Ranked-choice voting is fair, efficient system

Ken Garcia’s column on ranked-choice voting demonstrated either a lack of understanding or a cheap shot at a complex topic that deserves better.

No voting system is mathematically perfect. Each has a bias, including plurality voting and conventional runoff systems. With a simple plurality, a weak minority candidate can win the election if stronger candidates split the majority vote. That’s good if you like the minority candidate, but by definition it’s not the choice of the majority.

Conventional runoffs work well with just three candidates. In that case, the runoff amounts to be the most basic ranked-choice voting system. The bottom candidate is eliminated and the election is run again to determine the winner.

With a larger field of candidates, ranked-choice voting is a way of conducting multiple rounds of runoffs without having to call voters to the polling booth multiple times.

About the added time and cost of a fair election system, that’s the price of a fair democracy. It’s certainly timelier and less expensive than a conventional runoff election. But if you prefer, punched ballots and hanging chads are probably less expensive.

Tom Hausken, San Carlos

Just deal with the scanners

I wish the people who are complaining and whining about TSA pat-downs would just get with the program and go through the scanners like most of us do. It is quick and painless, and it helps to keep the lines moving.

Irving Q. Waldorf, San Francisco

Tea party went too far

While tea party activists gave energy nationally to Republican efforts, party purists foolishly pushed nominees too conservative to win in politically competitive states.

Had Republicans run Rep. Mike Castle in Delaware and “establishment” favorites Sue Lowden in Nevada and Jane Norton in Colorado, there would now be a tie in the U.S. Senate with 50 GOP members.

Instead, tea party extremists were nominated in these three states (Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle and Ken Buck). These were supported by the noise of “hot talk” radio voices, Fox News commentators and financing from the California-based Tea Party Express and the Senate Conservatives Fund.

Republican voters would do well in future elections to think more about electability.

Jim Hartman, Berkeley

Individual rights violated

I find it preposterous that our individual rights within The City are slowly being eroded under the guise of social betterment. Laws such as the proposed ban on circumcision or the much-maligned ban on kids meal toys are not only an infringement on our rights as taxpaying residents, they’re also an insult to the intelligence of San Franciscans by implying we are not able to take care of ourselves and make smart choices that are best for our families.

It’s time for us to focus on larger issues such as improving schools, making healthy food more accessible and giving people the tools they need to be informed citizens, instead of just prohibiting anything and everything.

Killian Roach, San Francisco

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