Dave Thune and Ranked Choice wins


Dave Thune wins easily in the ranked choice voting, which I expected. In the first allocation round, the votes that had no mathematical chance were eliminated and those votes were allocated to second choices. Dave Hosko did move from third place to second place. However, it was an easy win for Dave Thune in the last round.

The only way that the front runner loses is if there is a strong “Anybody but …” feeling among voters. For example, Mitt Romney would probably lose among just Republican party voters if there was a ranked choice vote right now. In our Democratic St Paul city, if one Republican and 4 Democrats ran, we could see the Republican having the highest lead (30%), yet all second choices would likely roll up to a Democratic winner because Democrats would rank all other Democrats before the Republican. All the Democrats would be expressing a “Anybody but …” feeling about the Republican.

Celebration at Mancini’s tomorrow at 5:30!

It is obvious that more people vote when there is more of a race. In the more competitive races, voters did rank more choices. Essentially we got people who normally only vote in general election to also vote in the primary runoff election! So we really increased the participation in our election.

Ranked choice allows St Paul to skip the primary saving cost and saving hassle. Rather than spend money on voting machines, the secondary rounds are done manually. This causes same drama with a few days delay but noting compared to our recent recounts.

The general consensus was that this election did not have problems or issues even with the new ranked voting process. The cost savings of skipping the primary ballot will happen this year. Instead of five judges at each of the 105 polling locations plus all the cost of support, we had a 6 judge reallocation team for about 5 hours.

A Ramsey county judge says that he prefers that manual reallocation as compared to the electronic reallocation because everyone can see and have confidence in the process.

A voter can vote just one choice. I recommend that a voter rank all choices if the voter has any preference among the remaining candidates.

The process of reallocating choices of lower vote candidates

  1. Pile up ballots candidates in piles by first choices
  2. Take the lowest number candidate and allocate votes into piles according to next choice of a candidate still in the running
  3. Ballots that have no valid choices left are removed. (This is the equivalent of voters who stayed home and did not vote in the general election because their candidate lost in the primary election.)
  4. Count the current piles of votes

Repeat steps 2 through 4 until there is a winner. It is really easy to see who is winning by watching the piles grow higher.

Now Elections Manager has modified the process to expand the elimination the lowest vote candidates to all candidates who have no mathematical chance of continuing in the next round.

Winning happens when a candidate gets a majority of votes remaining. That automatically happens when there are only two piles (candidates) left unless there is an absolute tie. Because of voters who drop out in ranking choices, the final winner may have just a plurality (less than 50%) of original votes cast but must have a majority of the voters who ranked a preference between the two remaining candidates.