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Four Reasons to Oppose Ranked Choice Voting -- A Scheme Intended to Harm Conservatives

Ranked choice voting will be marching into Idaho--and conservatives must be prepared to reject the complicated, malicious scheme.

Ranked choice voting has been hurting conservatives across the country. It has been adopted in Alaska and Maine, both times to the detriment of conservatives. Nevada is considering ranked choice voting this fall. So is Missouri. In all cases, ranked choice voting arrived through the initiatives process—initiatives funded mostly by big out of state Leftist money.

Leftist, former Republican Jim Jones has also advocated for a ranked choice initiative in Idaho (expect Reclaim Idaho to take the issue up in 2024). Phil McGrane, the Republican candidate for Secretary of State, favors it too. Idaho is ripe to be the next state targeted to adopt a ranked choice system. Ranked choice helps the Left where ever enough establishment Republicans prefer to vote for Democrats rather than to vote for conservatives in their own party. This is exactly what happened in Alaska, as we show in our previous article.

What is Ranked Choice? Many videos exist to explain ranked choice voting. Here is one from Alaska. Here is one from a leftist group fairvote. Our article explains ranked choice voting with actual examples of how conservatives lost out due to the ranked choice system.

Alaska first had a primary to decide which four candidates would make it to the special election for Congress (its long-time congressman had died). A Democrat, Mary Peltola and two Republicans advanced—one an establishment Nick Begich and one a conservative firebrand, 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. A fourth candidate withdrew after the jungle primary. Alaska had three candidates enter into the ranked choice special election on August 30.

Republican candidates received nearly 60% of the votes in the first round, but neither received a majority. Since Begich finished third in the first round, his votes were re-allocated to the candidates according to their preferences.

Begich’s supporters favored Palin by a pretty large majority, but not enough to make up for the difference. Roughly 15,000 of his voters favored the Democrat and roughly 11,000 ballots were “exhausted” after his vote—which means that these voters selected Begich number one but no one for numbers two or three. These Republicans could not bring themselves to vote for a Democrat and could not bring themselves to vote for Sarah Palin.

Begich’s votes were reallocated, and the Democrat Mary Peltola, who barely received 40%

of the vote on the first round, won with more than 51% in round two. She now represents Alaska in the United States House of Representatives.

Four Reasons.

Ranked choice voting is bad for tactical reasons and bad for republican government.

Ranked choice voting leverages Republican disunity to the advantage of the Left. The Alaska plan is illustrative for Idaho. Notice how many Begich voters preferred the Democrat to Palin or preferred no one to Palin. This is a feature of ranked choice voting. If establishment candidates do not win, the distaste establishment candidates have for conservatives leads to Democrats winning. That is exactly why leftist, former Republican Jim Jones embraces ranked choice.

Ranked choice destroys clear, informed candidate choices. All voters choose the candidate best for them. Ranked choice voting makes each person’s vote relate to how other people vote. Our votes matter as they relate to other voters, not as much as they reflect our own judgments. As James G. Gimpel, a professor of voting behavior, said in court hearings on Maine’s system, “unlike ordinary elections and ordinary runoffs, voters are required to make predictions about who will be left standing following an initial tabulation of voters” and most voters have “insufficient interest and information to make a meaningful assessment of likely outcomes.”

Ranked choice leads to tactical gimmicks. Voters have an incentive to tactically game the system and falsify their preferences. This is how conservatives would get buried in ranked choice voting. As one analyst writes, the tactic would be to “up-vote your lesser-evil candidate and ‘buy’ your lesser-evil candidate’s most viable opponent.”

Ranked choice leads to minority rule of a sort. Ballot exhaustion leads to candidates winning elections even though those candidates were not the first choice of a majority of voters. As two scholars argue, “it is possible that the winning candidate will fall short of an actual majority,” eliminating the “influence [of many voters] over the final outcome.” Ranked choice elections eventually boil down to two candidates anyway, but many voters (since they lack the knowledge to choose among four candidates) will not cast votes between the two candidates. The votes of that voter drop out. That voter has no say over the final ranked choice.

Knowing who is for ranked choice voting is all people need to know. People who want to destroy election integrity, destroy the electoral college, fundamentally transform our elections are for ranked choice voting.

Jerry Brown, the hippy governor of California in the 1970s but who looked like a responsible elder statesman in the 2010s, said ranked choice was “overly complicated and confusing” and that it “deprives voters of genuinely informed choice” as he vetoed a bill expanding ranked choice voting in California. Exactly so. If you need an explainer video to show how a system works, that is a bad idea.

Idahoans should be ready to reject something so outside of the American tradition.