Saturday, April 7, 2018

New Approach to Primaries


For John, BLUFHere is a reason for state funding of primaries.  If you tell the parties how to do it, you should bear part of the expense.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From The Boston Globe, by Reporter James Pindell, 6 April 2018.

Here is the lede plus two:

Maine voters this week got the legal go-ahead to try a novel, first-in-the-nation statewide ballot experiment that advocates say could curb growing levels of extreme partisanship.  The problem?  Voters have only two months to learn how to use the complex new system before primary day.

The initiative, known as ranked-choice voting, allows voters to rank up to three candidates, in order of preference, when marking their ballots (imagine marking the first choice with a 1, second choice with a 2, and so on).  If no candidate receives 50 percent of first-choice votes, then the bottom candidate is eliminated, with their votes reallocated to the second choice.  At that point, if no candidate gets 50 percent, the process repeats until a candidate receives a majority.

The idea is to make sure that the winner is generally the consensus pick and not someone who received, say, 35 percent of the vote.  That minimizes the glaring partisanship that has marked hundreds of races in recent years.

This is how they do local elections in Cambridge, Massachusetts, although I would not let that influence what you think of this approach.

I am not sure this so much reduces partisanship as it reduces the room for complaining.  It reminds me of how the Air Force Military Personnel Center (MPC) used to operate.  "Give us your three Base preferences for your next assignment."  "See, you got one of your three.  Be happy and don't complain to me."

I think this is worth a try and due to the genius of the American system we get to see how it works in one state, and then other states can adopt it as they see fit.

The Writer, Mr James Pindell, sent this article to me directly, and you too can subscribe to his "Ground Game" newsletter on politics:  http://pages.email.bostonglobe.com/GroundGameSignUp.

UPDATE:  I update the title from "Need" to the more appropriate "New".

Regards  —  Cliff

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