When supporters of Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) declare the system produces majority winners they’re grossly misrepresent the truth. A majority victory (50%+1) has happened here in Minnesota less than 42% of the time when a reallocation of votes occurs. The reason we bring this point forward due to much attention focused on the New York City Mayoral Democratic Primary, which is using Ranked-Choice Voting. Early returns find Eric Adams (D), a former police officer and Brooklyn Borough President as the current front runner. As the candidate who has appealed the most the electorate on public safety concerns, this may be the essential element to his appeal.
We wonder whether or not Minneapolis, with 80 homicides in 2020 and 44 so far this year, is prime for a law-and-order candidate to appeal to the Mill City constituency? The situation of RCV enables a candidate to emerge and capture the attention of the voters with a simplistic message that galvanizes the electorate. The filing period opens on July 27th and runs until August 10th. Since there is no DFL Endorsement, which hasn’t occurred since the inception of RCV, no candidate is holding sway and all candidates are running against Mayor Jacob Frey (DFL).
If Frey, Sheila Nezhad (DFL), who received 53% in the DFL Endorsement and former legislator Kate Knuth (DFL) are all cutting up similar pieces of the electoral pie, a more public safety focused candidate could curry enough favor to create a base vote to carry through to the final round of tabulation. Because, unlike NYC, which is only using RCV in it’s Primaries, there isn’t an opportunity as in a traditional voting system for candidates to coalesce after the Primary nearly anything can happen. In 2017, incumbent Mayor Betsy Hodges (DFL) trailed Frey in every round of counting and in the final reallocation she was passed by Rep. Raymond Dehn (DFL-59B, Minneapolis).
One item of import is the fact, some voters only select certain candidates and do not always choose correctly. In this case, correctly means selecting one of the two remaining candidates and in turn their vote is declared “Exhausted” and is not a part of the final count. This ensures if the number reallocation rounds exceed three, no candidate will receive a majority of the vote, contrary, to what the RCV zealots say.