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Vote by Mail

Ranked Choice, Instant Runoff

By Ray Metcalfe, 907-344-4514


            Vote by Mail, Ranked Choice, Instant Runoff, Advantages: Excepting that ballots would be sent and returned through the U.S. mail, Ranked Choice, Instant Runoff effectively implements a process similar to the process the U.S. House and U.S. Senate use in the selection of its leaders; it is used because it guarantees that no leader can be seated without the support of a majority of the caucus and because is the fairest, most inclusive, and democratic method Congress could devise.

            In a Ranked Choice, Instant Runoff, the voter has a number of votes in any given race equal to not less than one half of the number of candidates in the race. If two candidates, each voter has one vote. If three or four candidates, each voter has two votes. if five or six candidates, each voter has three votes. if nine or ten candidates, each voter would have five votes. not more than one vote could be cast for any candidate. In conventional races with multiple candidates, top vote getters often have support from less than 50% of the electorate.  Using the multi vote ranked choice formula, the winner, while not always everyone’s favorite, will always be someone with a measure of support  from more than 50% of those who voted  and will always be the most acceptable compromise between competing factions.  The gridlock that comes from a system that often results in the selection of winners from the far end of each political spectrum would slowly fade if this method of voting were adopted nationwide.

            Ranked Choice, Instant Runoff will cut the cost of holding an election in half by eliminating the need and expense of a primary election. Vote by Mail will reduce costs even further by eliminating the expense of election day polling stations. As it did in Washington, and Oregon, Vote by Mail will bring about a dramatic increase in voter participation, and thereby guide political control closer the center. The Ranked Choice, Instant Runoff effect will insure the election and representation by only those with the broadest segment of our political spectrum supporting them and thereby facilitate more bipartisan cooperation among elected officials. Candidates will no longer have incentive to pander to the Right in the primary only to move to the middle in the general. Conversely, those on the Right, and those on the Left would do their best to supplement their support from the middle. Middle candidates would seek votes from both ends. Moderation would prevail and the taboos of talking across the political isle would slowly vanish.

            Alaska’s closed Republican primary will be eliminated. Right wing conservatives worked to close the Republican primary so they could be a relatively larger fish in a smaller pond. Wherever possible, they have succeeded in eliminating pro choice and/or moderate Republicans with any inclination to work with Democrats. In a state with more Republicans than Democrats, the closed primary nomination system simply works out to favor the election of right wing Tea Party candidates.

            Coupling Vote by Mail, with Ranked Choice, Instant Runoff, will make it impossible to purge the voter rolls of minorities and poor people through photo ID requirements.

            Adopting the ballot tracking and vote counting system used and perfected by the State’s of Washington, and Oregon, those vote counting issues raised by Diebold Election Systems, Inc., will become a footnote in Alaska’s history books.

            Anchorage Tea Party Candidate Don Smith would never have been elected to the Anchorage School Board under Ranked Choice, Instant Runoff. One of his the two mainstream opponents would have won.

            The runoff of the top two vote getters in the Egyptian election turned into a disaster for Egypt. –– Following a primary election in which the three mainstream candidates were eliminated sharing 52% of the vote while extremists at opposite ends of the Egyptian political spectrum were nominated to run against each other with 24% of the vote each. The outcome of Egypt’s top two runoff  system  left it mathematically impossible for Egypt’s voters to elect a president with the genuine support of a majority of Egypt’s voters. Had Egypt had a Ranked Choice, Instant Runoff system of voting, it is highly probable that one of the three mainstream candidates would have come out on top. Egypt’s new democracy collapsed in the wake of the election of a religious zealot determined to impose his religious convictions onto all of Egypt.

            Many democrats were in a snit over Democrat Harry Crawford’s primary run against Democrat incumbent Betty Davis. Under Ranked Choice, Instant Runoff, it wouldn’t have been an issue. Anyone casting one vote for Crawford would likely have cast their other vote for Davis. In either case, the voting public would decide which of the two would have had the best shot at beating their Republican opponent Anna Fairclough.

            Ballots mailed along with two pages of explanation for each issue in a Tabloid Sized Voter’s Guide would go a long ways toward better informing the voting public. Access to an inexpensive “Voter’s Tabloid” would have a leveling influence on the playing field between rich and poor, and between incumbents and non-incumbents. Today’s Voters Pamphlet is seldom taken to the polls for reference. With a Voter’s Tabloid next to an election ballot on the kitchen table, voters could familiarize themselves with candidates and issues they hadn’t heard of, they could pause to consult with friends, and they could make voting a family event.