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Ranked-Choice Voting Flips House Seat in Maine

GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin fails to get a majority vote. Jared Golden joins the House’s new Democratic majority.

Jared GoldenSource: Jared Golden for CongressA change in the way voters in Maine select their members of Congress has resulted in the ouster of one of its incumbent representatives in the House.

Though Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin had led the initial round of votes in a four-candidate field, he did not get a majority of the vote. Under Maine's voter-enacted ranked-choice rules, getting a plurality of the vote is no longer enough to get elected to Congress.

So after the first round of votes failed to give anybody more than 50 percent of the vote, ranked-choice mechanisms kicked in. Maine voters were not asked to pick just one candidate (though they could if they wanted to); they were asked to rank each of the four candidates in order of preference. Because no candidate got 50 percent of the votes, the candidate with the least number of votes was dropped from the race (independent William Hoar) and the votes were retallied; those who listed Hoar as their first choice had their second choice counted instead.

In the end, more of those independent voters selected Democratic challenger Jared Golden over Poliquin, or at least ranked him higher. Golden passed the 50 percent threshold on Thursday to overtake Poliquin and win. This is the first time ranked-choice has come into play in determining the outcome of a U.S. Congressional race.

But it's not entirely over. Poliquin went to federal court to try to get a judge to block the recount after the first tally put him ahead. The judge declined, but Poliquin is still pushing forward with a legal challenge claiming that ranked-choice voting for members of Congress is unconstitutional.

Rob Richie, president and CEO of FairVote, an organization pushing for adoption of ranked-choice voting, saw the election as a success. In a statement, FairVote notes that not only did most voters actually go through the trouble of ranking candidates, few had difficulties figuring out how to use the ballots:

The results show that voters in the 2nd District handled the ballot well, a testament to the fact that ranked choice voting is easy. Only 0.18 percent of voters who voted in the race made an error that invalided their ballot, which means that more than 99.8 percent of 2nd District voters cast valid ballots. For many voters, this was their first-ever ranked choice voting election.

In addition, 65 percent of backers of the independent candidates used their freedom to rank at least one of the major party candidates as a backup choice, with Golden earning 69 percent of those votes to Poliquin's 31 percent. The "dropoff" in active votes between the first round and the second round was less than 3 percent, far lower than the average decline in turnout of nearly half of first-round votes (47 percent) in congressional primary runoffs this year.

Read more about ranked-choice voting here.

Photo Credit: Jared Golden for Congress

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  • Nardz||

    So, libertarian moment = progress uber alles

  • ||

    Yeah. Solid statist who won by more "libertarian" process. So... win!

    I'm sure it will work wonders in all those other races where the choice varies from two Republicans and seven Democrats to no Republicans and 17 Democrats.

  • John||

    How is this process any more or less Libertarian than normal voting? Since when do Libertarians make a fetish out of the "will of the people"?

  • EscherEnigma||

    I'm not sure about "more or less Libertarian", but it is more 3rd-Party friendly. And making American elections more friendly to 3rd Parties is something that Libertarians can reasonably be expected to express an interest in.

  • ||

    No, it's not. As long as the top-2/3 primary situation is still in place it doesn't make a lick of difference. It's an illusion.

  • Calidissident||

    There's only like 3 states that use the top 2 primary system and Maine isn't one of them. Read the comments downthread, I think you're misunderstanding how the system works.

  • EscherEnigma||

    So because California uses a jungle primary, Maine can't use ranked-choice?

    What bullshit is this?

  • Billy Bones||

    The only thing, IMHO, that Ranked Choice does is eliminate the need to return to the polls (and the weeks more of political ads/spending). Please start implementing everywhere. Great system.

  • ||

    Please start implementing everywhere. Great system.

    There are lots of ways to prevent returning to the polls already in place.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Not really. Most races use a plurality with no runoff.

  • Brandybuck||

    Actually the process worked, and it worked in libertarian's favor. Only in the bizarro world where "libertarian" equals "partisan Republican" is this a failure.

    This election was decided by having fewer people preferring the Red statist over the Blue statist. It's the type of election where a libertarian candidate can make an actual difference, and once the voters get used it, might actually win on occasion.

    No sane libertarian of principle can look at the current Republican party and proclaim it to be significantly better for our economic and cultural health than the Democrat party. Sure, the GOP has small handful more candidates suitable for libertarians than the Democrats do, but I don't see any evidence that Poliquin wa one of them

  • ||

    Wow. You'd have to be detached to call a race with no libertarian on the ballot and the two lowest candidates dropped from the voting as any sort of win for libertarianism. There's no greater or lesser influence of the LP by ranked choice voting and the only way it would be the case is if you believed some pretty oxymoronic logic.

    The issue isn't just that the GOP has a small handful of candidates suitable for libertarians than the Democrats do. The issue is that a moderate Republican has greater common cause with libertarians. Poliquin isn't a libertarian but he's not anti-libertarian. He's more likely to vote with the libertarian candidates than Golden is. Without question.

    Unless, I guess, you suppose the entire LP platform is composed of nothing but marijuana legalization and open borders.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Ranked choice voting eliminates the argument that voting libertarian is a wasted vote.

    That seems like a win.

    I could imagine a coalition where one party reaches out to libertarians as a second choice option.

  • Tony||

    Meet the leader of the hottie caucus.

  • GroundTruth||

    Sorry Tony, he's taken (and straight).

  • Mickey Rat||

    Another vote for the corporatist coalition.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Soon, comrades, soon.

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    And the rationale for privileging the second choice(s) of voters who initially voted for the lowest scoring candidate over the second choices of other voters is what, exactly?

  • Steve Foerster||

    Let me guess, you weren't a math major?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The rationale that denies a home team the chance to bat in the ninth inning of a baseball game it leads after eight and one-half innings.

  • Nardz||

    Baseball innings are measured by third, so there is no such thing as a half inning.

    Dumbass

  • Bubba Jones||

    Lol wut? Each half is measured in thirds.

  • Nardz||

    Hmm.
    Though I guess there is a top and bottom of the inning.
    Whatever.
    F baseball

  • LynchPin1477||

    Their first choice is still in play.

  • jph12||

    Not necessarily. For example, in this election the third place finisher's candidate has been eliminated. The top two vote getters received approximately 45% and 46% of the vote, leaving only 9% for the third and fourth candidates. Even if all of the voters for the fourth candidate ranked the third candidate second, the third candidate could not win.

    If you are going to do ranked voting, then each round should redistribute the votes of all of the candidates that have been mathematically eliminated, not just the last place candidate. Of course, according to the linked article the votes of both the third and fourth place finishers had to be redistributed in order to hit the 50% threshold, so it might not matter all that much in practice.

  • Robert||

    If redistributing the votes for the last place candidate produces a majority for 1 of them, who cares who anybody else's next choice would be?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    In a statement, FairVote notes that not only did most voters actually go through the trouble of ranking candidates, few had difficulties figuring out how to use the ballots:

    Were minorities able to figure this out? Because I've been told their cognitive abilities are lesser than that of whites which leads any complexity in a voting system to be labeled as racist.

  • Jalene||

    It's Maine! There are no minorities in Maine! C'mon, everybody knows that. ;)

  • Brandybuck||

    It might even be more white homogeneous than socialist darling Scandinavia!

  • John||

    And giving points for being the second choice is preferable to people voting for one candidate how? Other than the obvious benefit Scott sees in this delivering a seat to the Democrats, I don't understand reason's fixation on this. They do realize that this could just as easily flip a seat to the dreaded Republicans don't they?

  • Magnitogorsk||

    With this method you could vote for the LP candidate, then when s/he loses horribly your 2nd choice vote of Trump will be used. It lets you vote 3rd party, or anyone who has no chance of winning, without "throwing your vote away". It should be obvious why any 3rd party are in favor of this method.

  • John||

    That is not obvious at all. If you are so concerned about your vote going for one of the major candidates, you can just vote for them. If you care which of the major candidates wins, why are you voting Libertarian?

    Beyond that, I don't see how this benefits Libertarians at all. Anyone who cares about one of the major party candidates winning, is already voting for them.

  • Magnitogorsk||

    Out of Trump, Hillary, and GayJay I wanted Johnson to win. I have a choice of voting for my preferred candidate, knowing he has no chance. But I also really don't want Hillary to be president, so I could just vote for Trump so I'm not "throwing my vote away". With ranked voting I can do both by voting Johnson 1st, Trump 2nd. If you don't care whether Trump or Hillary wins, you only list Johnson. This vastly improves the likelihood of people voting 3rd party, if they understand the system.

  • ||

    This vastly improves the likelihood of people voting 3rd party, if they understand the system.

    This is only true in a single representative system.

    Otherwise, as I indicated, you're going to get 10 D candidates, 2 GOPs, 1 I, 1 LP, and 1 GP and everybody's nth preferred choice is going to average out to a Democrat.

    All the feels of voting for your loser party candidate and all the pragmatism of maintaining the 2-party duopoly.

  • Calidissident||

    I don't even understand what you're saying here. What scenario are you talking about? Every seat in the House is a single-member district.

  • ||

    Sorry, a single candidate for each party. (gropes around for more coffee)

    Arguably, this system makes it even less about the candidates and issues and even more about party. If I'm an LP devotee, I want to see 0-1 GOP candidate on the ballot, 0-1 Democrat on the ballot and 50 LP candidates. I don't much care which LP candidate wins as long as one of the TPD doesn't.

  • Calidissident||

    It seems like you're objecting to the top 2 system like in California and Washington or Louisiana's "jungle primary." I'm also not really a fan of those systems, but none of those systems use ranked choice, and Maine's system does not use the top 2 or jungle primary format.

    That said, I don't see how ranked choice makes those systems worse or makes people less likely to vote 3rd party.

    Going off your scenario - I don't see how the LP is helped by having 50 candidates on the ballot, unless people pick a candidate at random. If only 5% of voters prefer an LP candidate to both Republican and Democratic candidates, the LP can't win regardless of if they have 1 candidate on the ballot or 50.

  • Calidissident||

    Also, just to clarify in case this is what's confusing you - voters are not obligated to rank every candidate. If you just want to vote for 1 candidate you are free to do so. If you want to vote for 2 or 3 candidates out of 5, you can do that too.

  • EscherEnigma||

    You're confusing Maine's ranked-choice with California's jungle primary.

    Maine's ranked-choice is not used for the primaries.

  • ||

    You're confusing Maine's ranked-choice with California's jungle primary.

    Maine's ranked-choice is not used for the primaries.

    No, I'm not. I'm saying the issue is out of order. As long as the primaries are top-2/3, the preferential voting among the top 2-3 is always going to break down similarly. The only way you get the majority of the populace on board with the LP (platform) is if you stratify voting preferences and candidates out such that it's essentially single-issue voting.

  • EscherEnigma||

    ... please be clear. When you say " the primaries are top-2/3", what do you mean?

  • Calidissident||

    I second EscherEnigma's question. I don't get your fixation on top 2/3 primaries when very few states use it, none of the ones who do use ranked choice, and the one state that does use ranked choice does not use a top 2/3 primary system. You also haven't really illustrated how ranked choice makes that system any worse than it already is.

  • ||

    you're going to get 10 D candidates, 2 GOPs, 1 I, 1 LP, and 1 GP and everybody's nth preferred choice is going to average out to a Democrat.

    I don't see how that works. Given your normal situation where elections are dominated by partisans of the duopoly, your Red Teamers will have two choices while your Blue Teamers will have 10. Your scenario would rather obviously favor the Republicans, and would likely boost returns considerably for those parties only running one candidate.

    And I'd wager that most here are more concerned with giving the LP an up than in assuring Republican victories.

  • BLPoG||

    You are setting new records for willful blindness today.

    There are plenty of people who select a major party candidate rather than a third party because they consider the third party vote to be a "waste." The best empirical demonstration of that is the well-documented decline in third-party polling success that occurs immediately prior to, and in, actual elections.

    Of course, there are more important implications of ranked choice/iterative runoff, but seem you don't actually seem to have any interest in how badly most voting schemes match preference, I doubt explaining them would be worth the effort.

    But even you should be able to recognize that making it easier for people who worry about a "wasted" vote to rank a third-party is a potentially substantial benefit given onerous ballot access requirements.

    I'd like to see you admit how stupid your prior statement was. It would do you credit. Or, just justify one of the following statements and prove that you aren't a total clown.

    If you care whether chocolate or vanilla ice cream is better, why are you eating chocolate chip?

    If you care whether you eat at Burger King or McDonald's, why are you eating at Steak n' Shake?

    If you care whether watching golf or football is better, why are you watching basketball?

    If you care whether being raped or murdered is better, why are you defending yourself?

  • John||

    You seem to not understand what the word choice means. Here is a hint, it is not the same as preference.

    Elections are about choices not vague preferences.

  • BLPoG||

    The system is explicitly about making preferences less vague such that the outcome better matches the preferred choice of individuals.

    Saying "elections are about choices" in contrast to preferences is one of the stupider statements I have encountered.

  • ||

    The system is explicitly about making preferences less vague such that the outcome better matches the preferred choice of individuals.

    No it doesn't. It creates false choices or dichotomies and assumes they're the preferred option and/or that they matter.

    If you care whether watching golf or football is better, why are you watching basketball?

    Because more Football, Baseball, Hockey, Soccer, Racing, Boxing, and Golf fans rated it second (or lower)?

  • EscherEnigma||

    You do know that in the ranked-choice system, you don't have to rank each candidate, right? You can stop at marking your first choice.

  • DesigNate||

    I really don't see how you figure the parties will be able to put up multiple candidates, unless we just scrap primaries all together.

    And even then, if the democrats put up 20 people and the republicans only put up 2, the democrat vote will be split 20 different ways versus 2.

  • BLPoG||

    How are ordinal preferences a false dichotomy?

    Maybe you missed the point of the sequence of preference-related comments - they were in the format of John's suggestion that anyone who prefers a libertarian can't assert a preference between any other options.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Do you oppose runoffs?

  • Dillinger||

    same concept as setting alarm clock time for 5 minutes different.

  • Ron||

    you party still lost so it only a moral victory in your own head not a real victory at all so it is a wasted vote

  • LynchPin1477||

    If this was in place in New Mexico, might Johnson have won? Probably not, but I suspect he would have done better. And maybe there are elections down the road where a libertarian does win, or outlasts a Republican or Democrat on the ballot. If voters have a way communicating a preference for libertarians more clearly it might cause the major parties to adopt policies that are more palatable to libertarians.

    Or maybe it wouldn't. Maybe there just aren't enough libertarian-ish people out there to make a difference, full stop. But the current system makes it hard to know.

  • ||

    If voters have a way communicating a preference for libertarians more clearly it might cause the major parties to adopt policies that are more palatable to libertarians.

    ^ThisThisThisThisThis

  • ||

    If voters have a way communicating a preference for libertarians more clearly it might cause the major parties to adopt policies that are more palatable to libertarians.

    The communicated preference between Trump, Clinton, and Johnson wasn't clear to you?

    We could set up voting schemes where the guy closest to 5% of the vote without going over wins. I remain unconvinced of its efficacy in ushering in libertopia.

  • ||

    The communicated preference between Trump, Clinton, and Johnson wasn't clear to you?

    As someone else mentioned, third-party candidates, including GJ, tend to poll best the farther away from the actual election they are. Their numbers go down and down and down as actual-election-day approaches.

    We all watched the country move from "both these candidates suck, please give us some other option" to "OMG we've got to vote for _____ because ______ is Unprecedentedly Evil and MUST BE STOPPED AT ANY COST!!!"

    But ranked-choice voting would open up the possibility that 50% choose HRC as #1 and 50% choose Trump as #1, but 100% choose GJ as #2.

  • Nardz||

    In America, we vote for winners - not best losers.
    F that European participation trophy bullshit

  • ||

    As someone else mentioned, third-party candidates, including GJ, tend to poll best the farther away from the actual election they are. Their numbers go down and down and down as actual-election-day approaches.

    We all watched the country move from "both these candidates suck, please give us some other option" to "OMG we've got to vote for _____ because ______ is Unprecedentedly Evil and MUST BE STOPPED AT ANY COST!!!"

    So voters are stupid and panicky? Maybe there's a possibility that when you ask people a question in a more flippant context you get a more flippant answer?

    And your overarching argument is that if you give stupid, flippant, and panicky people more options they'll choose more rationally?

    But ranked-choice voting would open up the possibility that 50% choose HRC as #1 and 50% choose Trump as #1, but 100% choose GJ as #2.

    Great! So it should be dead simple to show me a poll where GJ was ahead of HRC or Trump. It's not like people have to worry about their answer to a poll being some sort of executive decision. Gary Johnson is no Ross Perot and Ross Perot was hardly a libertarian.

    I'm not against ranked choice voting. I'm just saying that it won't make a dent in the TPD. Not even close.

  • creech||

    "Maybe there just aren't enough libertarian-ish people out there"
    But we've been told repeatedly that one decades old poll purportedly showed that 91% of voters were libertarians. That means, had a Libertarian been running in this Maine district, he or she would have won overwhelming on the second go round. Why don't most of us not believe that old poll?

  • Jerryskids||

    Jared Golden started his political career working as a staffer for Susan Collins. You couldn't tell a Maine Democrat and a Maine Republican apart with three DNA tests and half an ounce of sodium pentothal.

  • Mickey Rat||

    It is a gimmick that does not discourage third party votes while satisfying people with majority OCD without having to do runoff elections.

    There is nothing really better about it, nor necessarily worse that I can see. Unlike open primary systems.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I don't understand reason's fixation on this.

    Perhaps you'd get it if you were a libertarian.

  • Dillinger||

    ranked voting is not voting. stupid.

  • John||

    I have a hard time believing that this doesn't violate the constitutional requirement for one man one vote. This guy didn't get the most votes. The other guy did. A "second choice" is not a vote. I imagine this issue will finally be heard by a court other than one in the backwoods of Maine and I am skeptical this system will withstand Constitutional scrutiny.

  • Tony||

    Are you talking about the Maine constitution? Because the US constitution lets states do elections how they want. And this system is no less silly than one that allows more than 2 candidates in a race where only one of 2 could possibly win.

  • John||

    It is called the Equal Protection Clause. Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964) requires all states ensure that each vote cast has the same power as every other vote cast.

  • Tony||

    Interesting case to bring up by the guy who supports the party that benefits most from the concept that acreage matters more than population in legislative representation. I don't see where it has any bearing on the type of ballot. But I'll bet you $10 the case is deemed frivolous.

  • Don't look at me!||

    I have never seen anyone so fixated on political parties.

  • Tony||

    One or two of the parties will control your government at local, state, and federal levels, and they believe in opposite things on most issues. I don't like the system, I just know that it exists.

  • ||

    they believe in opposite things on most issues

    No, they really don't. They believe opposite things on a very small set of carefully chosen wedge issues. They agree on absolutely everything else.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    No, they really don't. They believe opposite things on a very small set of carefully chosen wedge issues. They agree on absolutely everything else.

    Bingo.

  • Tony||

    Name something they agree on.

  • Brandybuck||

    And under ranked voting, each vote cast has exactly the same power as every other vote. This is NOT like other voting variants where votes for some candidates get tossed out until only one candidate remains. All ballots remain valid.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The Maine constitution does not allow this kind of voting gimmick in state elections. This gets to be used for federal offices through a legal loophole of dubious nature.

  • Dillinger||

    if i was at the creation of this godawful idea i would have said "fuck no, godawful idea"

  • Calidissident||

    States are allowed to hold runoff elections if nobody gets a majority of the vote. Instant runoff is the same concept, just without the need for another election.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    So candidate with fewer first- choice votes won over a candidate with more first- choice votes.

    I will say this ranked-choice system is intriguing.

  • Ron||

    interesting that the person who won the popular vote lost

  • Brandybuck||

    Too soon! Too soon!

  • Dillinger||

    Al Gore on line 2 ...

  • JWatts||

    I'm sure will here the Democrats demanding this be changed ... oh wait, never mind.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I'm not against the concept of rank choice voting. I tend to be at least open to any system which attempts to dampen the effects of what James Madison called the tyranny and "mischief" of majorities. FWIW, I like Ranked Choice Voting more than I like a top-3/top 2 primary system.

  • ||

    FWIW, I like Ranked Choice Voting more than I like a top-3/top 2 primary system.

    Ranked choice vs. winner-take-all is irrelevant so long as the top 3/2 primary system is in place.

    Put ranked choice and WTA at the top of the ballot all you like, if top-3/2 is a forgone conclusion and not even on the ballot, you can stuff your revealed preferences in a sack.

  • EscherEnigma||

    It's really no different then states that require run-offs when no one breaks 50%.

    The only difference is that you don't have to return to the polls.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    And politicians don't have to return to the campaign trail. Think about it...

  • EscherEnigma||

    Thought about it. Don't really see anything sinister there.

  • Don't look at me!||

    Not mentioned is the obvious unpopularity of the candidates.

  • LynchPin1477||

    That's why I would like to see a "None of the above" option. If it got the most votes, or got 50%, or whatever, toss out all the candidates and hold another election in short order.

  • ||

    That's why I would like to see a "None of the above" option. If it got the most votes, or got 50%, or whatever, toss out all the candidates and hold another election in short order.

    I'd like to see the NOTA option have some actual teeth other than 'Do over!'.

    Depending on the office (obv.) if NOTA wins, it goes vacant for the term, if NOTA wins sufficiently consecutive elections, the office gets eliminated by popular vote. The populace is saying that they'd literally prefer no one do this job.

  • Ron||

    Did they just count ranking until the democrat one or did they count all rankings after dropping off all other candidates or were there only three candidates anyway

  • JWatts||

    The way this process was explained, was they dropped off the lowest ranking politician and then recalculated the secondary votes that went to that candidate. Then rinse and repeat until someone gets over 50%.

    I don't think the process is necessarily unfair. Of course, it might well be illegal.

  • Kwix||

    Four candidates were in the first round of voting.

    Republican Bruce Poliquin 46.2% 131,466
    Democratic Jared Golden 45.5% 129,556
    Independent Tiffany Bond 5.8% 16,500
    Independent Will Hoar 2.4% 6,933

    Ranked Choice says that round 2 was dropping Will Hoar and using the 2nd choice on his ballots.
    Let's presume those ballots were evenly spread amongst the R/D candidates and none for the other Independent.
    That would give Bond 5.8%, Golden 46.7% and Poliquin 47.4%.
    Nobody over the 50% threshold so rinse/repeat.
    Round 3, let's presume Bond's Second choice was evenly distributed between the R/D that would give Golden 49.7 and Poliquin 50.3. Since the actual numbers were almost 1% in the opposite direction the safe bet would be that almost all of Bond's votes went to Golden.

  • Dillinger||

    lesson is anyone who will vote for a Tiffany will vote for pretty guy second.

  • Eddy||

    So for many voters, Hoar was their first choice, but they had to settle for their second choice. I'm sure they'll end up getting represented by a Hoar anyway.

  • Rossami||

    I'm sorry he lost but the lawsuit against ranked-voting is just silly. Not only should he lose but he and his lawyers should get hit with fees for all the time and resources they are wasting.

  • Ordinary Person||

    If candidates know which 3rd party voters put them over the edge then you would think they would acknowledge it and adjust their politics accordingly.

  • creech||

    One can imagine the chaos if Broward County had to count these kind of ballots!

  • EscherEnigma||

    Sure, but that has nothing to do with ranked-choice, and everything to do with Florida being a fuck-up state when it comes to elections.

  • GroundTruth||

    If one believes that government is at best a necessary evil, that only negative liberties are true liberties, that the NAP should be the golden rule of civics, then ranked choice voting should not be dismissed. Whereas conventional voting seeks to please the largest number, ranked choice voting seeks to minimize the number of people that are really pissed off. With ranked choice, one reduces the chance of a complete win, but also reduces the chance of a complete loss.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Another reason this type of voting is a bad idea- it takes forever to get a final result.

  • OGREtheTroll||

    Theres some issues here that would impact Equal Protection, namely that only some second and third rank choices get counted and others do not.

    In some likely scenarios you would an instance where a 4th place candidates voters get their second choice counted, but the 3rd place candidates voters do not. For instance, in a race between A, B, C, and D, A gets 48%, B gets 45%, C gets 4%, D gets 3%. So Ds count gets dropped and Ds voters get their second choice counted. It thats enough to push A over then the race is done and A wins. But Cs voters do have their votes wasted, and their second choice doesn't get counted either. So Ds voters get a 'better' vote than Cs do. And it may very well be the case that if Cs second choice votes were counted then B would have won. So unless it goes immediately to a 'run off' situation between the top two candidates then theres some equal protection issues that can come in to play.

    The second place voters could also have some equal protection claims as their second choices don't get counted. You could have a scenario where all of Bs voters ranked C in second place, so that C would have gotten more votes than A. But those votes don't get counted because B came in second and not third. So Bs voters have a claim that their votes aren't as valuable as C or Ds, because their ranked choices don't get factored in while Cs and Ds do.

  • Robert||

    What you propose is mathematically impossible. If A got a majority at some point, then it wouldn't matter if all the remaining votes went to B.

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