In a recent election, Memphians were asked to vote on ranked choice voting, aka instant runoff voting. In case you have forgotten what that is, Ballotpedia explains: “A ranked-choice voting system (RCV) is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.”
In other words, if a candidate does not top 50%, the instant runoff is triggered. You can end up with the winner being someone no one really liked. It’s a very convoluted and, in my opinion, undemocratic way to elect someone that no one has chosen. It’s manipulation of the vote. It goes against the idea of one person exercising their candidate preference.
Yet in the runup to a recent local election, many were hailing it. They said it would save money by eliminating the need for followup elections. As if governments ever cared about saving the taxpayer money!
In 2018 Memphians voted (62%) for instant runoff voting. In a city where we already have an imbalance in parties, this could be disastrous. Fortunately for us, a judge ruled that Tennessee does not allow ranked choice voting so it hasn’t been implemented.
Why is this important now?
Sidney Powell filed a lawsuit in Michigan that the votes were counted by decimals in a scheme called a “Ranked Choice Voting Algorithm” — 1 vote per citizen? No, you get 0.534 of a vote. It quotes Ramsdale, the election expert who advised Texas against Dominion machines, as
Once you allow such manipulation of the vote you get, well, manipulation.