[EM] RCV in SF Mayoral election

Bob Richard lists001 at robertjrichard.com
Sat Jun 9 16:11:49 PDT 2018

On 6/8/2018 6:24 PM, Christopher Colosi wrote:

> In SF, we restrict to 3 choices to simplify the process. ...

Actually, the city charter (Section 13.102) says:

> ... The ballot shall allow voters to rank a number of choices in order 
> of preference equal to the total number of candidates for each office; 
> provided, however, if the voting system, vote tabulation system or 
> similar or related equipment used by the City and County cannot 
> feasibly accommodate choices equal to the total number of candidates 
> running for each office, then the Director of Elections may limit the 
> number of choices a voter may rank to no fewer than three....

The city is currently working on a design for new equipment, which will 
almost certainly allow more than three choices.

That said, there is nonetheless some truth in Chrisopher's statement. 
Those opponents of RCV who claim it is "too complicated" also claim to 
believe that limiting the voter to three choices simplifies her task. 
The discussion of the effects of truncation in this thread -- including 
on strategic voting -- proves these opponents wrong on this point.

--Bob Richard

On 6/8/2018 6:24 PM, Christopher Colosi wrote:

> Curious to hear people’s thoughts on some issues.
> 1. May not elect majority candidate
> In SF, we restrict to 3 choices to simplify the process.  As the vote 
> currently stands, 144 votes separate the top two candidates (<0.1%) 
> and over 16,000 ballots have been exhausted (all 3 choices 
> eliminated).  About 9% of voters have been removed from the pool.  It 
> is very possible that the result would have shifted if they had the 
> opportunity to rank a 4th candidate, and therefore, it is possible 
> that we won’t elect the person who truly represents the majority.  Is 
> this common?  This is probably an abnormally close race.  Thoughts?
> 2. What are your thoughts on London Breed’s response to being asked if 
> RCV is fair?  She stated “This is the system we are working with. 
> That’s a discussion we can have at a later time. For now, we’re stuck 
> with it.” - insinuating it is not fair.  I was quite bothered to have 
> a Dem in a progressive city insinuate that first past the post is more 
> fair.  It also felt divisive.  If Leno wins, will her supporters feel 
> that democracy prevailed, or that the election was stolen? She also 
> presents herself as a minority candidate and it is my understanding 
> that RCV gives minority candidates better chances and causes all 
> candidates to be more likely to campaign to minority communities.  Am 
> I mistaken?  Are there any legitimate arguments that FPTP can be more 
> fair?  Thoughts?
> Regards,
> —Chris
> ----
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