The Shell Game-Rank Choice Voting

The interesting turn in the 2018 midterm elections wasn’t Democrat control of our House of Representatives, but rather how many of them came to be by a narrow margin and a lack of voter participation. The recent recall and re-win of indicted Fall River Mayor Corriea underscores this. Then again Massachusetts has a history of indicted, on trial and imprisoned Governors, Mayors and other representatives serving time while serving in government.

In the election of Cortez only 27,744 out of 214,750 registered Democrats showed up on election day. In Fall River roughly 13,000 showed up to vote for five candidates. Advocates of Rank Choice Voting (RCV) claim this will be avoided with RCV in elections. Well, that’s all well and good if people actually showed up to vote.

The problem isn’t the system or a ‘plurality’ of parties. The problem is people DO NOT participate! RCV does not address this 800 lb gorilla in the room. The Cortez and Corriea election victories do not represent the majority of all voters. It just represents who bothered to show up. How does RCV solve this issue? It doesn’t. In fact, under RCV the other candidates could rank up their votes until a second place loser overtakes the original winner. In the case of Corriea the eventual winner would have won by even lesser numbers than the Mayor himself. The entire thing is a shell game.

Under Arrow’s Theorem you pick your choices from best to worse. You ‘manufacture’ the winner by taking second and third choices and running them up the scale. Essentially, you choose the steak. But you would be happy with the pork if steak loses out. In the final round you settle for the chicken in case you get niether steak or pork. According to a Stanford U. paper published;

“Nothing is necessarily wrong with that; the decision process can be perfectly democratic, and one person simply turns out to be on the winning side on all issues. ”
(Hylland 1986: 51, footnote 10)
Aanund Hylland

Then there is Occam’s second Razor. In order to claim something as fact it must be proven. Any and all questions, deviations, secondary statements to such must also be proven. Rank Choice Voting does not ‘prove’ this. It simply says so.

RCV isn’t a better system; It is just another system.

What is a proven fact is in elections you are choosing a winner over a loser. A vote for candidate A is a vote against candidate B. This is how elections work! The concept of ‘spoiler’ candidates is a construct. What the hell does that mean? Is RCV insinuating others SHOULD NOT run for office? How can RCV claim to open the process to better candidates, more parties, more openness while using such language?

Speaking about language; On RCV sites you will constantly see the word ‘Democracy’. Politicians who want to adopt this shell game will read from the script. While local elections are based on a majority vote our Federal Government is a Constitutional Republic.

If RCV cannot get our most basic form of government straight then how can we believe them to institute and ensure a more fair and equitable voting system?

And That Is The Diatribe….

Christopher Maider
Dean of Journalism
Worcester Tea Party