Ranked Choice Voting —
Or Would He?
“From where I come, when you get 6,000 more votes that’s generally regarded to be the winner.”
The 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucus was a disaster; even democrats say that. A tabulations and communication system failed. It took days for the results to dribble in. And thus many people are skeptical about the accuracy of the results.
But there was another issue that surfaced: the logic of the caucus system. People show up at their precincts and commit to one of the candidates. A count is done. If a candidate doesn’t hit 15% of the caucus goers there, those people then choose their second choice. Another count is done, and statewide delegates to the Convention are determined by this second round vote total.
This is a simplification; it’s actually more complicated and some candidates apparently manipulated the process to the detriment of Sanders.
Three “vote” totals have been released:
While Sanders won the first round of voting, after the re-voting by those for those who supported eliminated candidates, then Pete Buttigieg came out the winner – barely.
So, the Democrats’ Iowa caucus system is being challenged on its:
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) has some similarities to the Iowa caucus system. With RCV you vote as you normally do except that you choose a 1st place candidate AND 2nd place, 3rd place candidates and so on.
RCV requires that the winner gets a majority. If no one gets more than 50% in the 1st place votes, then the ballots are examined for voters who chose the last place candidate. The 2nd place votes on those ballots for various candidates are then treated as first place votes. Votes are tallied and perhaps someone now has a majority of votes.
If not, then the above process is repeated for the new last place finisher. Eventually, you will get down to 2 candidates, so someone will get a majority except for the unlikely possibility of a flat-footed tie. (That happened in the 2020 Nevada caucus where some precincts had single digit vote totals. They drew cards to decide the winner!)
A core principle of American elections is one-person, one-vote. This principle does get compromised at times. (For example, non-citizens, count toward the apportionment of Congressional seats. Thus, citizens who can vote have votes that are more powerful.)
That principle is really challenged with both RCV and the Iowa caucus system. People who vote for the worst candidates – as defined by initial vote totals – get a 2nd shot at voting.
That’s a good debate over many beers in a bar, and I personally don’t think our election systems should be open to unfairness charges.
But bottom line, Bernie believes that the person who gets the most votes wins – and it doesn’t have to be a majority.
“And when 6,000 more people come out for you in an election than your nearest opponent, then we here in northern New England call that a victory.”
In his home town of Burlington, Instant Runoff Voting (which is RCV by another name), got repealed by the voters. However, Bernie supposedly supported IRV/RCV. And Bernie has sponsored a bill to bring IRV/RCV to the electoral college.
Yes, he’s just a typical politician… He changes his stance when it benifits him.