Ranked Choice Voting Undermines Confidence in Fair Elections

By |2023-10-12T18:17:51-04:00June 29th, 2023|

Combine large numbers of tossed-out ballots, unexpected election outcomes where candidates with a minority of overall support win, and complicated and convoluted, behind-the-scenes tabulation processes, and it’s easy to see how voters are suspicious of Ranked Choice Voting elections.

In the Sandy Utah mayoral election, 23,000 voters participated in the election, but only 17,000 ultimately had a say in the process due to “exhausted” votes which were thrown out during the instant runoffs. The ultimate winner, Monica Zoltanski, sums up Sandy, Utah’s experience with Ranked Choice Voting, …”the messages I received loud and clear from the people of Sandy was ‘Ranked Choice Voting? No thanks.’”

Second-choice Candidates Have an Advantage in Ranked Choice Voting Elections

By |2023-10-12T18:18:21-04:00June 29th, 2023|

From the Federalist, “It’s not just tabulation problems that make RCV a conduit for upside-down election processes and results. The process subverts the will of voters by helping push out insurgent candidates who have majority support from their party’s voters for establishment-backed contenders who can’t win outright. This is how Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was able to win her primary against Trump-backed challenger Kelly Tshibaka during the 2022 midterms.

Because many Democratic voters listed Murkowski as their second choice during the jungle primary, Murkowski won a majority of votes on the second round of tabulation. RCV is also how Democrat Mary Peltola last year won Alaska’s lone […]

As Many As 1 in 3 Voters May Have Their Votes Tossed

By |2023-10-12T18:18:31-04:00June 29th, 2023|

Even according to the liberal FairVote group pushing for Ranked Choice Voting, as many as one in three voters may only list their first choice of candidate. This means that in the event of an automated instant runoff, all of those votes are literally thrown out and have no impact on the selection of the winning candidate.

According to reports from Utah, “…officials have reported multiple problems with enacting the state’s RCV pilot program in county elections. Because of the complicated nature of the tabulation process with RCV, many ballots have failed to be counted. For example, 58 percent of ballots were either discarded or spoiled […]

Candidates with the Most First Place Votes Can, and do, Lose

By |2023-10-12T18:18:41-04:00June 29th, 2023|

From the Honest Elections Project, “In 2018, incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) lost to Democrat Jared Golden despite initially winning a plurality of first-place votes. In 2010, Don Perata won the first-place vote for mayor of Oakland, California, but ultimately lost to Jean Quan—a defeat the New York Times attributed to the ‘power of finishing second in a ranked-choice election.'”

Ranked Choice Voting is Excessively Complicated for Election Officials Too

By |2023-10-12T18:19:07-04:00June 29th, 2023|

Ranked Choice Voting (sometimes called Contingency Voting) is exceedingly complicated for both voters and election officials. In this system, not only do officials “count” ballots, they are reponsible for recasting votes on behalf of voters in the automated instant runoffs.

From Honest Elections Project: “Because RCV elections are so complex, identifying mistakes is far more difficult. The residents of Oakland, California are witnessing this first hand. Officials failed to properly tabulate RCV ballots, and even worse, did not discover their mistake until after the results were certified—and after the wrong candidate in a school board race was declared the winner. Now, the real winner is suing to be […]

Ranked Choice Voting Makes Elections Less Transparent

By |2023-10-12T18:19:16-04:00June 29th, 2023|

Once the voter fills out a ballot with multiple ranked choices, they’re done with the process. All automated runoffs and remaining rounds of “voting” take place behind the scenes and out of public oversight.

Voters’ choices are redistributed by election officials to other candidates in one or more rounds of instant runoff cycles — all of which happen behind closed doors without voter participation.

Winning Candidates May Not Even Receive a Majority of All Votes

By |2023-10-12T18:19:25-04:00June 29th, 2023|

If an automated runoff occurs because no candidate reaches a majority in the first round, and ballots of some or many voters are “exhausted (thrown out!), the winner is determined by a simple majority of remaining votes. Under this circumstance, that winner may have only achieved a minority of votes from ALL participating voters.

“Exhausted” Ballots = Disenfranchised Voters

By |2023-10-12T18:19:37-04:00June 29th, 2023|

If a voter does not happen to rank one of the top vote-getters who become part of the automated second-stage runoff, their ballot is considered “exhausted.” That’s polite language meaning their original vote is thrown away, and that voter no longer has any say in the completion of the voting process.

Ranked Choice Voting “Manufactures” “Majority” Winners

By |2023-10-12T18:19:44-04:00June 28th, 2023|

Especially in crowded primary elections, Ranked Choice Voting is likely to “manufacture” a “majority” candidate even though voters didn’t select one. Two things happen in Ranked Choice runoffs when no candidate wins a majority.

Any voter who does not specify backup choices has their ballot excluded (tossed out!) in the second-stage counting process. This is voter disenfranchisement plain and simple.

Especially in crowded primary elections, it is likely no candidate will win a majority in the first round. In these cases, a “manufacturing” of “promoting second and third choice candidates creates a winner. Candidates with less than majority support are declared winners.


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