Here are thanks to Bill Nemitz for his Sept. 1 piece, “Ranked-choice just got harder,” and a proposed resolution. Nemitz interviewed Secretary of State Matt Dunlap and illuminated the conflict between two systems trying to make voting fairer. The national party for the Democrats wants to be sure a candidate that has 15% of the vote in a state is represented at their national convention. Ranked-choice voting wants to make sure that when the votes are counted, we don’t select someone who can’t muster a majority of support.

I think the key is to remember that under ranked-choice voting the count of the vote is not done simply when the first pass is completed; the counting is done when some candidate has a majority of those voting in that election. At that point, some of the losing candidates in the race will still be among those who have not been eliminated, and at that point, the tally is done.

The state party can and should assign delegates proportionately for any of those remaining in the mix who are at the 15% or higher level. The key is that the tally is complete, so it can be seen for each contender whether the 15% threshold has or has not been attained.

The understandable challenge might come from the person in third place when three remaining candidates are at 23%, 32% and 45%. That candidate is forced to give up his or her current 23% and those votes are distributed to the other two (or to no one). But since the vote tallying wasn’t complete when the 23% figure was on the board, that candidate did not have the requisite “15% of the completed tally.

Trying to be fair and representative isn’t necessarily easy, but it is better than the alternative.

Jim Perkins

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