Larry Bradley’s Ezine #398 Do Kansans Wish They Had Ranked Choice Voting?

Weekly Ezine Number 398

What Is Happening with Election Reform?
Do Kansans Wish They Had Ranked Choice Voting?

What Is Happening with Election Reform?

–A Federal Court rejects partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina in a case brought by Common Cause. We continue to argue that the key to getting rid of gerrymandering is to transition to Proportional Representation. We must make the shift from being concerned with geographic representation to being concerned with philosophic representation. When we fought the Revolution one of the calls to arms was, “No Taxation without Representation.” Gerrymandering leaves far too many of our citizens without representation for not only taxation, but for other vital concerns as well. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/2018/08/27/fc04e066-aa46-11e8-b1da-ff7faa680710_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d4ae9216d274

–This is a save the date announcement. I’ll publish more details as they’re finalized. I am giving the Constitution Day program for Park University in KC/Parkville, MO on Sep 20 at 7:00 p.m. I’ll also be doing a Constitution Day presentation on Sep 17 in Sioux City, IA at 12:00 p.m. for Western Iowa Technical Community College. I’ll also be doing two presentations for Des Moines Area Community College. One is at 9:00 a.m. on Sep 19 on their Boone, IA campus and the other is at 12:00 p.m. on their West Des Moines, IA campus. If you live near those areas I hope you will come and hear my program. They’re open to the public.

I also have programs at Emporia State University and Missouri University in October, but those programs are not open to the public.

–Here is an excellent discussion of why all states need to do away with caucuses in favor of Primary Elections. And that is another reason we need to get rid of this nonsense of Parties paying for Primaries. https://www.sfgate.com/…/The-presidential-caucus-needs-to-d…

–With regard to Parties paying for Primaries, the KC Star had an editorial about that recently. https://www.kansascity.com/opinion/editorials/article214953600.html The Star was in favor of such a thing. I responded with a letter to the editor which said there were much better questions to ask. My letter is the fourth one down at the link. https://www.kansascity.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article215532920.html

–This is a superb history of how Maine got Ranked Choice Voting approved, plus a clarification that a fight goes on to use RCV in the race for Governor. https://ivn.us/…/maine-partisan-hypocrisy-protects-minorit…/

–This is an article about the campaign to bring Ranked Choice Voting to Nevada. We agree with most of what is written here. The exception is we do not believe the advent of RCV should bring about the end of Party primary elections. Our problem, we believe, is not that there are political parties. Our problem is the ballot we use does not allow third parties to be competitive. RCV will enable third parties to be competitive and that will be good for all voters. https://www.reviewjournal.com/…/commentary-nevadas-electio…/

Do Kansans Wish They Had Ranked Choice Voting?

Our answer to our own question is absolutely and completely yes. More importantly, would you wish you had Ranked Choice Voting in your state if you were confronted with a similar situation? And again, I think the answer would be an unconditional yes. Unconditional, that is, if people knew they had the option if they would only demand it. Which is why we write Ezines.

First, consider the Kansas Primary Election results, particularly on the Republican side for Governor. https://www.politico.com/election-results/2018/kansas/

As you can see by the results at the link, there was a very close race between Kobach and Colyer. Neither of those two candidates got a majority of the vote. Instead they got only 40.6% of the vote and recounts only separated the two by 350 votes. https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article217090535.html

Meanwhile there were over 59,000 votes that went to other Republican Gubernatorial candidates that died on the vine with no chance to express a second choice and weigh in as to which other candidate they preferred if their own didn’t win.*

Kansas City Star Editorial columnist Steve Kraske wrote an article blaming some of the candidates who ran for taking votes away from Kobach and Colyer. We disagree. Don’t blame the kids. Blame the fact that Kansas continues to use the antiquated First Past The Post/ Winner Take All Ballot. If Kansas were using Ranked Choice Voting, then all voters would have been able to mark a second and third choice. That means voters would have been able to vote for the kids as a protest and then (knowing their chances of winning were low) marked their second and third choices for more competitive candidates. In addition, neither Kobach nor Colyer got a majority of the vote. They only got 40.6% of the vote. Use of RCV would have forced the Party to determine a majority winner. That’s why Kansas (and the other 48 states) needs to copy Maine and go to RCV. https://www.kansascity.com/article217529730.html

But Kansas voters’ problems are not going to go away with the General Election. That’s because Independent candidate for Governor Greg Orman qualified for the November ballot. That means voters will likely split their vote three ways. No one will have a majority and the candidate with the largest plurality will win. That result will mean the majority will be dissatisfied with the result. Again, if the state had RCV, then the voters for the third place candidate would have a chance to influence the final result and Kansas would have a winner the majority agreed on. https://www.kansas.com/latest-news/article216706315.html

All of which says that if we want to fix our politics we have to fix our elections first.

See you next time.

Regards,

Larry

*One other thing you may note when you look at these numbers is that Kansas runs closed Primary Elections. Unless someone is willing to declare affiliation with a Party, they can’t vote in a Primary. That’s why the KC Star wrote the OpEd it did, which sparked my response.

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