David Rea Op-Ed Explains Why Maine Should Try Ranked-Choice or Preference Voting

David Rea has this op-ed in the Auburn, Maine Sun Journal, advocating that the Maine legislature pass the pending bills that would use Ranked-Choice Voting. Rea is an educator and author in Boulder, Colorado. He actually argues for any form of multi-choice voting, which could include preference voting as well as Ranked-Choice voting. Thanks to Steve Chessin for the link.

Also, here is a somewhat similar op-ed in The Daily Campus, the student publication at the University of Connecticut. It was written by Gregory Koch.


David Rea Op-Ed Explains Why Maine Should Try Ranked-Choice or Preference Voting — No Comments

  1. IRV (preferential voting) was implemented in Australia so that the Country and National parties could keep Labor out.

    A voter could think: I really like the Country candidate, but I really despise the Labor candidate, so, I’ll stick the National candidate in between.

    In 2000, the typical Nader voter would have voted:

    1. Nader


    1. Nader
    2. Stassen
    3. Nader


    1. Nader
    2. Nader
    3. Nader

    A conventional runoff would have permitted the Nader vote to listen to Bush and Gore debate, and consider any endorsement that Nader made.

  2. First let me clarify that the voting reform movement will change definitions to what ever is PC at the moment.

    Let’s look at the words STV, RCV and IRV since their names correctly identify the desired use of numbers instead of characters which aren’t numerals:

    STV=single transferrable vote
    RCV=ranked choice voting.
    IRV=Instant runoff voting

    All three items above require consecutively ranked numbers, beginning with the number one. I am not certain that alternative or approval specify consecutively ranked numbers beginning with the number one, as the nature of the name does not imply that.

    I have written before that IRV implies single-winner districts, because that’s what the IRV supporters have been implementing – single-winner districts. Additionally, counting the votes under single-winner districts as the IRV proponents have been doing, is slightly different from multi-winner districts. The mathematical equation is different so there must be specific wording between single-winner and multi-winner vote counts.

    By saying or writing that you must use “IRV in multi-winner districts”, is acceptable, but that makes it sound like you’re using a different way to count the votes than the Hagenbach-Bishoff method which uses calibration, rather than STV, in describing the method. STV is and can be used in the Hagenbach-Bishoff, but it would increase the time it takes to count the votes by hand from my experience.

    Why does IRV/STV increase the time needed for counting the ballots by hand? Because as all the ballots are laid out, and the name(s) with the fewest number one (two, three, etc.) votes is eliminated and single-transferred, that process can take very long when more than 625 names have been ranked as in the case with the 9th USA Parliament.

    By using the calibration system, you can see the minimum quota needed to elect each name, you then elect each name, and after all names are elected under that system, if there are any questions it’s usually the last few names that need to be studied closely.

    For example, in a 625-name race, number 624, 625 and 626 place names may need to be studied more closely.

    But counters using IRV and STV would be nowhere near completing the job of counting the votes, because of the nature of STV and hand transferring each ballot to different stacks. That takes a much longer time to do.

    IRV and STV are OK in a single-winner, but when the numbers are 1000 to 6000 names or more, the time is far longer under STV vs calibration used in the Hagenbach-Bischoff method.

    The Hagenbach-Bishoff uses STV in special cases, and you’d probably get the same results too. But by using the quota which gets calibrated under the Hagenbach-Bischoff, you determine the winners much faster.

  3. @2 In you example,the use of one name more than once (something which fusion voting permits) would cause a spoiled ballot under the rules of IRV, RCV and STV.

    So the 2nd and 3rd examples of marked ballot would/should be deemed “spoiled”.

  4. Thanks for promoting my article. Also, @2 – even the Nader voters recognized some difference between the other candidates. Maybe they’d have had Bush and Gore in last in 2000, but other than maybe the crazed Ron Paul supporters, I think most people would take advantage of ranking multiple choices. If I had to rank the candidates on the ballot in Connecticut for President, I’d have probably done

    1. Gary Johnson
    2. Rocky Anderson
    3. Barack Obama
    4. Mitt Romney

    Even though I don’t see much difference between Obama and Romney, I see some, so I rank them. If I say there’s no difference between them, it’s political rhetoric – I don’t mean it literally. There is some difference, just not much. I think most third party supporters realize that. I alluded to this in my article.

  5. #4 In San Francisco, many voters vote ineffectively.

    Since few understand the actual mechanics of IRV, they may try to vote in an insincere way in a mistaken belief that it will advantage their vote. Or they might have heard that IRV consists of a number of counts, and voted a preference for each count.

    If IRV is to be the equivalent of a conventional runoff, then voters need to be directed to vote in a manner that achieves a true majority. You personally probably realized that Johnson and Anderson were not going to win the election, and went ahead and evaluated and ranked Obama and Romney.

    But other voters might not have been willing to rank other candidates, or were not knowledgeable enough to handicap the race to determine the true contenders. Or it is not unreasonable to wait to determine whether Johnson endorsed a candidate before making a choice between Obama and Romney.

    This would be even more true for down ballot races where information is scarce and voters were not even aware that there was an race until they came upon the race on the ballot.

    A conventional runoff avoids these problems. You can vote your sincere choice among the candidates on the ballot in both rounds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *