Monthly Archives: October 2011

Major Paper – San Francisco Must Join Cities Discarding Ranked-Choice Voting

When the major paper comes out against Ranked Choice Voting, you have to stand up and take notice.  Papers have a pulse on the City and its citizens.

That’s why it comes to no surprise that after 8 years, the major San Francisco paper is calling it quits for RCV.

“We were told that it would increase voter turnout. Backers of RCV said it would be cheaper and faster. Voters were even told that it would reduce the amount of negative campaigning.

Instead, none of these things have come true. Our own elections chief, John Arntz, has been open about the fact that ranked-choice voting “hasn’t made [elections] easier to administer or led to increased turnout.” But it has confused people — and how.”

Why the big turnaround? Because as one voting expert once said: “Ranked-choice voting is like asbestos — it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

They go on to report that Supervisor Elsbernd plans to introduce a a measure to end the City’s “political laboratory experiment” with RCV.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:



University Students and SF Mayor find RCV Confusing

In the halls of higher learning to San Francisco City Hall, the issue of the complexity of Ranked Choice Voting is a hot topic.

The Aggie reports students at the prestigious UC Davis find RCV complicated and tend to stay away from the polls, thus reducing turnout.

“In general people don’t know all that much about what’s going on when they vote,” Prof. Scheiner said. “That gets even more complicated if you ask them to rank their preferences in any kind of way.”  Because most voters are only familiar with one or two candidates, asking voters to rank six choices can send some running from the ballot boxes.

Many feel student government should represent more than the campus’ political avant grade, those that understand the Ranked Choice Voting System.

In San Francisco, after nearly a decade and millions of dollars spent for Ranked Choice Voting Education, many are still confused.  So much so that a 2008 Grand Jury took the Elections Department to task for voter AND Poll worker confusion.  The Mayor of San Francisco recently said:

“I want to take another look at this ranked-choice voting,” Lee told the Examiner. San Francisco needs to do a better job educating voters about the oft-confusing process “at least,” the mayor said. “A lot of peopl eare saying they still don’t know what happens to their vote.”

After trying to describe RCV, the ARTICLE closed with a familiar theme: “Make sense? If not, you’re not alone.

Senior Statistician at Oxford University on Ranked Choice Voting Strategies

A RECENT article by Dr. Jack O’Brien of Oxford University has raised the hackles of the the Ranked Choice Voting salesmen.  Mr. O’Brien describes the complex tactical considerations voters must decide when using Ranked Choice Voting.  He also laments about the complexity of the rules and strategies.

FairVote, the group responsible for selling Ranked Choice Voting in the United States, calls this Oxford Statistician’s analysis “irresponsible”.  Implies he does;t know what he’s tailing about.  I’m sure this is the first time Dr. O’Brien’s analysis has been attacked in such manner.

Interestingly, FairVote makes a lots money off running a consulting service to administer Ranked Choice Voting elections.  But wait, there’s more; FairVote’s leader was quoted recently in the Wall Street Journal as to wanting to keep the ranking results secret, and just announce the “winner”. “I’ve come to believe we shouldn’t put all the rankings (results) out there for for people to mull over and second-guess the outcomes”.  I guess if you count the ballots, and decide the winner, you don’t want anyone else to see how it was done.

Ranked Choice Voting – Restricting Voting Rights

Ranked Choice Voting will be used for the first time in Portland Maine to select its Mayor.

They have contracted out the vote counting to a company in a no-bid contract.  This company’s supporters advocated the use of RCV in Portland.  They will be using un-certified methods and software to come up with the winner.

A recent editorial blasted the new Ranked Choice Voting as “Voter-Suppression” implemented by the towns Political Elite.  The ballot design is similar to the most complex Soduku puzzle ever invented.

It is described this way:

” Let’s Create A Ballot So Complicated That Only Elite Types With Advanced Degrees From The Finest Universities Will Be Able To Successfully Fill It Out, Thereby Disenfranchising High School Graduates, Community College Losers, And Anyone Who Works For A Living And Doesn’t Have The Time Or Money To Take An Eight-Hour Course Explaining The Process.”

Though the author may seem a little over-the-top, all studies have shown the “less sophisticated voters” make many more mistakes and have their ballots thrown out at much higher rates the the Political Elite.