Monday, October 05, 2009

Ranked Choice Voting: One person, one vote

At a recent League of Women Voters forum, Karen Vialle and Alex Hays of the Pierce County Better Government League, proponents of limited voter choice, speculated that Ranked Choice Voting might violate the one person, one vote rule. They were wrong.

There have been two court cases testing Ranked Choice Voting. One in 1975, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, showed RCV (which in Michigan went by the name of the "Ware" system) to be constitutional.

RCV was tested again earlier this year in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled unanimously that RCV is constitutional and does not violate the one person, one vote rule.

RCV has been court tested. And has passed the test.

Reject Amendment 3.



At 9:34 AM, Blogger raconnolly said...

I suspect that people like Vialle and Hays don't believe that IRV violates one person, one vote. If it did, then voting in the August primary and the November general election would also violate the principle.
So either they are very ignorant about fairly simple voting ideas (yet still willing to claim authority to speak) OR they are intentionally trying to mislead people.

Rich Anderson-Connolly

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Alex Hays said...

Mr. Connelly--

At the forum I said I had not reviewed any case that had found RCV to either meet or violate the one man one vote rule.

Your statement here is meaningless.

I will note that the Minnesota State Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of RCV, they refused to engage in prior restraint. This case has been used to manipulate the public into accepting that RCV has been court tested.

Second, the Washington State constitution and our laws offer a higher degree of protection to voters and to apply a procedural ruling from a different state to our laws is invalid.

NOTE: I will pass on insulting your legal knowledge, or suggestinga active deception.

Other issues I have for your consideration:

Should Fair Vote, a 501 c 3, be allowed to make the $22,000 illegal contribution to CARS?

Should any out of state group, whose donors are --as an additional insult to democratic principles-- secret, be the largest donor to a local elections issue?

Should we remake democracy in America to favor the extemists? The is what RCV does, and I say voters who choose to vote for radicals should be allowed there vote but not allowed the long chain of votes RCV makes possible for them.

Radical or reactionay -- these ideas deserve to be rejected and remaking our election system to give more voice to the 3-5% of people who hold them is unethical and anti-democratic.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger raconnolly said...

The points about one person, one vote and FairVote are attempts to shift attention from the real issue. Mr. Hays is paid political consultant hired by those in the two party system who want to maintain their privileged position in our undemocratic system. The attempts by Hays (and the party leaders and the prosecutor) to shift attention should be exposed as dishonest talking points and then ignored.

Rich Anderson-Connolly

At 2:28 PM, Blogger Alex Hays said...

That is non-responsive.

Party power was enhanced by RCV. You, through the deal cut between Kelly and several on the review commission, granted the parties the power to control who files for offices.

I reject that new power as poor public polciy and as an unhealthy magnification of poltical power for the few.

The real issue is should RCV be used. My postion that RCV violates core democratic principals is a direct argument on this topic. My postion that RCV enhances the power of the far right and the far left is a argument on point.

While terrifying to you no doubt, I work only on projects I care deeply about and I believe that RCV poses a clear danger to democracy.

At 3:37 PM, Blogger raconnolly said...

Are we to seriously believe that the two-party establishment in Pierce County is against IRV because it gave them too much power? Nonsense. IRV respects the First Amendment associational rights of parties (including the two majors) but allows independents and third-parties to compete on a level playing field. Parties have power over their names but not over ballot access. It's the latter issue that has them out to repeal IRV.

And what are those core democratic principles that being violated? Majority rule? Honest voting?

Somebody had better tell the countries of Ireland and Australia, the American Political Science Association, and any organization that follows Robert's Rules of Order that the politicians and political consultants in Pierce County are worried about the clear dangers to their democratic governance.

These arguments against IRV are so bad that it looks better for the opponents if they are simply talking points meant to confuse those who are not paying attention. To prevent that confusion is the only reason I'm wasting my time responding to this nonsense.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Alex Hays said...

1. Majority rule. Your statement in the Seattle Times is correct Top-two yields a majority winner. I will further note it does so in every case except perhaps where write in ballots would deny this in a very close election.

RCV failed to generate a majority winner in both the Execs race and the auditor's race, the only two county wide races. McCarthy won with 45% and Washam with 37%.

2. RCV gives more power to extremists. Studies of returns in Australia show that RCV eradicates third party candidates, but allows third party voters to distort the election by shifting the major parties toward the extremes.

3. RCV advocates clearly state -- I'm told you personally make this claim, but I have not heard it from you myslef -- that RCV will shift the US Democratic Party to the left and this is why they advocate for the new system. Altering the election system to promote ideological goals is a violation of democratic principles.

4. In California the US Supreme Court ruled that altering the election process for the express purpose of changing candidate speech (such as claimed in the voters' pamphlet statement authored by the no on 3 committee) is prima facie evidence of unconstitutionality and an abridgement of free speech rights.

5. According to Kelly he was able to muster the votes for RCV expressly because major party members of the Commission wanted ballot control. So yes, at first at least one major party wanted RCV because of the new powers it gave them.

6. "honest voting" -- in Colorado amd analysis of RCV shows that if the supporters for one candidate had gamed their ballots and ranked him second, not first, that candidate would have won. Does that sound like RCV promotes "honest voting"

7. What's dishonest about the top-two? Every runs in the primary (third parties inlcuded) and then we make a choice from the two who advance to the general. This is how RCV was used in many jurisdictions in the past -- an RCV style primary that yielded two candidates for the general. So clearly RCV promoters in the past liked the pause and revaluation allowed in a top two system.

The fact that once people (including people who are active in poltical parties) saw and disliked RCV and changed their opinion (myslef included) is a function of the defects of the system.

The parties opposition to RCV is a function of setting asside self interest in favor of public interest. You reject this because you prefer to create a fantasy where you are the good guy and others are corrupt. Many people who were intrigued by and even supportive of RCV have changed their minds.

Example: Scotland

Example: Ann Arbor, MI

Example: Dick Muri

Example: Alex Hays.

Pending: Pierce County and a growing number of people in San Francisco.

Your argument against me is essentially I disagree with you therefore I must be a liar.

Also, a good run down online proves the APA doesn't use RCV and Roberts suggests multiple rounds of balloting not RCV. For the record RCV probably is a good system for private organizations (e.g. a poltical party) to select delegates for a national convention. It would still distort results based on ideology, but if you've ever sat through a multi round series of elimation ballots that seems like a small price to pay.

Cheer up -- hardlay any voters will read this. just you and few hardcore pro-IRV folks. So if I were really trying to confuse anyone I;ve just wasted a ton of time.

But hey -- you keep talking about the pick-a-party primary if you really want to confuse people.

At 6:01 PM, Blogger Alex Hays said...

I apologies -- I posted my remarks without reading them through. Amongst the typos and poor grammar I made one misstatement that needs correction: I wrote "auditor" when I meant Assessor-Treasurer.


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