At last week’s council meeting I was surprised to hear two people requesting the city council support a resolution for Ranked Choice Voting. I was unaware of any resolution being proposed. When I heard them speaking about how wonderful it is, it frightened me and I decided right then to speak on it. I’m concerned that it is being pushed so heavily and people do nor understand it.
Ranked Choice Voting allows candidates with marginal support from voters to win elections. If four people were running for a position, voters would rank them in order of preference. If no single candidate wins a first-round majority of the votes, then the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated and another round of vote tallying commences. If a voter’s first choice is eliminated, then the vote goes to the second choice and so on. Eventually one candidate receives a majority (over 50%) and wins the election. If a voter did not rank all of the candidates, as they only wanted one, their vote would be thrown out.
Former California Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016 vetoed a bill to expand ranked choice voting in his state, saying it was “overly complicated and confusing” and “deprives voters of genuinely informed choice.” One example was the mayor’s race in Oakland, California, in 2010 — the candidate that received the most first-place votes lost the election to “a candidate on the strength of nearly 25,000 second- and third-place votes” after nine rounds of redistribution of the votes.
A study published in 2015 that reviewed 600,000 votes cast using ranked choice voting in four local elections in Washington state and California found that “the winner in all four elections received less than a majority of the total votes cast.
“In Maine in 2018, the first-ever general election for federal office in our nation’s history was decided by ranked choice voting in the Second Congressional District in Maine. Jared Golden was declared the eventual winner—even though incumbent Bruce Poliquin received more votes than Golden in the first round. There were two additional candidates in the race, Tiffany Bond and William Hoar. However, the Maine Secretary of State, Matt Dunlop, ‘exhausted’ or threw out a total of 14,076 ballots of voters who had not ranked all of the candidates.”
This is just a small bit of information on Ranked Choice Voting. For Edmonds City Council to consider a resolution on Ranked Choice Voting without any knowledge or information about the complexity of it, makes no sense. I strongly urge citizens to weigh in on this issue to council. It’s too important not to.