My view: Utah needs ranked-choice voting

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  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Dec. 10, 2016 9:36 a.m.

    One thing is clear: voting machines can be programmed and hacked. What Utah needs is not new equipment but to dump mechanical voting and return to a paper vote and supervised manual counting by all responsible parties including independents.

  • barfolomew TOOELE, UT
    Dec. 9, 2016 10:31 a.m.

    I'm certainly not a political scholar and, to be honest, I didn't even finish the article. I've never heard of this ranked choice voting before but I reject the idea based solely on one aspect. When I got to that point in the article, I saw no reason to read further. This is the flaw in this system:

    That my vote can be changed.

    I have a fundamental right and, more importantly, an obligation to cast my vote. And I'll be damned if at the end of the process, my vote counted toward someone I didn't vote for.

    That's about as un-American as anything can be.

  • drume Orem, UT
    Dec. 6, 2016 3:17 a.m.

    Critics of ranked choice voting simply have a weak argument. Their criticism applies even more to our current, deeply flawed first-past-the-post system.

    In addition, their critiques are only as valid as the flawed system they assume we will use to count the ranked ballots. Not all ranked voting schemes are created equal. For example, instant-runoff voting (IRV) is less effective, doesn't fulfill the Condorcet criterion, and is still prone to some manipulative strategies than other ranked voting methods. We should instead employ superior counting methods such as the Schultze method or Ranked Pairs.

    Keep in mind, the ranked ballot itself doesn't change by employing different counting methods. Ranked voting methods all use the same basic ballot. And if ranked ballots are counted using the Ranked Pairs method, strategic voting just isn't feasible. It's a simple method that voters can easily understand, and it resists manipulative strategies. Consequently, it encourages voters to simply vote their conscience, safe in the knowledge that their vote will make a difference. Isn't that what we want in a voting system?

  • Michael Reed Davison Centerville, UT
    Dec. 5, 2016 11:54 p.m.

    Ultra Bob, you seem to be advocating for limiting campaign donations. That's also worth talking about.

    Part of the beauty of RCV is that it does exactly what you're asking for: it's easy for voters to do, and the results show the voice of the people. The difference is that RCV isn't content with a plurality--no more winning with forty-something percent of the vote!

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 5, 2016 8:51 p.m.

    The anti-democracy group would cheer the rank voting system as a wonderful way to complicate and confuse the process of voting. Just like every other political government in the history of the world, the American government was created by businessmen, for businessmen and expected to only answer to businessmen. Thus, we have a republic in which businessmen can manipulate the vote to their advantage. In the beginning, the push was for limiting the vote to white, male, land owners, the other groups have had to fight for the right to vote. The non-business people have yet to win their fight to make their vote count.

    Democracy implies a simple unfettered vote of the people governed. There is no better way for the will of the governed to be expressed than by a majority or a plurality.

    Voting should be easy and accurate. Ideally every person under the control of the American government should be able to vote on the leadership of the American government. And every vote should count.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 5, 2016 2:45 p.m.

    Parties that put a ton of people on their ballot, and split the normal people's vote... deserve what they get (the weirdest candidate, the candidate most un-like all the other candidates wins).

    This is not rocket science Republicans.

  • Michael Reed Davison Centerville, UT
    Dec. 5, 2016 2:10 p.m.

    ou're right that strategic voting is *possible* under ranked choice voting, but many of your other claims are simply not true.

    When mathematicians point out flaws in ranked choice voting, it's never because they're claiming that our current system is better. They're usually advocating for approval voting or a Condorcet system--which are both better than just choosing a single favorite, but which don't have the political momentum of RCV.

    And if you really believe that RCV doesn't deliver, may I invite you to go over the major research on the subject? This has been tested and tried, and it does have quantifiable positive effects. I'm told Republican delegates continue to use RCV at conventions. I highlighted some of the benefits scholars are most confident about in my op-ed. RCV isn't some perfect system that will create world peace and end hunger, but it *is* a clear improvement on what we use today.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 5, 2016 10:16 a.m.

    If the Republican party in Utah is required to let anybody who wants to run for their party nomination on the ballot, then we need some sort of system like this to keep the most radically different candidate from winning.

    When you let a whole bunch of people on your ballot... you usually get a bunch of people who are mostly alike, and one or 2 who are totally different. So the 10-20 who are similar split the regular Republican vote 10-20 ways, and even if the radically different candidate had very little support, he wins (because his radical supporters were not split).

    Same goes for national Primaries.

    Democrats have been wise to get theirs down to 2 candidates. Republicans have been un-wise to allow 10-16 candidates to fight it out, and split the conventional Reupblican vote, leaving the most radical and different candidate the winner.

    Even if there are only 3 candidates... it favors the most different candidate (because the other 2 split the normal voter's votes)

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 5, 2016 10:16 a.m.

    If the Republican party in Utah is required to let anybody who wants to run for their party nomination on the ballot, then we need some sort of system like this to keep the most radically different candidate from winning.

    When you let a whole bunch of people on your ballot... you usually get a bunch of people who are mostly alike, and one or 2 who are totally different. So the 10-20 who are similar split the regular Republican vote 10-20 ways, and even if the radically different candidate had very little support, he wins (because his radical supporters were not split).

    Same goes for national Primaries.

    Democrats have been wise to get theirs down to 2 candidates. Republicans have been un-wise to allow 10-16 candidates to fight it out, and split the conventional Reupblican vote, leaving the most radical and different candidate the winner.

    Even if there are only 3 candidates... it favors the most different candidate (because the other 2 split the normal voter's votes)

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 5, 2016 10:16 a.m.

    If the Republican party in Utah is required to let anybody who wants to run for their party nomination on the ballot, then we need some sort of system like this to keep the most radically different candidate from winning.

    When you let a whole bunch of people on your ballot... you usually get a bunch of people who are mostly alike, and one or 2 who are totally different. So the 10-20 who are similar split the regular Republican vote 10-20 ways, and even if the radically different candidate had very little support, he wins (because his radical supporters were not split).

    Same goes for national Primaries.

    Democrats have been wise to get theirs down to 2 candidates. Republicans have been un-wise to allow 10-16 candidates to fight it out, and split the conventional Reupblican vote, leaving the most radical and different candidate the winner.

    Even if there are only 3 candidates... it favors the most different candidate (because the other 2 split the normal voter's votes)

  • ItrustNo1 La Grange, TN
    Dec. 5, 2016 4:12 a.m.

    There are 3,141 counties in the US. Trump won 3,084, Hillary won 57. There are 62 counties in the State of New York. Trump won 46, Hillary won 16. In NYC there are 5 counties, Hillary won 4 and Trump 1. Hillary won 2,000,000 votes more than Trump in these 5 NYC counties, which accounted for Hillary's winning the popular vote. The 5 NYC counties occupy 319 sq. miles. The US occupies 3,797,000 sq. miles. Without the Electoral College LA, Chicago and NYC would dictate each election outcome, which is ludicrous. The US is a Representative Republic, not a Democracy and is made up of 50 Member States all of which have differing issues and needs that need to be spoken to.

    The Twelfth Amendment refined the process whereby the Electoral College elects the President and Vice President and was proposed by the Congress on December 9, 1803, and was ratified by the requisite "Three-Fourths of State Legislatures" on June 15, 1804, (the requisite of a necessary "Three-Fourths of State Legislature’s" vote was purposely insisted upon which made the Bill virtually impossible to alter and or cancel in the future.) Wise men did this to protect us against ourselves.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 4, 2016 9:45 p.m.

    Ranked choice voting is big on promises and short on delivery. The Utah GOP tried ranked, IRV voting in its conventions for while. It moved away from doing so because of major flaws. Not because of one candidate or another winning or losing. But because of major flaws in how the math actually works out.

    It sounds simple. But there are very complex mathematics that help explain whether various voting systems work well or have flaws. The FairVote organization advocates for major changes to US elections and representative bodies, but is honest in its assessment of various voting methods.

    Among other flaws, ranked voting allows those who understand it well to gain unfair advantage by voting strategically. Those who don't understand the system and vote honestly, are placed at disadvantage.

    Life is full of choices. Elections are important enough to use full run offs where needed to assure majority winners rather than mere plurality.

    A rigged DNC process gave Hillary the nomination.

    A fair RNC process and accurate public vote, gave Trump the presidency. Live with it.

  • Baxters24321 Denver, CO
    Dec. 4, 2016 4:50 p.m.

    @Mike Richards: With ranked choice voting, we could have gotten better primary candidates that appeal to more people. As was, we got two candidates with extremely negative ratings. Many people would have loved the choice of voting for a Republican who was not Trump and many Democrats would have loved the choice of voting for a Democrat who was not Hillary.

    With ranked choice voting in the primaries, the two main candidates end up being people with more appeal to more of the population, which is what democracy is about. With or without third party candidates, ranked choice voting means that maybe everyone gets their first or second choice instead of some people getting their first choice and many getting their second to last choice among a large field of candidats.

  • Baxters24321 Denver, CO
    Dec. 4, 2016 4:41 p.m.

    Yes! It's time for ranked choice voting. One of the most important times for ranked choice voting is the primary elections. The primaries tend to bring out the far right and far left. Ranked voting would help moderate consensus candidates be their party's choice. Google "Problems with first past the post voting explained" for a very good and entertaining you tube video explaining the problem with our current election system.

  • Deplorably Yours New York, NY
    Dec. 4, 2016 4:12 p.m.

    Respectfully- history?

    Mr McMullin was more fringe than Ross Perot. He seriously didn't show well in his few national at-bats and is now shilling for CNN on panel discussions when they want a quasi "conservative" to snipe at our new President.

    Stop with the cute voting protocol changes. It's not that hard to understand. Winner take all is the American way. 🇺🇸

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 4, 2016 12:10 p.m.

    I have never heard of this idea before, but it sounds very good.

    Much better than what we have now.

    ANYTHING would be better.

  • Michael Reed Davison Provo, UT
    Dec. 4, 2016 11:29 a.m.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments so far, everyone.

    I would like to add that I strongly disagree with Mike Richards: I don't trust either major party, in general, to defend the Constitution.

    For example, I trust Republicans to protect religious freedom for Christians, and I trust Democrats to protect religious freedom for athiests and agnostics, but I don't see either party as defenders of religious freedom for *all*.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 4, 2016 10:59 a.m.

    With our current president-elect now creeping upward into the 30s in terms of percentage approval, and the much maligned outgoing president pushing 60% in approval rating - after he himself thought he would be so toxic that he would not be needed at all, during the campaign - I think our nation needs to seriously look at changing things.

    Amazingly, half of Trump's supporters don't think he'll come close to doing what he says he will. Does this sound like any way to start a presidency? It's more like a forced marriage... to an unrepentant philanderer.

    If you believe in American democracy, this ranked candidates idea is worth serious consideration.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Dec. 4, 2016 9:25 a.m.

    "Third party candidates are nothing but a distraction." Some try real hard to convince others they believe in the constitution but what they really believe is in a political party.

    These same people say entitlements are unconstitutional but fight tooth and nail to make sure they get their entitlements while chastizing others for taking their entitlements.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 4, 2016 7:53 a.m.

    I disagree with a ranked voting system. There are times in our lives when we must take a stand. This election cycle was not about Trump or Clinton; it was about the Court. We knew that the next President would choose at least one Justice. We knew that there are two ideologies about the Court. One ideology is that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land and that all court decisions must never contradict the Constitution. The other ideology is that the Constitution is no more than an aged guide that should be dismissed when polls show that people want something else.

    We learned that polls were wrong.

    Almost every county in America voted against "progressivism". Almost every county in America voted for a strong Court, a Court that respected and honored the Constitution.

    When stripped of their fluff, choices are binary. Third party candidates are nothing but a distraction. They can do nothing more than dilute the vote.

    When we are serious about our citizenship, we will be serious about our voting. We will vote either for or against the Constitution. We don't need 2nd choices.

  • John Jackson Sandy, UT
    Dec. 4, 2016 1:59 a.m.

    How about that -- Maine is going to do it, and a state legislator here is proposing it. Neat. I have a brother who suggested this type of voting, and I thought it had merit, but never imagined any state would actually do it. Neat. I think we should consider it.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 4, 2016 1:18 a.m.

    Most counties in Utah will be getting new voting equipment very soon.

    I pushed real hard to require this equipment to allow the option of Ranked Choice Voting. It is highly likely that is what we will get but we need a little more push to see this happen. It is suggested but not required in the bill that is moving though the Utah House that passed committee this last month. Rep. Daw's bill.

    This Op-ed will help if voters come though.