I was glad to see the thoughtful, bipartisan piece from Les Fossel and Dale McCormick on ranked-choice voting in response to Douglas Rooks’s piece (”Rooks wrong on ranked-choice voting,” Aug. 29). (Incidentally, how civil!) I would like to add just one observation.

A part of the ranked-choice process that may leave people a little uncertain is the hidden nature of the calculation within the computers of any additional rounds of tabulation. Uncertainties can be eliminated by the publication of the entire set of first-round results. It would take some space, but it would enable anyone to take the first round results and confirm the final outcome.

If, for example, there are five candidates, there would be 325 different ways they could have voted. Some may wonder, “I don’t know if I should include even that candidate I can’t stand? Will it make a difference?”

If, after the tabulation, the media simply reported the total number of people who made each possible selection, then the rest of the process will be transparent.

For instance, perhaps 73 people voted ABCDE; 47 voted ABCED; eight people voted only for BDE; two people for BED; three people voted for just candidate D; and one person voted for just candidate E. With 325 possible patterns, it would take some space, but would be enough information so anyone who wanted to verify the result could. Anyone who would want to study actual voter patterns could.

And we’d have public access to data to help answer questions such as, “Does negative campaigning really backfire?” and “Does it seem the voters were confused?”

Jim Perkins


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.