Monthly Archives: September 2011

Didn’t you get the Memo? Negative Campaigns thrive in Ranked Choice Voting Races

How many times have you heard “There will be clean campaigns with RCV because candidates want the 2nd and 3rd place votes”.  This is a common pitch by RCV supporters that just doesn’t hold any water.

The effectiveness of Negative Campaigns in RCV was demonstrated by the Jean Quan campaign in Oakland.  Quan paid for many hit pieces against Don Perata, and supported a “Anyone but Don” campaign, which included a negative website.  Quan spent the most money out of any elected Mayor.  The League of WOmen Voters lamented about how negative the campaign got, as they promoted RCV would introduce clean campaigns.

This formal is now being used in several RCV races around the country.  Negative campaigning abounds, beginning with the San francisco Mayor’s Race where candidates Herrera and Yee have come out with attacks on the current Mayor.

The Huffington Post reports “Dennis Herrera Releases Savage Attack on Ed Lee” and the Lt. Gov. of California asked Leland Yee to take down his attack video.

On the other side of the country, the RCV negative attack playbook is being used in Portland Maine, where they will be using RCV for the very first time.  Jed Rathband, who ran the RCV campaign, is now going negative.  His attacks have been relentless, and have caught the eye of the press.  Mayor Mavodones states he is sorry that some candidates “are going down the path” of negative campaigning.

RCV Repeal Measure Being Drafted in San Francisco by Supervisor

A recent ARTICLE in the San Francisco Chronicle, dissects the effect of the “so called reforms” of Ranked Choice Voting and Public Financing and reveals:

San Francisco Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who opposed the public financing and ranked-choice voting experiments, has begun drafting ballot measures to repeal them in June 2012. Taxpayers may well have second thoughts about public financing if it turns out they were contributing $900,000 to a campaign that ends up with 5 percent or less of the vote.

Ranked-choice voting could be similarly doomed if the election is close, with the winner finishing with 20 percent or less of the original vote – and a computer methodically sorting out the field in a process that leaves many voters angry and disenfranchised, and the new mayor without any semblance of a mandate. 

There are upwards to 16 candidates running for Mayor in SF.  Most all are receiving public financing for their campaigns in the RCV election.  They will get upwards to $900,000 each, if they meet the qualifications.  Many of these candidate getting the public financing are multi-millionaires themselves.

This could be a good election to watch, though with the entrance of current interim Mayor Ed Lee, he may take a bulk of the votes right away.