I think the point about New York is that September primaries have extremely low turnout. Elsbernd has complained that turnout in the last SF election was 42%. Well in New York's last September primary it was something like 12%. So kind of joke that RCV opponents try to make an argument that a two round system (primary and runoff) is somehow more democratic. I guess it could be considered more democratic if one thinks campaign dollars are people too. The primary/runoff is great for those "people" (and the people behind them). Not so much for actual voters though.
Half of Chinese-American voters are confused by RCV? Yet three of the eleven supervisors are nowChinese-Americans, and a Chinese-American was elected mayor for the first time.I would welcome that kind of confusion in my life. Still, somehow The Examiner editorialboard thinks Chinese-Americans need to be protected from RCV by repealingit. Who does this really serve?RCV was used by almost two dozen cities in the first half ofthe last century. After it allowed anumber of firsts, such as the first election of African-Americans to a numberof councils, the traditional elite was successful in repealing it everywherebut Cambridge, MA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.... Success at repeal often required numerousattempts, including appeals to state legislatures, courts and popular referenda. One winning formula, deployed in Cincinatti,was to get it on the ballot in a low turnout election and to appeal to thatelectoratesâ racism. As a result, white precincts voted overwhelmingly to repeal RCV and black precincts to retain. Given the larger white population itwas repealed (http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/....The Examiner is claiming RCV must be repealed to protectChinese-American voters from confusion.Supervisorâs Elsbernd and Farrell have introduced a repeal measure forthe low turnout June election. Will SanFrancisco repeat history?
"Nearly one-third of Chinese-American voters were unaware that ranked-choice voting was in effect in the November election, and half of them said they were confused by the system, according to a poll conducted by Sing Tao Daily." For a terribly confused lot, Chinese-American voters have done quite well under RCV. Three Chinese-American supervisors now versus one back when there were separate runoffs. First Chinese-American mayor elected. I wish I could be so successful when I was confused.This and the blathering about low turnout in the Mayor's race is a trojan horse. San Francisco had a higher turnout in its last mayoral election than all the 21 larger cities in the United States. Turnout in RCV runoffs to elect supervisors has been more than 70% higher on average than in the previous separate supervisor runoffs. And supervisors have won RCV runoffs with 3,000 more votes, a third more, on average than supervisors that previously won in separate runoffs. Incredibly, under that old runoff system, two supervisors actually won their runoffs with fewer votes than the leading candidate had in the primary (Hall over Teng and McGoldrick over Yaki in 2000). And yet the Examiner holds the old system more democratic?What is really inside this trojan horse editorial? A desire to return the old system so the traditional elites can again exercise outsized command and control. This is an old story, a very old story. RCV was adopted in two dozen US cities in the early to mid 1900's. Under it many cities elected their first African-Americans to office. The traditional elites did not like that, and managed to get it repealed in every city but Cambridge, MA, where it has persisted ever since (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... for more).At that time, elites garnered repeal by overt racist appeals and repeatedly putting the repeal measures in low turnout special elections. Now we have the subtler racism of the Examiner saying Chinese-Americans are "confused," with the implication that repealing RCV is in the best interest of that community. Yet it is white supervisors who are introducing the repeal measure, and they are targeting the lower turnout June primary for that measure. Welcome back to the future.We need diversity to succeed and RCV has delivered it. This is not just a quaint politically correct concept. It is the heart of why democracy succeeds (see http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/p.... Limiting diversity in our legislatures is to all of our disadvantage because it limits the range of ideas for solving our problems.
Bravo!42% turnout is terrible. Not as bad as the 40% turnout in the 1987 runoff for an actually open mayor seat (http://www.sfgov2.org/index.as.... Oops, that does not support the author's argument. I disavow that fact because . . . it was in the pre smart phone era!I should also note that I far preferred the old runoff system because it elected supervisors with less support. Supervisors that won the December runoff only got votes equal to 36% of the November primary on average because the turnout dropped so much. This compares to supervisors winning runoffs under RCV with equivalent to 44% of the first round vote on average. Oh, darn it, that also undercuts the author's argument.What I really meant to write was that I prefer a few December voters over more November voters. A smaller group really makes a better choice. How do I know they make a better choice? Well, because . . . they look more like me? I also like that supervisors under the old system regularly won their runoffs with fewer votes than their opponents got in the primary (McGoldrick over Yaki, Hall over Teng, and Maxwell over Richardson in 2000). That is much better than RCV, which would never allow that. Why is it better? Um, because it elected people that looked more like me?
The San Francisco Examiner
Website powered by Foundation