Monday, February 28, 2011

And The Oscar Goes To... Ranked Voting!

Did you know that the Academy Awards chooses its Oscar winners through ranked voting?

Here's what I posted at the "Governing Califoria" blog:

Ranked Voting is not complicated. Instead of eliminating everyone but the top two vote-getters (which is crude, clumsy, and unfair!), it works like a series of runoffs, in which one candidate is eliminated at a time. 99.8% of Oakland voters cast a valid ballot for mayor. So when we talk about an increase in the percentage of invalid ballots under this new method, we are talking about going from a fraction of a percent to a slightly higher fraction of a percent. Not alarming at all.

It is misleading to say that under the old method, Oakland mayors always had a majority support. Of course one candidate will always receive more than 50% of the votes if you FORCE the voters to chose between only two remaining candidates by eliminating all others with one swift chop of the axe. Such a "majority" is really an artificially-created majority.

Furthermore, having two separate elections (primary and run-off) consistently results in a low voter turn out at either the primary election or the run-off election. In fact, voter turn out is frequently less than 50% in one of the elections compared to the other. So in an election where half as many voters show up to vote in the run-off, how can any winner be declared to have "majority support"?

One can just as easily make the argument that having two separate elections (instead of one) disenfranchises the under-privileged/disadvantaged communities.