Tomorrow is primary day. If you haven’t voted early, today is your last chance.
OK, you probably didn’t need me to tell you that. But if, in any of the races on your ballot that have more than two candidates, you are agonizing about whether to vote for the one you think would do the best job, or perhaps to vote for your second favorite because polls suggest that that’s the best way to stop the one that you really dislike the most …
… tomorrow might be a good day to think about whether you’d like to see ranked-choice voting (RCV).
I’ll assume most MinnPost readers have a clue or more than a clue about RCV, since it is used in municipal elections in Minneapolis and St. Paul. There have been bills introduced to implement it statewide, but so far that hasn’t happened.
But the main point, just today, is that if you really like Candidate X, don’t mind Candidate Y, and really, really don’t want Candidate Z to be your party’s nominee for governor, senator, congressperson, etc., RCV gives you the ability to rank X as your first choice and Y as your second choice, and if X gets fewest votes on the first round of counting, your vote will be transferred to Y and you won’t have to worry about having helped Z win.
I’ve written about RCV many times. (Here’s one.) I’ve heard all the arguments pro and con. I’m more pro than con.
But for today, I just wanted to pass along a link to this piece, by Jeanne Massey, the indefatigable executive director of FairVote Minnesota, which advocates for RCV in our fair state. Most things that happen in politics can be turned into an argument for more RCV, and Massey is excellent at pointing them out, but the piece that she wrote for this Primary Day struck me. She went back to a series of predictions that she made in June, after the party endorsing conventions, and reminded us how many annoying things that go ‘round in politics (like someone winning a primary with a plurality without a majority, and several more, that underscore her longstanding arguments in favor of RCV).
I’ll just lift one from her piece, and you follow the link for more:
3. The “spoiler effect” in full play. Last week’s Star Tribune article, “DFL in bitter clash with Senate candidate Richard Painter,” illustrated yet one more example of the perennial “spoiler” problem that plagues our electoral system under plurality rules. A former Republican, Painter chose to run on the DFL senate ticket instead of an independent ticket because there’s no viable path for third-party candidates under the current system. In other political chatter, we hear worries such as “Lori Swanson is ‘taking’ moderate votes from Tim Walz,” or “Erin Murphy and Tim Walz are splitting the progressive vote,” or “Patricia Torres Ray and Ilhan Omar are splitting the vote among communities of color,” and so on. The bottom line for voters? Fear that their vote will actually help their last choice win.