Larry Bradley’s Ezine #392 What If the U.S. Senate Race in Alabama Was Using RCV?

Weekly Ezine Number 392

What Is the Purpose of Our Elections?
What If the U.S. Senate Race in Alabama Was Using RCV?

What Is the Purpose of Our Elections?

Canada is also interested in Election Reform. I recently came across this letter to the editor with an interesting perspective on what elections should be about.

I was reminded of the letter because of some comments I got about my OpEd. The comments were clearly from people who believed winning elections carried with it the ability to dominate, even if their victory was earned with less than a majority of the vote. They were, therefore, in favor of retaining the First-Past-The-Post ballot, rather than going to RCV.

Here’s a link to the letter with a very pointed excerpt.

“Proponents of first-past-the-post do not recognize that elections should be about representation; they believe they are competitive dispute resolution mechanisms to determine which social faction deserves to dominate others.” (Emphasis added)…/…/11/16/bill-tieleman-afraid-democracy/

Founder John Adams said our legislative body should be a reflection of the population. That legislative body, in other words, should represent the population as a whole. We agree with that thought. We also think elections should put people in place who will seek balanced solutions to our problems, rather than favoring one group at the expense of all others. We think our proposed Election Reforms will enable that to happen. That’s why we advocate for those reforms and why we think you should advocate for them, too.

What If the U.S. Senate Race in Alabama Was Using RCV?

The U.S. Senate Race in Alabama offers an opportunity to show you how Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) would help voters to have better choices.

Our purpose here is not to favor any candidate. We simply want to point out the facts as they are and how voters could be helped if they had RCV.

First, a basic recap. The resignation of Senator Jeff Sessions to become Attorney General generated the need for a special U.S. Senate election in Alabama. A Primary Election yielded Doug Jones as the Democratic nominee and Roy Moore as the Republican nominee.

Shortly after the Primary, Roy Moore was accused as a pedophile and a rapist. Independent sources see Moore’s accusers as credible, but supporters of Moore see the accusations otherwise.

As an aside, we say as an unbiased observer that this type of situation deserves to be addressed by all political parties and state election laws. Democrats need to recognize as much as Republicans (and all smaller parties) that there needs to be a standard procedure for situations such as this. What should be done when a primary election has named a nominee, but the nominee is accused of a crime with credible evidence of guilt, becomes ill or even dies before the general election can be held? Prudence says there should be a standard procedure in place. “What if” situations are a fact of life. It’s why the military has a chain of command. Surely we can establish such a procedure.

But now back to our topic. We said in our OpEd that voters are forced to vote with fear. This situation illustrates this perfectly.

If you were inclined to be a Moore supporter, you are now in trouble. If you vote for Moore, then you are voting for what appears to be a pedophile. Even if Moore is elected he faces the possibility of being convicted of a crime and not being able to serve. But your alternative is to vote for Jones and Jones’ policies are counter to your own political beliefs. You might consider voting by writing in someone from Moore’s party. Or you might consider voting for a third party candidate. The problem with those two options is you (and everyone else who does so) is taking votes away from Moore. Therefore, the last two options make Jones winning more likely.

All these distasteful options are a result of our using the First-Past-The-Post/Winner-Take-All Ballot.

If Alabamans were using RCV, their choices would be greater. Those inclined to vote for Moore could abandon him without fear of electing Jones. They could make their first and second choices a write in candidate or a third party candidate. They could make their third choice Moore. If their write in or third party candidate failed to get more votes than Moore (and no candidate got 50% plus one or better), then their votes could go to Moore in the automatic runoff process.

For the Republican Party and Moore, the ability of voters to do what is described in the preceding paragraph would clearly influence their motivation to make a change on the ballot, rather than telling voters to “take it or leave it.”

So, wouldn’t all voters, regardless of Political Party, be better off with RCV?

The answer is clearly “Yes”, isn’t it?

So please help support our efforts to give you RCV.

See you next time.



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