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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.60 minutes to read.

New York’s Democratic mayoral primary will undoubtedly be remembered for a chaotic and lengthy vote-counting process. Only on Tuesday, after two weeks of vote-counting, was Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams projected to be the winner. That is unfortunate, because the new ranked-choice system did not cause the debacle. New York’s incompetent election administrators flubbed basic vote-counting tasks, as they have in previous elections without ranked-choice voting… Ranked-choice, on the other hand, showed that it is an attractive alternative to traditional first-past-the-post elections…

Not quite all the sunny predictions that ranked-choice voting advocates made about this system materialized. In theory, it should reduce acrimony, but the New York primary race still got very ugly. The system also seemed to encourage gaming; as the election drew near, candidates forged alliances to guide their voters on whom to pick second on their candidate lists.

But this teaming up may not have been an entirely bad thing. Ranked-choice voting encouraged candidates to seek compromise and identify areas of common ground. This enabled voters to identify the candidates who represented the section of the political spectrum or who prioritized the issues that appealed to them.

When voters did so, the ranked-choice system came through on its most important promise: benefiting candidates who are broadly acceptable by weeding out niche candidates who would have fractured the field in a traditional vote.

Editorial Board, Washington Post

The city’s Democratic voters understood the new system, liked it, and are looking forward to using it in future elections. They appreciated the opportunity of a second choice (or third, or fourth or fifth) if their most-favored candidate couldn’t muster a majority…

The key figure is that 83% of voters ranked at least two candidates and that most of those who didn’t preferred only one. And yet, 42% ranked five, the maximum allowed, and more than 70% ranked three or more. Whoever wins will represent a majority consensus rather than a small minority.

Sad to say, New York voters appeared more ready for RCV than the city’s infamously inept and nepotism-riddled Board of Elections. Last Tuesday, it issued inaccurate totals fattened by test ballots that shouldn’t have been counted. Although this latest of many blunders was corrected swiftly, it was raw meat for conventional politicians who oppose the reform and for those who encourage the public to believe that election returns aren’t counted honestly…

RCV has so much going for it, and so little against, that reform-minded Floridians have a large stake in New York City’s primary setting a good example. We wish the Big Apple well in that, along with a better Board of Elections.

Editorial Board, Florida Sun-Sentinel

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.60 minutes to read.

Ranked-choice voting is an attempt that has its own twist and will make elections worse for both parties.

The idea isn’t new but it has gained favor, mostly from the left. It can be dismissed as too complicated and, coming as it does from professors, too demanding for most voters outside New York City. But I would like to present three deeper faults in it that concern how voters think, for ranked-choice voting is intended to make them think in a certain way.

First, by ranking choices a voter is required to divide his vote between a favorite candidate and some merely acceptable ones…

It is often thought that the sole purpose of an election is to make government accountable to the people and representative of their will. A second fault of ranked-choice voting is that it aims to perfect this idea by offering some success to as many shades of opinion as possible. But another, greater purpose for elections was intended by the Constitution’s framers: to find competent governors…

A third fault: Ranked-choice voting rewards extremism in the electorate. Voters who make extreme choices should be punished via exclusion from the majority. Ranked-choice voting rescues them from the penalty they deserve for throwing away their ballot on an extreme first choice.

Harvey Mansfield, professor of government at Harvard. (Published in the WSJ)

As results from the 900,000-plus people who voted in New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary are finally tabulated, Eric Adams has been declared the winner. The bungling by the city’s Board of Elections obscures one big thing: more than 1.5 million New Yorkers weren’t able to vote at all in the only mayoral election that counted. Thanks to the Big Apple’s closed primaries, the deep-blue city has managed to suppress Republican, independent and other opposition votes more effectively than any other city or state in the nation…

Unlike the other big cities that use ranked-choice, Gotham is the only one that continues to use partisan primaries as the way to choose winning candidates who will face off in November. In a city where Democrats far outnumber both Republicans and independents combined, this means that those who are not registered Democrats get no voice at all, even with ranked-choice. Compounding the unfairness, Republicans, who are outnumbered, essentially get an automatic slot in the November election…

If the goal is to reflect a consensus voter view, New York needs a process that includes as many voters as possible. If Democrats want to be the party of free and fair elections, they need to stamp out the voter suppression happening on their own watch.

Howard Husock, adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. (Published in NY Daily News)