots actually count as a vote. In a four-person race, if a voter finds two of the candidates completely unacceptable and refuses to rank them and the race makes it to a third round of voting, that person’s ballot is potentially thrown out, not even counted in the totals. There is even a term for this: Ballot exhaustion.
The push for RCV is apparently being spearheaded by a dozen or two hardcore residents who are backed up by an outside organization called FairVote Minnesota, which is spending resources to try to get this passed. The Bloomington City Council appears to be on board with this and happily voted to move it forward on April 20. Let’s not even mention that FairVote Minnesota was allowed to have a booth at Heritage Days last year, turning a community event into a political campaign platform. Why are they pushing for this so hard?
Perhaps the most glaring inaccuracy about the letter in support of RCV is the fearful tone it’s meant to strike in people heading to the polls in our COVID-19 environment, that you will get sick if you vote. Well folks, the results are in and Wisconsin saw zero bump in COVID-19 cases during their primary in early April. This sort of fear mongering to advance a political agenda is utterly disgusting.
I’ll leave you for now with the words of Jerry Brown, the (now former) Democratic governor of California, who in 2016 vetoed a bill expanding ranked-choice voting in his state: “In a time when we want to encourage more voter participation, we need to keep voting simple. Ranked-choice voting is overly complicated and confusing. I believe it deprives voters of genuinely informed choice.”