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 Response Page - Cummins III / Massey  Interview -      


These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Buzz Cummins III & Jeanne Massey Interview of
09-09-2011.
 

Overview

Carl (Buzz) Cummins III, Chair, and Jeanne Massey, Executive Director, of FairVote Minnesota, discuss the concept and application of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). RCV is now being used in Minneapolis city elections and will be used in St. Paul city elections beginning this November. With RCV, voters rank candidates in order of preference. Those rankings assure that winning candidates are the choice of an actual majority of voters.

For the complete interview summary see:  http://bit.ly/nt25Fg

Response Summary:  Readers have been asked to rate, on a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, the following points discussed by Cummins and Massey. Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

1. Use RCV in local non-partisan elections. (7.2 average response) Local units of government should be allowed to adopt Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for elections where candidates run without party designation.

2. Use RCV in state primary elections. (6.6 average response) RCV should be adopted in the state primary election, where political parties select nominees for the general election.

3. Use RCV in state general elections. (6.1 average response) RCV should be adopted in the state general election, where candidates from various parties run against each other.

4. Use RCV in precinct caucuses and political conventions. (6.2 average response) RCV should be adopted for straw votes in precinct caucuses and for candidate endorsements at political conventions.

5. Don't adopt RCV for any election. (3.0 average response) RCV should not be adopted anywhere.

 

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Neutral

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

Use RCV…

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. in local non-partisan elections.

19%

5%

5%

11%

59%

37

2. in state primary elections.

27%

0%

8%

16%

49%

37

3. in state general elections.

32%

3%

5%

8%

51%

37

4. in precinct caucuses and

            political conventions.

19%

8%

17%

17%

39%

36

5. never in any election.

61%

5%

5%

8%

21%

38

Individual Responses:

John Branstad  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)

Carol A. Kummer  (0)  (0)  (0)  (0)  (10)

1. Use RCV in local non-partisan elections. The last sentence in the above paragraph is absolutely false - RCV does not assure a majority vote as my election in 2009 proves. I won with 46% of the vote.  That statement is used repeatedly as an argument for RCV by supporters but it is a flat-out lie.  What it does guarantee is the final winner will not be known for days and even weeks.  Check the results of the Minneapolis experience in 2009.

2. Use RCV in state primary elections. I can't even imagine why that makes sense.

3. Use RCV in state general elections. Oh, great. Would we even know who won by the swearing-in date?  Can you imagine the chaos statewide?

4. Use RCV in precinct caucuses and political conventions. What? And take away the fun of walking sub-caucuses?

5. Don't adopt RCV for any election. Any method which requires pages of instructions to tabulate and is almost impossible to accurately explain is a lousy substitute for the current system where you get the most votes, you win. The occasional recount is simple in comparison to a recount under RCV.  Don't say there would never be a recount with RCV; what if the votes are exhausted and the difference is 100 votes or less?  Or are you proposing a law change?  I suspect that is not the only law that would need changing.

Ray Ayotte  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)

Gary Lee  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)

Jim Olson  (10)  (10)  (10)  (2.5)  (0)

4. Use RCV in precinct caucuses and political conventions. It's so simple to have multiple votes taken on the spot

Don Anderson  (10)  (5)  (10)  (10)  (0)

1. Use RCV in local non-partisan elections. This may help get a better turnout in what is traditionally a low voter election.

3. Use RCV in state general elections. This would give the vast majority of voters an opportunity to make their selection of a candidate based on the voter's feelings without following a party's choice.

5. Don't adopt RCV for any election. The voters should choose the candidates, not the parties.

Dave Broden  (7.5)  (5)  (0)  (7.5)  (7.5)

1. Use RCV in local non-partisan elections. Local option as a trial approach for non-partisan elections is perhaps reasonable. To move beyond this option to partisan election will require a larger public debate and in depth assessment of the pros, cons, and associated risks.

2. Use RCV in state primary elections. Worthy of some serious discussion as a complement to the precinct caucus and party selection process --too early to form a yes or no position.

3. Use RCV in state general elections. While Minnesota has had a recent history of not electing a governor with a majority vote--we also have not shown clearly that this has be the cause of deadlocked decisions by the legislature nor have the benefits of RCV been clearly and effectively proven. A rigorous debate and consideration of possible evolution of parliamentary collations must be discussed and resolved.

4. Use RCV in precinct caucuses and political conventions. This could be a good place to gage the benefits and payoff of the concept.

5. Don't adopt RCV for any election. I would normally say ‘strongly agree’ that RCV should not be adopted but a good well informed and thoughtful debate is desired to sort the pros and cons

W. D. (Bill) Hamm  (2.5)  (0)  (0)  (0)  (7.5)

1. Use RCV in local non-partisan elections. Apparently they already are as they are being used in some locations.

2. Use RCV in state primary elections. Not needed; all you have to do is look at their list of participating countries to identify that this is a socialist system. Worse than that it would further reduce participation in our political system by giving the lazy an easy way out.

3. Use RCV in state general elections. Same answer as 3, with the added situation that it drastically increases third party potential as neither Dems or GOP are likely to vote the other party as a third choice. It vastly changes the odds.

4. Use RCV in precinct caucuses and political conventions. Keep your nose out of our business.

5. Don't adopt RCV for any election. I have participated in this argument for over a decade and still have not seen how it helps anyone but those too lazy to participate in our political process. I still keep an open mind in non-partisan races or I would have voted "Strongly agree".

Bruce Kennedy  (10)  (7.5)  (10)  (7.5)  (0)

2. Use RCV in state primary elections. The primaries should be open and ranked choice voting should be used to reduce the field to 3 candidates.

Pat Barnum  (0)  (0)  (0)  (5)  (10)

5. Don't adopt RCV for any election. With the exception of political conventions. The State has no right to make decisions about how a party chooses its candidate endorsements.     RCV flies in the face of ‘one (legal) person, one vote’ and seems immoral and un-American to me. Only some people get a second or third vote, those whose first choice is eliminated. This is fundamentally wrong. And I believe there would be unintended consequences (and you can bet both parties will be figuring out just how to game the system). And knowing that places like San Francisco and Cambridge were among the first places to jump on this particular bandwagon should tell you something about the idea. I do not understand what the holy grail of a greater than 50% "majority" is. Do we think that somehow that will make government run smoother, carry out the people's wishes better, or give us higher quality politicians? The only argument that has any weight is the "wasted vote" syndrome may decrease. But that is not enough of a reason to attempt to turn the voting process into a groupthink.

Bill Hilty  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)

Chuck Repke  (0)  (0)  (0)  (0)  (10)

1. Use RCV in local non-partisan elections. Any voting system where the public has to be educated as to how it works is not a fair system.    People who understand the system will be more likely to rank candidates and the uninformed will not.  Every city that has switched to RCV has seen voter turnout decline not increase as advertised.  Minneapolis had its lowest voter turnout in 100 years.

2. Use RCV in state primary elections. Again, any system that one has to be educated as to how it works is not a fair system.  White, wealthy and well educated are more likely to understand the system.   Voting should be made simple, not complex.

3. Use RCV in state general elections. Again, any system that one has to be educated as to how it works is not a fair system.  White, wealthy and well educated are more likely to understand the system.   Voting should be made simple, not complex.

4. Use RCV in precinct caucuses and political conventions. We had the HARE system in the 1960's in the DFL; it was much, much, much worse than the walking sub-caucuses.

5. Don't adopt RCV for any election. If the Republicans were advocating this system, it would be recognized as the "Jim Crow" law that it is.  This system is damaging to the less involved, and lower educated.  When Fairvote actually had to debate the issue with someone on the other side, it was not endorsed by the Saint Paul DFL, nor the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce, nor the League of Women Voters, nor the Highland Villager, nor the Pioneer Press.  It was endorsed only by the groups that hear their fairytale.  It won the election in Saint Paul by distributing 40,000 pieces of literature that made false claims of endorsement from the DFL, the LWV and the President of the United States.  They were fined $5,000 for those campaign violations, the largest fine allowed under state law.

Ellen Brown  (10)  (10)  (10)  (5)  (0)

1. Use RCV in local non-partisan elections. Doing away with very low turnout primaries would be a huge improvement in local government elections.

3. Use RCV in state general elections. Wouldn't it be great to be able to vote safely for your first choice, no matter her/his ranking in the polls, knowing that your second choice will be counted if your candidate doesn't reach the threshold?

4. Use RCV in precinct caucuses and political conventions. I am not a party person so not weighing in on this, though it seems perfectly logical that RCV would be used in these settings too.

Chris Brazelton  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)

Peter Hennessey  (0)  (0)  (0)  (2.5)  (7.5)

4. Use RCV in precinct caucuses and political conventions. But only if the results are published (number of first choice, second choice votes for each candidate) and the caucus/convention attendees are allowed to re-vote until there is a clear first-choice winner. Computers don't vote, computers don't decide who wins, only people do, with their explicit vote.  This is a solution in search of a problem. Why are we trying to present a solution when there is no problem? We have a long history of repeated votes in conventions until a clear winner had emerged.

Anonymous   (10)  (10)  (7.5)  (2.5)  (0)

John Sievert  (2.5)  (0)  (0)  (0)  (10)

5. Don't adopt RCV for any election. I don't like the idea that preferences are masked.  If a candidate has less than majority support, then they ought to have that message and deal with it.  Ranked choice voting gives the presumption that someone has more support than they really do.  We need solid, actual information, not some mathematically contrived majority that is, in fact, not a majority.

Nate Dotson  (na)  (na)  (na)  (na)  (10)

Wy Spano  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)

Robert J. Brown  (0)  (0)  (0)  (5)  (10)

Bill Kuisle  (0)  (0)  (0)  (0)  (10)

David F. Durenberger  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)

Tom Swain  (10)  (10)  (10)  (5)  (0)

Carolyn Ring  (5)  (8)  (5)  (5)  (5)

RCV would take a great deal of education of voters.  In the Primary when you can't cross party lines we have many, many spoiled ballots because even though we insist every voter listen to the instructions before he/she get a ballot. I have difficulty imagining what it would be like with RCV.  It will be interesting to watch both Minneapolis and St. Paul before considering it statewide.

Bright Dornblaser  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)

Fred Senn  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)

I'm a huge fan of RCV. It's secondary benefits, reducing the effectiveness of attack ads and the advantage of well-funded candidates, are benefits all voters (and few politicians) will like.

 

Bert LeMunyon  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)

RCV is important to insure that elected officials have the support of a majority of the electorate.

Wayne Jennings  (8)  (7)  (8)  (7)  (2)

Gary Clements  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)

I hold the value that my elected leaders should be elected by a majority of those voting.  Even if my favored candidate is not elected, I would feel much more accepting that the will of the people has been done if the elected one was chosen by a majority.  That has not been the case in recent gubernatorial races, and it grates on me. It seems obvious that RCV is the most efficient way to achieve this value.

Moreover, I have regretted the fact that I have not always been able to vote for my first choice candidate in some elections, due to the fear that my least favored candidate might win, so I am forced to vote for the candidate most likely to prevent that, which is a negative way of approaching an election, rather than a positive way.  With RCV, I would be free to express my preference with a vote, knowing that if my preference does not come about, that my voice might still be heard through the instant runoff vehicle.

Al Quie  (10)  (10)  (0)  (10)  (0)

Bert Press  (10)  (0)  (0)  (0)  (5)

Tom Spitznagle  (8)  (8)  (3)  (7)  (0)

George Pillsbury  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)

Chuck Lutz    (10)  (9)  (10)  (9)  (0)

Paul Hauge  (9)  (9)  (7)  (9)  (1)

Susan Sanger  (10)  (10)  (10)  (na)  (0)

This is a very good idea which should also be implemented in local municipal and school board elections, but impractical until someone develops a software program that can do the RCV calculations when there are 4+ candidates.

Terry Stone  (0)  (0)  (0)  (0)  (10)
Shirley Heaton  (5)  (5)  (5)  (5)  (0
I hate being a mugwump but I'm one of those who need a sort of 'hands-on' experience before coming to an absolute decision.

    

The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

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