Ranked Choice Voting2023-12-05T14:44:05+00:00

Ranked Choice Voting is a method of voting where instead of choosing just one candidate, voters rank candidates in order of preference. If a single candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, then they are declared the winner.

However, if no candidate receives a majority, an automated instant runoff is initiated and the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and their votes are redistributed behind the scenes based on the voters’ second choices.

If those voters did not specify a second choice, their votes are thrown out.

This process continues until one candidate has a majority of the remaining votes and is declared the winner. After the initial ballot is cast, the voter has no input in the process, regardless of how many instant runoff rounds occur. There is no concept of a traditional runoff election where voters can make new choices based on the new field of top candidates.

Proponents claim Ranked Choice Voting allows voters to express their preferences for multiple candidates and ensures that the ultimate winner is the candidate with the most overall support rather than just the one with the most first-choice votes. While this may sound nice in theory, in practice, it’s a scheme allowing candidates with a minority of voter support to win through mathematical technicalities.

  • Ranked Choice Voting is Complicated for Voters

  • Ranked Choice Voting is Complicated for Election Officials

  • Ranked Choice Voting Manufactures Winners

  • Ranked Choice Voting Favors “Backup” Candidates

  • The Ranked Choice Voting Process Tosses Out Large Numbers of Votes

Ranked Choice Voting is Bad News!

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Advocates are pushing Ranked-Choice Voting at nearly every local and state level. Why? Proponents claim that Ranked-Choice Voting allows voters to express their preferences for multiple candidates and ensures that the ultimate winner is the candidate with the most overall support rather than just the one with the most first-choice votes. While this may sound nice in theory, in practice, it’s a scheme allowing candidates with a minority of voter support to win through mathematical technicalities.

Here’s what you need to know about how Ranked-Choice Voting really works and the dangers it brings.

No thanks...

”…the messages I received loud and clear from the people of Sandy was ‘Ranked Choice Voting? No thanks.’”

Monica Zoltanski
Mayor, Sandy, Utah

Tossed votes...

“58 percent of ballots were either discarded or spoiled in 2021’s Genola City Council Race, often because those voters failed to rank a second choice, according to the Election Transparency Initiative.”

Second place winners...

“In 2018, incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) lost to Democrat Jared Golden despite initially winning a plurality of first-place votes.”

Jason Snead
Honest Elections Project

Subversion of voter intent...

“The process subverts the will of voters by helping push out insurgent candidates who have majority support from their party’s voters for establishment-backed contenders who can’t win outright.”

The Federalist

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Why Oppose Ranked Choice Voting?

Ranked Choice Voting Undermines Confidence in Fair Elections2023-10-12T22:17:51+00:00

Combine large numbers of tossed-out ballots, unexpected election outcomes where candidates with a minority of overall support win, and complicated and convoluted, behind-the-scenes tabulation processes, and it’s easy to see how voters are suspicious of Ranked Choice Voting elections.

In the Sandy Utah mayoral election, 23,000 voters participated in the election, but only 17,000 ultimately had a say in the process due to “exhausted” votes which were thrown out during the instant runoffs. The ultimate winner, Monica Zoltanski, sums up Sandy, Utah’s experience with Ranked Choice Voting, …”the messages I received loud and clear from the people of Sandy was ‘Ranked Choice Voting? No thanks.’”

Second-choice Candidates Have an Advantage in Ranked Choice Voting Elections2023-10-12T22:18:21+00:00

From the Federalist, “It’s not just tabulation problems that make RCV a conduit for upside-down election processes and results. The process subverts the will of voters by helping push out insurgent candidates who have majority support from their party’s voters for establishment-backed contenders who can’t win outright. This is how Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was able to win her primary against Trump-backed challenger Kelly Tshibaka during the 2022 midterms.

Because many Democratic voters listed Murkowski as their second choice during the jungle primary, Murkowski won a majority of votes on the second round of tabulation. RCV is also how Democrat Mary Peltola last year won Alaska’s lone congressional seat, despite nearly 60 percent of voters casting their ballots for a Republican.”

As Many As 1 in 3 Voters May Have Their Votes Tossed2023-10-12T22:18:31+00:00

Even according to the liberal FairVote group pushing for Ranked Choice Voting, as many as one in three voters may only list their first choice of candidate. This means that in the event of an automated instant runoff, all of those votes are literally thrown out and have no impact on the selection of the winning candidate.

According to reports from Utah, “…officials have reported multiple problems with enacting the state’s RCV pilot program in county elections. Because of the complicated nature of the tabulation process with RCV, many ballots have failed to be counted. For example, 58 percent of ballots were either discarded or spoiled in 2021’s Genola City Council Race, often because those voters failed to rank a second choice, according to the Election Transparency Initiative.”

Candidates with the Most First Place Votes Can, and do, Lose2023-10-12T22:18:41+00:00

From the Honest Elections Project, “In 2018, incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) lost to Democrat Jared Golden despite initially winning a plurality of first-place votes. In 2010, Don Perata won the first-place vote for mayor of Oakland, California, but ultimately lost to Jean Quan—a defeat the New York Times attributed to the ‘power of finishing second in a ranked-choice election.'”

Big Liberal Donors Are Pushing Ranked Choice Voting2023-10-12T22:18:58+00:00

Follow the money to understand why there’s a push for Ranked Choice Voting across the country, According to InfluenceWatch, the organization pushing hardest for Ranked Choice Voting is funded by the likes of the Soros Family and associated foundations.

Ranked Choice Voting is Excessively Complicated for Election Officials Too2023-10-12T22:19:07+00:00

Ranked Choice Voting (sometimes called Contingency Voting) is exceedingly complicated for both voters and election officials. In this system, not only do officials “count” ballots, they are reponsible for recasting votes on behalf of voters in the automated instant runoffs.

From Honest Elections Project: “Because RCV elections are so complex, identifying mistakes is far more difficult. The residents of Oakland, California are witnessing this first hand. Officials failed to properly tabulate RCV ballots, and even worse, did not discover their mistake until after the results were certified—and after the wrong candidate in a school board race was declared the winner. Now, the real winner is suing to be recognized.”

Ranked Choice Voting Makes Elections Less Transparent2023-10-12T22:19:16+00:00

Once the voter fills out a ballot with multiple ranked choices, they’re done with the process. All automated runoffs and remaining rounds of “voting” take place behind the scenes and out of public oversight.

Voters’ choices are redistributed by election officials to other candidates in one or more rounds of instant runoff cycles — all of which happen behind closed doors without voter participation.

Winning Candidates May Not Even Receive a Majority of All Votes2023-10-12T22:19:25+00:00

If an automated runoff occurs because no candidate reaches a majority in the first round, and ballots of some or many voters are “exhausted (thrown out!), the winner is determined by a simple majority of remaining votes. Under this circumstance, that winner may have only achieved a minority of votes from ALL participating voters.

“Exhausted” Ballots = Disenfranchised Voters2023-10-12T22:19:37+00:00

If a voter does not happen to rank one of the top vote-getters who become part of the automated second-stage runoff, their ballot is considered “exhausted.” That’s polite language meaning their original vote is thrown away, and that voter no longer has any say in the completion of the voting process.

Ranked Choice Voting “Manufactures” “Majority” Winners2023-10-12T22:19:44+00:00

Especially in crowded primary elections, Ranked Choice Voting is likely to “manufacture” a “majority” candidate even though voters didn’t select one. Two things happen in Ranked Choice runoffs when no candidate wins a majority.

Any voter who does not specify backup choices has their ballot excluded (tossed out!) in the second-stage counting process. This is voter disenfranchisement plain and simple.

Especially in crowded primary elections, it is likely no candidate will win a majority in the first round. In these cases, a “manufacturing” of “promoting second and third choice candidates creates a winner. Candidates with less than majority support are declared winners.

Ranked Choice Voting Is Confusing for Voters2023-10-12T22:19:54+00:00

Consider the confusion of trying to communicate the complicated scenario of ranked choice systems to voters. How many election cycles will it take before all voters understand they have no more chances at the ballot after the first vote is cast, even if no candidate obtains a simple majority? How long will it take for citizens accustomed to a winner only being named after they obtain a majority vote to understand there is no such thing as a runoff election? Will these voters be happy when candidates with less than a majority start winning elections? What will the “mistake” percentage be on ballots?

Consider the impact on our most vulnerable voting populations such as the elderly and assisted living residents.

Bottom line: How many votes will be thrown out due to voting errors caused by a confusing system?

Together, we can stop any attempts of RCV being enacted in your town by letting your local representatives know how you feel.

Unlike federal legislation, where citizens’ concerns often fall on deaf ears, you can make a difference in your city and county.

Please join your neighbors and help us send the elite left a message that we will no longer tolerate them trampling on our rights. Sign the petition below, and we will make sure your representatives get the message.

Ranked Choice Voting News

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