FairVote AZ Newsletter - RCV - Please share with any appropriate supporters
Bits & Pieces
FairVote AZ advocating for Ranked Choice Voting
Arizona Secretary of State declines invitation (to date) of a showing for a different type of election vendor – one that supports RCV. FairVote AZ was noted in a letter from TrueBallot, an election vendor who uses ballot imaging (supported by many interested in election integrity) and is able to run RCV elections. They requested that the AZ SOS allow them an audience to demonstrate their system. That was early March. To date, there was been no response.
Our next meeting will (hopefully) be a conference call meeting.
We hope that many of you who SAY you would like to attend meetings but can’t fit it in your schedule, will take advantage of this opportunity.
Details of when and how will follow in another email.
Bill Maher offers an idea for change instead of just ‘getting angry.’ (Guess what)
Interviewing Jesse Ventura, Maher says that ‘tea-baggers’ and independents need to do something to change our elections other than just getting angry. [Not sure why he thinks only ‘tea-baggers’ and independents are angry.] His suggestion is RCV, although he calls it ‘alternative voting’ (used in UK ). Ventura is also a supporter, while putting in a strong plug for NOTA (none of the above), which many of our Libertarian members have been advocating as well. Warning: there are some anti-religious remarks for those who may be offended by that. Video about 9 minutes, although clearest part about RCV at about 4:00 minutes in.
Lesson for cities under Maricopa County , AZ ?
A California County has 3 cities ready to share the cost. Berkeley , San Leandro and Oakland (the latter which had a voter’s mandate to do so) have all adopted RCV. This means it will cost the county less to implement and the three cities first signing on will be compensated if and when other communities in the county do the same.
OSCARS – where RCV wins Personal Editorial
Most everyone interested in RCV knows that the Oscars have now adopted the RCV system to pick their ‘Best movie of the year’ (and other awards). I think the tight race between the top two movies of the 10 nominated perfectly explains RCV. I saw both Avatar and the Hurt Locker. I can’t believe anyone would not think both are well done movies. Of course Avatar got all the hype, all the money and much pre-press. The Hurt Locker was a smaller budgeted film and a ‘small’ picture by Hollywood star standards.
So, am I saying that the Hurt Locker was a better picture and deserved to win? No, if I had voted, I am not even sure which I would have listed as my first choice, like comparing apples and tootsie rolls. What I am saying is that RCV probably made the right choice. Those who like Avatar were strong supporters, major fans; but not everyone appreciates science fiction, no matter how good the special effects of combining mechanics and facial expression. The Hurt Locker was an excellent depiction of a small number of soldiers who work in the bomb squad and their personalities. In the end, more of the people voting for this film (a true majority) appreciated it more than Avatar. In other words, RCV didn’t necessarily pick the film with the largest number of fans, but the one that overall more people preferred in the ‘best film’ category. For those paying attention, this was not a shabby showing for RCV, a winner in the ‘best election system’ category.
P.S. You can also see a pre-show article “Activists pin hopes on the Academy” at link below. It quotes both Rob Richie, Ex director and President of FairVote, CVD
Heartbreaker in Burlington -- IRV repealed 52% to 48%
Despite a very strong local campaign and resources to get its message out, in March IRV was repealed by Burlington voters for mayor by 51.9% to 48.1%, a margin of 300 votes. IRV carried five of the city's seven wards, but lost heavily in the wards where the two Republican ringleaders of the repeal drive led the effort. Republicans were highly motivated after last year's defeat when they led in first choices, but the incumbent Progressive mayor won after just getting 29% of first choice rankings. He then became a lot more unpopular after a financial scandal.
This is a terribly tough one to lose, and to explain, but there are reasons. I am posting here something that Rob Richie wrote about it.
“ IRV in Burlington only has been used in two mayoral races, as it was not adopted for city council races. Its defeat stems from a simple fact: the only candidate ever to win with IRV in Burlington is current mayor Bob Kiss, who won two elections for mayor in 2006 and 2009 in hotly contested races where no candidate won 40% of first choices. In a city with three major parties, all with roughly comparable support, victories for only one party's nominee meant that a majority of voters had yet to see their first choice win in an IRV race. Kiss was the majority choice over his top opponents in 2006 and 2009, to be sure, but with new controversies in his administration in the past year, it was clear that in a referendum on the mayor this year, he would lose. “
Note: IRV went down with him. If the whole council had been elected with RCV this probably would not have been the case and would not have been a repeal referendum as it would have elected candidates other than ‘Progressives’ in several races. Then there would not have been an effort, or a reason to try to tag IRV as progressive. We will probably see things in other areas were they tag it as a Libertarian, or Green, or Tea-party movement ploy. Still it remains a heartbreaker.
Just out of interest, in Burlington , RCV had won outright when implemented, there are many jurisdictions where it has passed but where implementation is tied to contingencies. There is movement in some of these places so perhaps not an approach to ignore in AZ. Some of those jurisdictions with contingencies include:
- Ferndale, MI (charter amendment adopted 2004)
- North Carolina localities (2008 state law permits pilot use in 2009-2011)
- Santa Clara County, CA (adopted 1998)
- Santa Fe, NM (charter amendment adopted 2008)
- Sarasota, FL (charter amendment adopted 2007)
- Vancouver, WA (charter amendment adopted 1999)
- Davis, CA (for Choice, 2004)
And to prove the point that this is not a ploy as above: 2 Republicans in Minnesota explain their support for IRV-RCV
Ranked-choice voting would benefit all parties & all Minnesota voters
By George and Sally Pillsbury | Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Last month, Eric Black put forth the proposition that ranked-choice voting (also known as instant-runoff voting) "would help two of Minnesota's three parties." As card-carrying, "big tent" members of that third party, the Republicans, permit us to make the case that ranked-choice voting (RCV) will actually benefit all parties and all Minnesota voters.
First, though, a little background. Without much fanfare, over the last two decades our state has slipped into the habit of electing plurality winners to office. Only in 1996 and 2006 did we send our U.S. senators to Washington with support from a majority of the state's voters. Our last governor elected by a majority was Arne Carlson in 1994.
Some may think little of this phenomenon, but the truth is that minority status puts a hobble on our elected officials at a time when we have a profound need for leaders who can lengthen their stride enough to step across partisan lines. Far better for them — and for us — that our officeholders serve with the benefit of knowing that they were elected with the support of a majority of voters.
For rest of article, see:
A Tea Party without Nuts
Op-Ed columnist for NYTimes, Thomas Freidman is cheerleading for RCV. Of course, with our many AKAs you might not recognize it but since he is an expert on international elections, he uses the UK name ‘alternative voting.’
Hendersonville (NC) city council Vote unanimously for IRV in 2011
“Council for instant runoffs. City officials show unanimous support
Want a Clear Case for the need for IRV? Just watch Massachusetts
In the 4-13-2010 Special Democratic Primary for State Senate in Massachusetts, the "winner" got a mere 30% of the vote, with the runner-up splitting the vote with the remaining candidates but still garnering 29% of the vote: [The details? DiDomenico pulled in 70% of the vote in Everett , where he's a City Councilor. Flaherty, Simmons, and Benzan all have their bases in Cambridge and split the vote there. Progressives also split their vote between those latter three and Albano . Flaherty is asking for a recount, and has pledged to run against DiDomenico in the fall regardless of the outcome. Whoo yee. That hurts just to read. ]
JOHN NICHOLS (The Nation) reports on the BUZZ of IRV
I.R.V. BUZZ: Instant runoff voting, the smart reform that makes majority rule possible in multi-candidate elections, is finally capturing the imagination of the opinion leaders, who just might jump-start this movement at the national level. Über-influential New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman--not a frequent recipient of praise from this magazine--started things off with a March 24 column that noted how some Republicans had voted against healthcare reform because they feared retribution in party primaries, and how Democrats are similarly fearful on other issues. "When your political system punishes lawmakers for...doing the right things, it is broken," he wrote.
What to do? "Break the oligopoly of our two-party system" with redistricting reforms that take the power to draw Congressional district lines out of the hands of partisans, argued Friedman, and "get states to adopt 'alternative voting'" that allows voters to rank an independent candidate "your No. 1 choice, and the Democrat or Republican No. 2. Therefore, if the independent does not win, your vote is immediately transferred to your second choice, say, the Democrat. Therefore, you have no fear that in voting for an independent you might help elect your real nightmare--the Republican."
The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg, a veteran reform advocate, welcomed Friedman aboard "for what we electoral-reform monomaniacs call...I.R.V.," and an elated FairVote executive director Rob Richie chimed in with a note that "Hurt Locker won the best picture Oscar with this system, and voters handle it well in major elections in Minneapolis and San Francisco and in nations like Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom." Now if we could just get Friedman excited about reforming our broken "free trade" policies.
Most want proportional representation: Council of Canadians poll
by Cathryn Atkinson, April 15, 2010. Shows Canadians DO still want PR
From FairVote MN newsletter:
More Colleges and Universities Getting Schooled on the Benefits of RCV
A growing number of student groups at higher Ed institutions across the nation are giving preferential voting the old college try – and many are seeing increased participation in elections. Preferential voting is currently used by more than 50 U.S. colleges and universities, with the total steadily increasing. This year’s Minnesota Student Association election used Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for the first time. With increased competition on the ballot, turnout exceeded that in last year’s election by more than four times. “Until this year, we haven’t had enough candidates to [use RCV], as [it] requires three or more candidates be on the ballot,” said MSA All Campus Elections Commission Adviser Ed Kim.
Other new Ranked Choice Voting converts include Brandeis, Colorado State, Columbia, Duke, North Carolina State and Regent University. The move to RCV at Duke allowed a later vote for student vice president, so that losing candidates for president could try again for the vice presidential seat. Colorado State University student government leaders embraced the change, predicting it would promote cleaner campaigns and welcoming an end to what’s become known as the “wasted-vote syndrome.”
American college students know that electoral reform, including Ranked Choice Voting, is an important step in the path to forming “a more perfect union.” We’re excited that student groups across the map are at the forefront of the movement for elections that are fairer, smarter, cleaner and more efficient.
Everyone in on the act
Software developers run contest on IRV (RCV for single seat)
A Software developer’s community (www.codetown.us) posted the following “Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is a fascinating way to run an election. The basic idea is that voters rank the candidates and the votes for the least popular candidate are automatically moved to the remaining candidates until one is selected winner. Ready for the challenge? Code up a solution in your favorite language by midnight Sunday, February 14th, Eastern Standard Time. [THE DATE GOT CHANGED.] Submit it to contest at codetown dot us. We're allowing a little more time for this contest, so the results will be judged by...you! A poll will be posted in Contest Town so you can vote for your favorite app. Maybe we can use IRV to decide?
We saw lots of submissions but haven’t seen the results posted (hard to get on to this site). Reminder to those strict paper-ballots-only fans that RCV can be run either way.
Dr. Barbara Klein
The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works....President Obama