WCCO's Esme Murphy isn't a fan of ranked-choice voting

Categories: Elections
esmeMurphy.jpg
WCCO
In her latest blog entry, WCCO's Esme Murphy characterizes ranked-choice voting as "Minnesota Nice at its worst" and calls for a return to the old-fashioned one-vote-for-each-voter way of doing things.

SEE ALSO: Someone actually dressed up as the Minneapolis mayoral ballot for Halloween [PHOTO]

Her stance stands in contrast to that of R.T. Rybak, who says he thinks Minneapolis's first experiment with RCV was a success.

First, here's an excerpt from Murphy's blog:
One: It was confusing.

Two: It took far longer to count the ballots than supporters said it would.

Three: It was a fix for a system that wasn't broken.

That is my ballot. What's yours?

What will be the final cost of the overtime and the special Florida consultants who were brought in to oversee the extravaganza?...

Ranked-choice supporters say their system eliminates negative campaigning. And it does. Candidates can not afford to alienate another candidates' backers because they need those second place votes.

But I would argue the result is a false positive, the impression that the candidates are all on the same or similar pages. Candidates withheld drawing sharp contrasts or critiques of one another that would have been helpful to voters.

It was Minnesota Nice at its worst -- a frozen veneer of civility, when in a "normal" election the gloves would have been off. Give me the no holds barred sparring of a real election. And please give me the results straight up.
Compare Murphy's column with a recent piece by MPR's Curtis Gilbert entitled, "Ranked-choice voting gets mostly good reviews."

In it, Rybak says the increased level of civility promoted by RCV is actually a benefit of the system, not a drawback:
The lack of rancor was refreshing, said outgoing Mayor R.T. Rybak.

"That says a lot about the city," said Rybak, who added that this ranked-choice experiment worked.

Some observers have complained all the positivity made it difficult to distinguish between the candidates. Rybak rejected that argument.

"People aren't dumb," he said. "Give them two positive reasons about why to be for you. Somebody else makes their case. People can compare and contrast without ripping each other's esophagus out."
No matter where you come down on RCV, leave it to Minneapolitans to get meta with their political arguments during a municipal election cycle where the leading mayoral candidates sang "Kumbaya" at the end of their last debate.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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34 comments
_Joe_
_Joe_

I am absolutely astounded by how many people do not understand what RCV is and why it is better in every possible way.  Candidates elected via RCV have more popular support with constituents than those elected via plurality.  That is an indisputable fact.

I suspect many of the opinions here are based on either a complete lack of understanding, or perhaps just pouting because RCV makes it harder for "their guy" to win.

TweetsAreYours
TweetsAreYours

I don't know whose opinion is more nauseating, Esme's or Kluwe's. 


Looks like Rupar has a woody for Murphy as well as Bachmann. He certainly has a type. 

#TweetsAreYours

Natasha Copeland
Natasha Copeland

If we ever want to give third party candidates a chance in this country (and lots of people seem to want that), it will only happen with RCV. It will never, *never* happen with the first-past-the-post system we're using now. In fact, FPTP makes things worse with third party candidates by splitting votes between ideologically similar candidates which ensures that the minority opinion wins. (Or basically the same thing Kim already said)

Aaron Biggar
Aaron Biggar

I would love RCV for national elections. The two party system is broke and in the current system, a third-party vote does't account for anything.

Brad Michael
Brad Michael

The problem is several. But the simple answer is that this is not grade school where you like one person, another a little more and someone a little less but you dont want to hurt any feelings so we just pick all 3. If this was such a great system then why dont other cities do it? or why is there no machine to count and rank the candidates? As Esme said this is simply Minnesota Nice gone too far. Its a lazy way to vote!

Jeff Cagle
Jeff Cagle

I agree with Kim's sentiment here. However, it's important to note that Betsy Hodges won this election by plurality.

Kim Connell
Kim Connell

Matthias, it's an uphill battle..... Our voting system is nothing short of a travesty. To all of you who don't like RCV, tell me how it makes sense that in theory, a candidate could win overall with, say, only 40% of the vote. That means only 40% of people's votes actually fucking mattered. With RCV, even if your #1 choice doesn't cut it, you STILL have your votes count in the overall outcome. That puts MUCH more control in the voters hands rather than "I either have to pick republican or democrat, and neither truly represent my ideas or beliefs. Whoopie, God bless America!"

Paul Walker
Paul Walker

35 candidates? only 20 fee? then counting for days? How about one vote per person period. Primary day and not some crazy math equation to figure out who's the next Mayor.

Rick Miller
Rick Miller

Just like voter ID laws are a solution in search of a problem

Kim Connell
Kim Connell

RCV is used in MANY other countries with MUCH better voting systems than ours. Anyone who thinks plurality voting is a good thing and serves the constituents the best is a complete fucking moron. RCV is way more representative than plurality.... But hey, the American public is and always will be uninformed and stupid. It is easier for the low IQ voters to check a box and move on than to actually use their brains... Face palm

Kristen McCune
Kristen McCune

Uhh... are we going to talk about that picture? More on topic though, I like it. The city just needs to step up the requirements to get your name on the ballot (which it sounds like they're doing.)

Paul Walker
Paul Walker

Esme is right. Ranked choice is a disaster.

Brad Michael
Brad Michael

It is not often that I agree w/Esme - but I do on this.

jonmpls
jonmpls

The only people who think the primary system is better are people who don't want to think, they just want to pick the candidate from their party. Such people are not doing their job of being an informed voter. Rank Choice Voting is a fix for a system that overwhelmingly gave power to the small number of primary voters.

Ian Kantonen
Ian Kantonen

except it is broken, it didn't take any longer than people said it would, and anyone who could do simple math new who one by Tuesday night.

Ran Dazzle
Ran Dazzle

really dumb system..someone must get paid extra

Brent Colquhoun
Brent Colquhoun

I think the intention of voting this way is a work in progress. It's the way elections were handled for many years in our history as a country. Example... who got the most votes became president and the second became vice president. Sure there were issues with this process as well, but if we really want a check and balance system of government, maybe this is a change to the past where history wouldn't repeat itself.

Mike McLean
Mike McLean

When I go to vote, I don't have a second, third or whatever choice. I have ONE choice

_Joe_
_Joe_

@WatchMe 

This is deliberately misleading and obfuscatory.  A child could tell you that.

The problem that RCV solves is actually illustrated in the video.  On the woman's chart she declares that the "winner" of the first round of votes is the candidate with 38% of the votes.  Meaning the candidate that 62% of the population does NOT think is the best person for the job. RCV fixes this situation where a smaller percentage of the populace determines the outcome of the election.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@Aaron Biggar 

Exactly!

The biggest thing that RCV brings to the table is possibility for other parties.  All the talk about negative campaigning is just gravy.  With RCV, you can vote for the candidate you really want before choosing the lesser evils with your 2nd and 3rd choices. 

There are many elections where I would have voted green or otherwise, but the race was so close I went with a major party rather that risk getting stuck with the opposition.  RCV fixes that.

TweetsAreYours
TweetsAreYours

@Caitlin Stotesbery Esme has a face for radio, unfortunately she fails there, too.

blainegarrett
blainegarrett

@Paul Walker If it isn't calculus, a 16 year old should be able to figure it out. That's less crazy that trying to determine elections by electoral votes.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Do your research.

jonmpls
jonmpls

@Mike McLean You don't have to vote for second and third place, you just have that ability with RCV.

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