Yet in San Francisco, ranked-choice voting has neutralized this concept of voter intent.


Before April 29, I'd have thought it unimaginable to be nostalgic for the S.F. mayoral race of 2003. Gavin Newsom beat Gonzalez on a platform plank called Care Not Cash, in which public assistance payments to homeless people would be eliminated in favor of housing subsidies. I was dismayed by the campaign, which seemed to demonize people down on their luck.

But the bogus USF debate made me realize it's better to be a losing voter in a democracy than one who has no choice at all. The 2003 election was voter choice exemplified. Newsom and his consultants (Ross among them) identified an issue of great concern to citizens. And Newsom won partly because, well, a lot of people disagreed with my view of Care Not Cash.

Ideally, November 2011 will be a chance for candidates to debate whether that program worked. Instead, however, voters have been offered contrasts among candidates who support "community involvement," and those who believe "the people should come first."

Here's what politicians are actually promising when they make such bland, RCV-inspired statements: Years 2012 through 2015 will be spent ignoring — or dithering in community meetings over — homelessness, joblessness, a corrupt and crumbling public housing system, a ponderous $4 billion bureaucracy, ineffective law enforcement, and out-of-control housing costs.

But at least, thanks to ranked-choice voting, we'll have reduced the possibility of Inner Mission fringe voters having their feelings hurt again.

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12 comments
Elizabeth frantes
Elizabeth frantes

Well, of course, I thought everyone knew, this was about hijacking the elections in a way that doesn't offend too many people. Come on, voter fraud in SF is about as common as a tourist on a cable car.

Greg Dennis
Greg Dennis

The author clearly doesn't understand how ranked choice voting works. He should know that one cannot win by having all second choices --- the candidate with the fewest first choices will be knocked out first!. Yes, there were no cheap shots, because IRV helps promote a civilized democracy and an honest exchange of ideas ... not a gotcha-fest that we've unfortunately become used to in most American elections.

Elizabeth frantes
Elizabeth frantes

Arbeit Macht Frei, dearie! and of course, anyone who objects to this scam must be stupid, eh? Great way to get people to see your side, just insult their intelligence.

Demogreen
Demogreen

These candidates aren't bland because of ranked choice voting; they're bland because they're bland. They have few differences when it comes to policy (as Newsom and Gonzalez did), so they're running on style. There was a lively campaign in Oakland with ranked choice, because there were real policy differences between Kaplan, Quan, and Perata.

pdquick
pdquick

Oh, please. The mayor's race does not exist for your entertainment. As voters, we're going to be asked to rank our choices for mayor, 1-2-3. I think we can handle it. Quit whining.

Syxmyx
Syxmyx

I thought that the point was to eliminate the costs and delays of run-off elections. It seemed like every single election here turned into two elections, and people got voting fatigue.

Mike_hardesty7
Mike_hardesty7

Amen. Here in Oakland Don Perata won a landslide victory on the first Mayoral ballot but due to this crooked ranked voting the Left has pushed another candidate became Mayor.It stinks ! The idiots at Big Bruce's boring rag were the original pushers of this and it gained momentum after the Sore-Loserman ticket lost in 2000.Let's keep Prop 13 intact and abolish IRV.

pdquick
pdquick

If Perata had won a "landslide," he'd be mayor now. The reason Jean Quan is mayor is that she got more votes. Spin that all you want, but it's democracy.

generic_
generic_

Comment above: Exhibit A for the defense.

Guest
Guest

The Oakland Mayor election last year offered some clear alternatives. The same will be true in San Francisco. It is still early.

There is a strong field of candidates, thanks in part to RCV. RCV will help voters express their choices and decide the winner in November better than any alternative.

Guest
Guest

The idea that all voters should have rolled over and voted for Gore is an absurd and lazy opinion. I did vote for Nader. I would have voted for Gore as a 2nd choice, after he got my pimp slap 2nd place vote (cause that's what he rated for my vote)...that is why I like IRV. Same issue with choice between Gray Davis & Bill Simon for Gov in 2002...and unlike what Smith thinks about Nader 2000, the 2002 race and consultants like Jim Ross brought us almost 8 years of Schwarzenegger. Thems the facts. Chew on that dude.

mossy buddha
mossy buddha

"Here's what politicians are actually promising when they make such bland, RCV-inspired statements: Years 2012 through 2015 will be spent ignoring — or dithering in community meetings over — homelessness, joblessness, a corrupt and crumbling public housing system, a ponderous $4 billion bureaucracy, ineffective law enforcement, and out-of-control housing costs."

and how is this different than seven years under the previous administration?

 

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