Runoff Results Open Thread

This is an open thread, but first I’d like to offer the following suggestions:

1. Instant runoff voting using some sort of ranking system.  Make voting more fun!.

2. Random ballot order, especially in primaries and non-partisan races.  I don’t see why we couldn’t program the machines to do it on a per voter basis, but at the very least I know some other states do rotate who is on top by precinct or country or at least draw for the privilege.

3. An “I have no opinion” option.  In too many races, voters have no idea who the people they are voting for are.  Why not nudge them in the direction of just saying I have no opinion.  In my opinion, it’s better than a “none of the above” which implies a negative opinion about the candidates, but it also prevents someone named Michael Clinton or Billy Reagan who happens to be a total crook from winning an election that no one knows anything about.

Now…your ideas, predictions, dreams?

38 comments

  1. I’ve been doing some research today on instant runoffs. Don’t be surprised to see something pop up during the next legislative session. 🙂

    BTW. Predictions on how soon we’ll have full results? I say 7:34 PM. 🙂

    • Steve says:

      If the powers-that-be actually went for instant runoff voting, in any form vaguely resembling the typical proposal, my jaw would hit the floor.

      Then again… after a decade of transition, the state HAS settled back down to the one-party model that’s always been in Georgia’s historical DNA. So why not switch to IRV and save some money and hassle?

      My hunch is that dropping runoffs altogether, and going with plurality rule, would be an easier sell. However, there’s something to be said for the credibility of a leader having actually won a electorate majority. What politician wants to have the ’92 Clinton or the ’00 Bush “you-didn’t-really-win” cloud hanging over his or her head?

    • JAC1975 says:

      Buzz, I support Instant Runoff Voting 100%! I’d be glad to press my state rep and senator to support it. I’m sure someone will try to make it a partisan issue, but to me, it just makes sense.

    • B Balz says:

      “Our goal in this whole process has been really simple,” Erskin Bowles (President Clinton’s budget guy) said. “It’s basically been to start an adult conversation here in Washington about the dangers of this debt and the deficits we are running.”

      He added, “The era of deficit denial in Washington is over.”

  2. macho says:

    I think I support instant runoff, but there are some problems. I know this sounds elitist, but one of the nice aspects of this runoff, is the majority of the people actually know something about the candidates, i.e. you’re not going to drive to the polls just to vote for a random person. You do instant runoffs and the down-ballot races, such as judicial, are at risk of becoming a roulette game.

  3. Kellie says:

    I am all for having ALL races being non-partisan. That way people would have to know who they were voting for instead of just voting a straight ticket. But hey, I’m weird that way. 🙂

    • Ron Daniels says:

      I find that acceptable as well.

      I just draw issue with the distinction of non-partisan vs. partisan as nearly everyone has some sort of ideology even if they are not a strong partisan or declare themselves to be a partisan. I guess what I’m saying is, these supposedly non-partisan races are always influenced by partisan people – which is why I dislike them.

  4. John C says:

    I’m guessing someone here knows the track record, but my biggest concern around instant runoffs would be the legal challenges of those claiming that due to the complexity of the new ballots voters were disenfranchised when they didn’t understand how to cast their ballots properly. I suppose those challenges would dissipate over time, but at least initially I would wonder if the cost of defending all of the suits wouldn’t approach the cost of holding the elections. Has that not become an issue in areas where IRV has been used?

  5. GCSULib says:

    Random ballot order would definitely be the easiest to implement and possibly the easiest to pass. However, I can see that some interest groups would oppose the measure and it would be relatively obscure so their opposition might be enough to stop it.
    I like the IRV but I do not think it would pass for all state races. It could possibly be implemented for races other than Governor, House, Senate and Lt. Governor and I think that would be a palatable compromise. I do not think there would be too much opposition to using IRV for the judicial races ( given recent experience) and for commissioner races. Using it for these races initially could generate some success stories to use when advocating it for all GA races.

    • JAC1975 says:

      Why would you exempt Governor, House, Senate and other statewide offices?!? I’m not sure if there would be an issue with federal offices or not.

      • GCSULib says:

        Good question:
        First, to get it passed. Allowing these exceptions would let advocates talk about the good the measure would do and placate some of the possible opposition (current elected officials).
        Second, these are more high profile positions that are less likely to go to a runoff and are more likely to attract justifiable turnout for a runoff than judicial or commissioner races.
        Ideally I would like to see the reforms pass for all races but I also acknowledge political reality.

  6. Tricia says:

    I love the idea of “I have no opinion” option. 1. I’m tired of people blindly voting for the top name, or the one with the (I) behind it, because they have no clue who anyone is. 2. Alot of people think if they skip voting for something on the ballot their vote will be nullified. (I know, but I’ve actually had people tell me that). People feel like they have to push something if it’s there, so give them that option.

    I also like randomizing the ballot.

    Don’t like “most vote getter” option – worst case scenario, you get a watered down ballot with say 7 different parties on it (like in Switzerland, for example) and you get someone in office with 14% of the population supporting them. In the US, that could be something as ridiculous as the Nazi party! We’re a Republic, not a Democracy.

  7. Tiberius says:

    Anyone have any thought on why Adkins won Columbus-Muskogee County? My quick read shows she only won 3 coutnies: Webster, Liberty and Muskogee.

    Did she blanket this one county with direct mail since it would have a higher turnout? Not enough $$ for a statewide mailer?

    • drjay says:

      it is only a guess, but that guess would be that whatever money she had she spent it in places with other high profile runoffs–like athens columbus and liberty county (sheriffs runoff last nite) but i have no info to back it up…

      • Tiberius says:

        I was not aware of the Liberty County Sheriff race. Her people figured hit those 3 and pray for the rest.

  8. Better solution than instant voting is codifying the “first Tuesday in December” as the runoff day, rather than the current system of “four weeks after the general election”. The four weeks system was intended to push the runoffs past Thanksgiving…but doesn’t always work that way.

    Instant voting sounds easy and cheap–but doesn’t really allow the spotlight to focus on the problems of ethically challenged candidates in multi-person races. Runoff time periods allow for that.

    The concept of majority vote runoffs a few weeks later isn’t perfect, but is better than “instant runoff voting”.

    We would also be better off to shorten the time period of advanced voting. Voting should take place at generally the same time — on Election Day, or a week before. Not a month before.

    • Tiberius says:

      ….And don’t forget, Mark makes more money during those 4 weeks of direct mail, robocalls, etc. See Kelly Stewart.

  9. Absolutely. And obviously.

    But the concept of winning an actual majority of the vote to win an election is still a good one.

    Therefore you need either “instant voting”, which is cheaper but really doesn’t allow for as clear a vetting of candidates in a multi person race…or a real runoff somewhat soon after the general election, in a one-on-one election.

    Real runoffs are better to accomplish that goal.

    A real runoff

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