The NPR show 1A ran a program on Ranked Choice Voting today, and Checks & Balances Publisher Shawn Towle sought a spot on the panel. When called back by producer Andi McDaniel he was informed the panel was full but could submit a comment through the voicemail which “might” be used on the air. It wasn’t then Towle posted his thoughts in the comment section which resulted in a deletion. He reposted and again it was again deleted.
We would think IA host Joshua Johnson would not support censorship of show comments.
Here is what was posted with edits.
Today’s show on Ranked Choice Voting could have been a boring infomercial promoting the idea. Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), Instant Run-off Voting (IRV), Preferential Balloting or whatever name is applied is a solution in search of a problem that does not exist. The problem is electoral turnout and access to the polls. It is an ivory tower social experiment being used against our voters, not for them. The lack of balance in the original segment with two proponents and the opponent speaking third already set the premise, by the time John Whitehurst spoke, and when he was interrupted midstream for a break it lost all continuity.
His points were valid, but they were also situational to San Francisco. When implemented elsewhere it is done so differently, which is one of its inherent problems. In St Paul, voters can cast 6 votes while across the river in Minneapolis 3 votes.
To compare this system found at a local level to national elections is a farce, or a fantasy because the ability to pass this idea would require action in 49 more states. This is as unlikely as getting rid of the Electoral College.
I live in St Paul MN and we use RCV after it was passed by referendum, but in that election the proponents were found guilty of lying to the electorate, multiple times and fined for it, but when the issue passed by 1% the court did not feel the 40,000 pieces of literature containing lies of endorsement by Barack Obama, John McCain, Cynthia McKinney, the DFL Party and the League of Woman Voters was enough to change the outcome by less than 4,000 votes.
This is only one issue of concern, the greater one is who is financing this effort, I learned long ago in politics follow the money. FairVote is financed by a Dark Money group called the Arnold Foundation, which is a construct by former Enron Executive John Arnold and his wife Laura. John Arnold is now a hedge fund manager and he is known to be targeting communities to undermine public pensions and teacher’s unions. This is a system good Democrats should flock to support. There is a nefarious agenda here that wasn’t even discussed because the process appears to just be creating more option for voters.
This premise is flawed too, more choices do not make a worthy outcome if that were the case next time you go to a restaurant look at the menu and order all the entrees. If you can afford it you can do just that, but logical people make one choice at a sitting and choosing one candidate is our system of collective decision-making.
Whitehurst and Jason Savage did discuss the violation of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause which is where one-person-one vote emanates, but it is also a violation of the Due Process Clause because these votes have different weight and at the end of the day some are counted and then when exhausted effectively discarded.
The issue of plurality elections is replaced by plurality results with fewer voters votes counted in the final tabulation. If a 71-year-old woman votes for 1 candidate as she does in every other election and she fails to select one of the final two candidates, her vote is exhausted, which means not applied any longer and she is structurally disenfranchised, because if she had not come to the poll in the first place her vote would not have affected the outcome.
The host Joshua Johnson’s insertion of his own experience as this being simple when he lived in San Francisco further made this an infomercial for Ranked Choice Voting, because it should seem simple to put an x by more than one name, but it’s the impact of the decision and it’s the after-effects that are the most important.
Hearing of a candidate endorsing another opponent is a form of ballot influence, which should be seen as an independent expenditure from one candidate to another and should come at a cost. Coalition building is good as it occurs, but not at the expense of the electorate who can come to have side deals made between campaigns of like mind or otherwise. This is election brokering, which is a saleable product.
This conversation warrants more consideration and hopefully more court action because here in Minnesota where I, as a Democrat Farmer-Laborite (DFL) in the tradition of Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, and Paul Wellstone have stood with Republicans to pass legislation against RCV. I call for a strong two-party system, where the Primary process, while admittedly there is a lower turnout than in the general election, but also it is a winnowing process, which gives the General Electorate an opportunity to select from the two remaining candidates, and no more.
I publish MN first online political magazine and have written extensively against this system, https://checksandbalances.com but the producers failed to put me on the show to provide direct criticism to the structure of the system, the failure of deliverables of any of the initial claims and the motivations of its advocates.
One truth that should have been stated is the way California votes in Primaries, it is a “Jungle Primary” where no matter what party someone is from the two highest vote total recipients emerge and then go on the General Election. The truth here is this is where third-party candidates have the best opportunity to succeed because a lower turnout creates the best situation for a committed alternative.
Finally, and there is much more. A voting system has never and will never have an effect on turnout, competitive elections, open seats and local issues drive turnout and for Rob Richie to say turnout increased here in Minnesota because of Ranked Choice Voting is a blatant lie and if I had been on the program I would have rendered a Joe Wilson moment, because it is factually untrue. Supporters misrepresent this issue time and time again, without push back and they get away with it because confrontation seems impolitic. It is not impolitic to call a liar a liar, and challenging misrepresentations thought unseemly to some is important to all of us.
As stated before, follow the money, and ask why a “Non-Profit” fails to disclose annually its contributions and expenditures for campaigning, because non-profits have different rules to that of political campaigns. Check out your own FairVote chapter and you will see the same situation.