The letter to the editor “End ranked choice voting,” (March 3) from Dennis and Dorothy Smith, was way off the mark and reflects a “sore loser” mentality.
They claimed, “Alaskans did not ask for RCV — it was a wolf in sheep’s clothing ‘sold’ to us by Outside dollars.” It was the “product of millions of dollars from non-Alaskan, dark money advertisements, which were spoon-fed to Alaskans by a barrage of ads before the election.” That is insulting to Alaskans in general.
Yes, there were plenty of ads both for and against RCV before the election.
Folks were provided information from both sides, from multiple sources, including our own Division of Elections, so they could decide for themselves.
And the majority of Alaskans chose RCV. Simple as that. No one was forced or brainwashed to vote one way or the other. That may not have been the Smiths’ choice, but it was the choice of the majority.
They wrote, “RCV does not encourage more people to vote.” True.
The desire and decision to vote come from within the individual, regardless of the system. If someone chooses not to vote, that’s their choice, and their loss. It’s not up to any particular system to get someone to vote.
They write, “Many of the votes were thrown out — 22,000, or 9% — because the first ranked choice candidate was eliminated and no second or third choices were made by these voters.” Again, true. But that’s no different than in any election under the old system. In the old one-vote system, you submit your vote, it is counted, and if your candidate loses you can consider your vote as “thrown out.” But it isn’t. It was counted, considered, and was not part of the majority. I would definitely not consider it thrown out.
So these folks who didn’t pick other alternatives are no better or worse off than they would have been in the old system. The sad thing is that they could have taken advantage of the ranked choice to vote for a second, third or even fourth candidate. They chose not to, and that’s their loss.
Ranked choice provides all voters with more options than they’ve ever had. It encourages candidates to make an effort to appeal to a broader base of voters rather than just a narrower-minded fringe. It’s a good system, and easy to understand with even minimal effort.
— John Lapkass
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