Under Rigged Choice, Elections Would Become a Competition of Gamesmanship
The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance released the following statement in response to the Joint Committee on Election Laws hearing testimony on ranked choice voting:
“When you cannot change enough hearts and minds to fairly win an election, you change the rules. That is exactly what ranked choice voting does. The proposed bill would redistribute elections to candidates who receive fewer votes than the actual winners. The way these types of instant runoff elections are counted is both complex and opaque and would heavily rely on potentially vulnerable electronic counting systems,” stated Paul Diego Craney, spokesperson for Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.
Under ranked choice voting, or rigged choice voting, elections become a competition of gamesmanship. Whichever side can recruit enough fringe candidates to draw votes away from their opponent ends up the winner. Rigged choice voting is supposed to eliminate the possibility of candidates winning despite not receiving a majority of the vote. In reality, it only amplifies those concerns.
“Rigged choice was tried in Maine and within the first close election, it created a lot of confusion and feelings of disenfranchisement. Ultimately, this will only lead to more partisanship and extreme positions as elections become dominated by straw candidates and politicians focus more on rallying their base and less on representing their constituents. Once you remove the premise of one person, one vote, you open a Pandora’s box of issues,” concluded Craney.
Ranked choice voting schemes have most prominently been rejected in California, where both former Governor Jerry Brown and current Governor Gavin Newsom, both progressive Democrats, have vetoed similar measures in recent years.
Governor Newsom, in his veto message to the California legislature, noted that, “Where it has been implemented, I am concerned that it has often led to voter confusion, and that the promise that ranked choice voting leads to greater democracy is not necessarily fulfilled.”
In last night’s local municipal elections, voters in the City of Lowell rejected a ranked choice elections plan in favor of a traditional model as they sought to reform the composition of their City Council.